The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) today awarded Westar Energy with the association’s “Advocacy Excellence Award” for its extraordinary work in partnership with Topeka Public Schools to build the Westar Energy Education Station in Topeka, KS. The award is presented annually to an EEI member company that has demonstrated outstanding company-wide advocacy programs to achieve important public policy, communications, and community development goals. The winner was chosen by a panel of judges following a nomination process, and the award was presented during EEI’s Spring CEO and Board of Directors meeting in Washington, D.C.
Faced with the need to build a new urban substation, Westar Energy identified a unique opportunity to update critical infrastructure, educate the community about how electricity and the electric grid work and raise awareness among schoolchildren about careers at electric utilities. The result is the Westar Energy Education Station at the Kanza Education and Science Park in Topeka and a strong ongoing partnership with Topeka Public Schools. This facility not only powers much of the surrounding area, but also provides the community an up-close learning experience on how electricity powers their everyday lives.
“Westar Energy’s innovative approach to a common problem has paid dividends in the community, and provides a partnership model for others to emulate,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “We commend Westar and Topeka Public Schools for coming together to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs and will teach future generations about the important role electricity plays in all of our lives.”
Mark Ruelle, President and Chief Executive Officer for Westar Energy said: “The Westar Energy Education Station provided the ideal long-term opportunity to upgrade Westar Energy’s system, and advances our desire to work with Topeka Public Schools to build tomorrow’s energy workforce through innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.”
EEI is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Our members provide electricity for 220 million Americans, operate in all 50 states and the District of
Columbia, and directly employ more than 500,000 workers. EEI has 70 international electric companies as Affiliate Members, and 270 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate Members.