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An independent judge has selected Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services (PPCS) as the recipient of the 2023 N.F. Leifer Memorial Journalism Award, bestowed upon the co-op adjudged to have had the strongest overall local pages in the Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News over the previous 12 months. Liz Gunderson, PPCS communications coordinator, is the co-op's local pages editor.

This is PPCS’ first-ever Leifer award since the local-pages contest was established in 1966. However, the cooperative has won three individual category awards since Gunderson became the co-op’s local-pages editor in 2017.

Allison Jenkins, co-owner and editorial director of Mill Creek Communication Services, which offers editorial, public relations, and marketing resources to clients in various industries, including agriculture, conservation, and cooperatives, judged the 2022–2023 local section entries. In selecting PPCS as this year’s Leifer Award winner, Jenkins said, “GREAT mix of features on community subjects, updates on fiber projects, co-op news/events, and energy education. I felt like this co-op had the most appealing pages with a solid mix of writing, content, and visual appeal.”

“It is such an honor to receive this award on behalf of our cooperative,” said Gunderson. “Each month, I strive to provide information that is important for our members, as well as engaging. It is gratifying to be recognized in this way.”

The Leifer Award is determined by a different independent judge each year, always a communications professional and usually one with a co-op background. The judge evaluates a sampling of each of the 19 individualized local sections within the magazine, produced by staff at each co-op and filled with information unique to each co-op.

About the Award: The N.F. Leifer Memorial Journalism Award is named for former Vernon Electric Cooperative manager Norman F. “Lefty” Leifer, who was instrumental in launching what was then known as the Wisconsin REA News in 1940.