Graznak Award 2018

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.

Chandler shines with ‘Savannah style’

Graznak award
Savannah Chandler receives Michael Gaznak Award.

In its annual search for bright young CCA stars, the Michael Graznak Award committee found a Georgia peach with her own signature style — Savannah Peters Chandler.

“Her commitment to excellence, drive to learn, and concern for her colleagues and community shows through in all of her work,” said committee member Lisa Moorhouse, CHS. “She is truly deserving of this recognition.”

Casey Hollins, Rappahannock Electric Coop, agreed. “Savannah embodies the cooperative spirit and the CCA spirit. When I think of the amazingly talented, caring and dedicated people of CCA, Savannah rises to the top.”

Savannah began her co-op career as a communications intern for Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC). She now serves as communications coordinator for Walton Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walton EMC.

Her work spans duties for both the electric cooperative and gas company. She coordinates all aspects of communications and advertising for the gas company, including monthly paper and electronic newsletters, displays, brochures, websites, social media and advertising with a budget of more than $1 million.

Chandler also produces the cooperative’s employee magazine, The Two-Way Feed. She participates in the planning and execution of the cooperative’s annual meeting and employee charity events as well as supports all departments of the cooperative and gas company with photography, design and other communications needs.

Upon joining the Walton EMC team, Chandler became a member of CCA. She has since been recognized with several CCA Communications Contest awards, including two Best of Show distinctions.

Co-worker and nominator Greg Brooks shared that Chandler recognized early on what a benefit and resource CCA is for improving professionally and establishing peer relationships. She quickly earned the certification of Master Cooperative Communicator and began giving back to the organization.

She is rising through the ranks of CCA leadership, having served as a regional ambassador, chair of multiple educational workshops, member of communications contest and Institute committees, and as a current member of the board of directors.

“Yes, Savannah has a lot to be impressed about,” Brooks said. “But to me, her most impressive aspect is her character.”

This character has grown a CCA circle of friends who are quick to share their Savannah stories.

“Savannah is the kind of leader who will do more than her part to see a project to completion, and then be the last to admit she had any part in its success,” said 2017-18 CCA President Nickie Sabo, Associated Milk Producers Inc.

Fellow CCA Board member Afton Holt of CornerPost Marketing Communications says Chandler never settles for ‘good enough.’ “When presented with an annual or continual program, Savannah will challenge the past processes to make sure they are the best they can be.”

“CCA benefits from having members like her involved in our organization, embodying our mantra of ‘Connect. Create. Achieve.’ and advancing the story of cooperatives,” said Chandra Allen, Tillamook County Creamery Association.

EmmaLee Tingle, Claiborne Electric Cooperative, shared: “Savannah balances work and life with grace. She pours herself into her career while simultaneously building a thriving life outside the walls of Walton EMC. She is married with two young children, helps run a fully operational cattle farm and company on the side and remains active in her church and community.”

“I always walk away from each encounter with Savannah feeling better for the experience,” said Chris Villines, Tennessee Farmers Cooperative. “She has a gift for communicating clearly, effectively and in a pleasant manner.”

Enthusiastic. Well rounded. Dedicated. Cooperative. Hard working. Smart. Self-motivated. Caring. These are just a few of the words used to describe “Savannah-style.”

Congratulations to the 2018 Michael Graznak Award winner, Walton EMC’s Savannah Peters Chandler.