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Central Hudson employees set a pole while using the innovative equipment stowage system developed by James Zmiyarch (see story for details).

Recognizing Employee Innovation: Central Hudson

​This January, Central Hudson Gas & Electric recognized 68 of its employees for implementing 41 creative improvement projects under the company’s Innovation Awards program. Presented annually to recognize ideas submitted by employees, the Innovation Awards are reviewed internally and winners are selected by an executive committee. Employees also vote for a favorite in each award category. The two categories presented this year were the Best Leveraging of a Tool, Technology or Software Award and the Bright Idea Award.

"Innovation is a core value at Central Hudson, and one our employees embrace," said Charles A. Freni, vice president of customer services and transmission & distribution, who oversees the company’s Innovation program. "It’s about recognizing a problem and, by using their experience, education and resourcefulness, solving it in a new or different way."

The Best Leveraging of a Tool, Technology or Software Award honors employees who find new applications for existing tools or processes that improve workflow and customer satisfaction. This year, both the executive committee and the company’s employees recognized Engineer Section Leader Brianna Peak, Junior Engineer Brian Sullivan, and Associate GIS Analyst Kevin Burton for their efforts in adapting a mobile application created by a GIS (Geospatial Information System) mapping software developer to enhance natural gas pipeline inspections and documentation.

The executive committee selected Substation Technician Timothy Baxter for the Bright Idea Award in recognition of his design to improve the ability of field personnel to maintain base radio sites by utilizing surplus truck radios with a custom cable, while the company’s employees recognized Working Foreman James Zmiyarch for his role in creating a more efficient and safer way to stow equipment when installing pole anchors.

"These are but a few of the improvement projects developed and implemented by our employees, and we are proud of all participants," said Freni. "Innovation is about finding a better way, and we consistently strive for improvements in everything we do."