The Nebraska Municipal Power Pool (NMPP) awarded Jerry Fales, electric commissioner for the City of Cozad, Neb., with the Bob Arraj Service Award at the NMPP Energy Annual Conference March 23, 2022.
The award is presented annually to an official or employee of a NMPP member utility system who has excelled in service in the utility industry. The award is a memorial tribute to Bob Arraj, former city administrator and utilities superintendent of Kimball, Neb. Arraj’s years of knowledge, insight and expertise in the energy field allowed NMPP members to benefit from numerous energy and service projects.
Fales was named the City’s electric commissioner in April 2021 and since that time has brought strong leadership and vision to the electric department. He previously worked for the City for eight years as an electric lineworker and most recently as electric foreman.
Through Fales’ leadership, the Cozad Board of Public Works and City Council have a clear vision for the electric department with a high priority placed on the safety of his employees. Among Fales’ accomplishments include:
- Leading the City’s efforts to transition the City’s electric system underground;
- Working with the city administrator and economic development director on development of subdivisions for industrial and residential use;
- Facilitating the installation and programming of a new city-wide metering system;
- Overseeing the construction of a two-megawatt solar project;
- Implementing new policies regarding small commercial and residential projects; and
- Utilizing an intern scholarship program to assist students with college tuition with a commitment to return to Cozad upon graduation.
His award nomination cited his proactive management style to successfully tackle projects to keep the city moving forward.
As the recipient of the award, Fales received $350 which will be designated to go to a local project or program of his choosing.