Leonard Receives National Safety Honor

Farris Leonard, Manager of Job Training & Safety Field Services for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, was recently awarded the H.C. Potthast Award by his peers. The award was initially to be presented at the National Utility Training Safety & Education Association’s (NUTSEA) 2018 annual meeting, although Leonard was unable to attend due to his role in recovery efforts following Hurricane Florence.

The H.C. Potthast Award was given for the first time in 1972 in memory of the late Herman C. Potthast (a.k.a. “Potty”), who exemplified the qualities of dedication, leadership, cooperation and service. NUTSEA members who live out the qualities demonstrated by Potthast are recognized with the prestigious national award.

“Someone once asked me what I thought made a good Cooperative Safety Professional. After some contemplation, a very simple answer came to mind for a very complex question: ‘You must care.’ After 20 years of being a cooperative safety person, I know no one who cares more than Farris or anyone who represent this ethos any better,” said Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation Manager of Safety Dana Mauldin on recommending Leonard for the award. “As a family man of faith, a proud father of two daughters, an Air Force Veteran and a retired Volunteer Fireman actively involved in his community, Farris exemplifies what an American Citizen should be.”

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives’ Nelle Hotchkiss and Joe Brannan presented the award to Leonard at statewide offices this week.

Leonard got his start with electric cooperatives at Four County EMC, where he served as Director of Safety Training and Loss Control for eight years. He joined North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives in 2007, where he has held the roles of Job Training & Safety Specialist and Manager of Job Training & Safety Field Services.

“I am truly honored by being selected as the recipient of this award,” Leonard said. “Even though this is an individual award, I recognize there are many past recipients listed on the plaque who were my mentors for the last 20 years. Also, I am thankful for the numerous individuals who have shared their expertise and time with me — without them, this would not have been possible.”