Two employees who serve Illinois electric cooperatives were nationally recognized for their service in promoting the cooperative difference and supporting the growth of Touchstone Energy Cooperative. Kevin Bernson of Shelby Electric Cooperative (SEC) and Deb Mirasola of Dairyland Power Cooperative were presented with Touchstone Energy’s Distinguished Service Awards during the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s PowerXchange conference in San Antonio, Texas, in early March.

Bernson has worked in the electric co-op program for nearly 35 years and is SEC’s vice president of media and public relations. SEC was one of the first cooperatives to join Touchstone Energy.

Bernson served six years on the cooperative relations advisory committee and was elected to the national board of directors in 2017 for Touchstone Energy. He has also been one of the biggest advocates for the hot and cold air balloon program, serving in many roles for Cooperative Balloon Associates. According to Touchstone Energy, Bernson has helped shape the direction, strategy and visibility of the Touchstone brand and has set a legacy of how a distribution co-op can strengthen its relationship with its member-owners.

For more than 35 years, Mirasola has been a trusted source at Dairyland Power Cooperative, the Wisconsin-based generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative that supplies electricity to JCE Co-op in northwestern Illinois. She is the G&T’s director of member relations and chief communications officer.

According to Touchstone Energy, Mirasola supported and nurtured Touchstone Energy from the start. She was elected to the national board of directors for Touchstone Energy and served as the organization’s president from 2021 to 2023, helping to establish and build this national brand that promotes the cooperative difference.

Touchstone Energy is a national network of electric cooperatives across 46 states that provides research, communications resources and employee training programs to help its member cooperatives better engage and serve their members.


Photo: Touchstone Energy Cooperative Board President Tim McCarthy (far left) and Executive Director Jana Adams (far right) present Deb Mirasola and Kevin Bernson with Distinguished Service Awards. Photo courtesy of NRECA.