OMPA’s Drake Rice Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

The Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO) has honored the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority’s Drake Rice for his 45-plus years of commitment to Public Power, the communities he served and continues to serve, with a 2018 MESO Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rice began his career in city management as an intern for the City of Cushing. He moved from there to serve as city manager first for Prague and then Blackwell. In these roles, he understood the value of public power – locally owned and controlled municipal electric utilities – for communities and would become a strong advocate for the establishment of MESO.

His hard work on behalf of public power didn’t end there. Instead, in his role as a city manager, he worked tirelessly for the establishment and development of the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA), recruiting cities and towns to join this start-up organization to ensure a stable, cost-effective power supply resource for Oklahoma’s public power cities. He attended countless city and town council meetings explaining the benefits of local ownership of an electric distribution system, as well as their need for a reliable power resource. He continues to this day, traveling and promoting public power.

In his current position as OMPA Director of Member of Services, he serves at the state, regional and national levels of public power in the area of mutual aid and support for each other. He works with his current members on programs and services to enhance and improve the members’ service and reliability to their customers.

“Because of his service, I think it is appropriate we bestow upon him the honorary title of, Mr. Public Power,” said MESO General Manager, Tom Rider.

“I can’t think of anyone who epitomizes Public Power better than Drake Rice,” added OMPA General Manager, David Osburn. “He has dedicated his career to serving municipal electric systems.”


Comanche wins Fulkerson Award

For commitment to improving electric service and reliability, MESO has recognized the City of Comanche as this year’s recipient of the association’s Clarence Fulkerson Award.

The Clarence Fulkerson Award recognizes and honors a public power system that works to effectively improve their system operations, resulting in improved reliability and long-term cost savings for its customers.

Making a public commitment to its citizens to do just that, the City of Comanche made great strides in rebuilding customer confidence in the value of the city’s public power system in 2017 and beyond.

Within a 14-month period, Comanche:

  • Experienced a complete turnover in electric department personnel.
  • Made repairs to all equipment and purchased new safety equipment within two months of the new personnel coming on board.
  • Developed and put new training and safety protocols in place.
  • Completed an aggressive tree-trimming program. In doing so, identified poles and lines that needed to be replaced.
  • Replaced large overhead transformer banks with pad mounted transformers.
  • Added transformers throughout the system, reducing the number of service lines on each transformer.

The result of this work has allowed the city to experience 99.9 percent reliability for the last six months.


Pawhuska’s Henley honored for Customer Service

MESO has recognized Sandy Henley, City of Pawhuska, as the 2018 recipient of the association’s Drake Rice Customer Service Award.

According to the association, Henley has established herself as a conscientious, caring individual who strives to assist her customers. She is always ready with a smile, willing to take whatever time is necessary with each customer to ensure that the customer walks away with understanding.

As her co-worker noted, “She exhausts every avenue available to try to find out the reason for more [electric] usage than normal.” She has earned the respect of customers throughout the city for her consistent application of the rules, her demeanor, attitude and willingness to go the extra mile.

Established in 2016, the Drake Rice Customer Service Award recognizes individuals who made a career choice to be customer-focused. The award only recognizes individuals who best exemplify the qualities of a true customer service professional. Those qualities include: consistently positive attitude towards customers to assist them as needed; a positive and helpful attitude with co-workers to ensure a cooperative, customer-focused work environment; and, a personal commitment to always giving his or her best in every situation.