Graznak Award

CCA instituted the Michael Graznak Award as a memorial to an outstanding member who met an untimely death. It honors members age 35 or under who have made superior contributions to cooperative communications and who give promise of having a brilliant and successful future.

Dolbeare Accepts Young Communicator Honor

Cliff Dolbeare of Growmark

Cliff Dolbeare of Growmark, was awarded the Michael Graznak Award at the 2020 Virtual Institute.

CCA instituted the Michael Graznak Award in 1977 as a memorial to an outstanding member who met an untimely death. It honors members under the age of 36 who have made superior contributions to cooperative communications and who give promise of having a brilliant and prosperous future.

This year’s recipient has a resume’ and a portfolio that reads like a person with decades more experience in this field. Cliff’s grasp of communications channels spans writing, graphic design, videography, video editing and production, social media, podcasts, script and speech development, interviews, animation, and drone operation for visual storytelling. On the job, Cliff is also responsible for public relations, event planning and execution, website control, executive coaching, focus groups, executive presentations, crisis communications, media relations, and employee communications.

Cliff joined CCA in 2014 and quickly found a place of involvement and leadership. He has attended nearly every Institute since joining and chaired the Communications Contest Committee for four years. Cliff Dolbeare is no stranger to those purple “I’m a Winner!” ribbons, with winning placements in Headline Writing, Featurette, Co-op Education, Website, and Social Media categories. He earned the Master Cooperative Communicator designation in 2018, served on the Communications Contest task force, and has attended two Professional Development Workshops.

According to the person who nominated him, “For Cliff, there’s no one first answer to which channel should be used to communicate about cooperatives. Cliff is quick to diplomatically engage clients with questions that get to the heart of what they’re trying to communicate and to whom. Then, through further engagement with the client, recommends what would be the most appropriate communication channel.”

Other comments and recommendations demonstrate the level of commitment and dedication Cliff has shown throughout his time as a CCA member. Here’s what other members had to say:

 “Cliff’s passion for agriculture and the cooperative way are evident in his work. If awarded, there is no doubt this would be a worthy recipient and an outstanding example of what the Cooperative Communicators Association stands for.”

 “When I consider the pool of talented young leaders in Growmark, the cooperative enterprise, and CCA, Cliff is among the best. This is a valued communications professional — one I’m glad to have on the communications team and well-deserving of this recognition.

 “Cliff has executed the spirit of this award. He is dedicated to making sure communications are thorough, clear and accurate, and above all creative and fun.”

 “I had the pleasure of working closely with Cliff Dolbeare in 2016 and 2017. During this time, it became quite clear that he is a polished and natural leader. I recall thinking to myself after just one call with him, ‘He’s going to be a go-to guy.’ And I was right.”

 “I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of the Michael Graznak Award. He is an excellent communicator with a unique ability to perform many communications tasks at a high level, he is a man of high character, and he’s a firm supporter of CCA. In a world where resources are finite and responsibilities are increased, it’s hard to keep up with the frantic pace of communications. He not only keeps up, but he stands out, and this makes him a tremendous candidate for the Michael Graznak Award.”

Like Michael Graznak, Cliff served in active duty during wartime in the United State military. As a member of the United States Army and then the United States Army Reserve, he is a recipient of the US Army commendation Medal, two US Army Achievement Medals, and the Combat Action Badge.

He is an absolute asset to the Cooperative Communicators Association, and we are honored to have him as part of our CCA family.

Please join us all in congratulating Cliff on this career-defining achievement!

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