SRP Employees Honored for Creating a Kids’ Football League, Helping Women Dress for Success, Forge Positive Paths and More
2022 Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Awards Spotlight Outstanding Community Contributions
When SRP Volunteers offer their hearts, time, talents and skills to help people in need, great things happened. This year, six Salt River Project employees earned the prestigious 2021 SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Awards for exemplary dedication to their communities and the non-profit organizations they support.
“SRP has a long-cultivated culture of volunteerism. It’s a legacy that was born when the not-for-profit utility was founded 119 years ago,” said SRP President David Rousseau. “Our employees’ commitment to and passion for giving back to the community remains strong and it’s not easy to volunteer amid work and demands at home. Today, we honored a few standouts, who routinely answer the call to serve others.”
In honor of the six outstanding volunteers, SRP presented checks for $2,500 to their respective non-profit partners. Last year, SRP employees and retirees volunteered more than 35,000 hours to 177 Valley and state nonprofit organizations and donated approximately $64,500 through our Dollars for Doers program.
The 2022 SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award honorees and the nonprofits they assist are:
Adrian Acosta, St. John’s resident
St. John’s Youth Football Volunteer
SRP Operations and Maintenance Specialist 3 at Coronado Generating Station
SRP’s Adrian Acosta is described as “very tenacious.” When he learned that families in his small community had to travel more than 30 miles so their kids could play football, he took action and created a new league. In December 2020, he rallied a group of like-minded neighbors. Drawing from his experience serving on a little league baseball board, Adrian assembled a governing board, began fundraising, found a place to play and took on countless other tasks to start a league from scratch. In 2021, 52 players on three teams in the new St. Johns Youth Football league celebrated their first successful season, thanks to Adrian’s vision and the support of more than 45 community volunteers. While he is proud that all three teams finished with winning records, he’s even happier that the players came together as teammates, fell in love with the game and gave it their all every day. And, he can’t wait to do it all again next season.
Denise Hayes, Mesa resident
Positive Paths Volunteer
SRP Senior Strategist in Content & Marketing
Denise has always had a passion for helping people, particularly women in need. In 2020, a co-worker from SRP invited her to serve on the board of Positive Paths and she jumped at the chance. Positive Paths provides the education, mentoring and professional development skills necessary for women to obtain economic security for themselves, their families and the community at large. Denise serves as chair of Positive Paths’ Marketing and Communications Committee. In this role, she supports fundraising efforts, helps raise awareness about the organization and its mission, recruits volunteers and community partners, and guides marketing and communications efforts. She is humbled by the strength and tenacity of the clients of Positive Paths and inspired by how they overcome obstacles and serious challenges in their lives. Denise is proud that her efforts have helped the organization raise additional funds to expand programs and increase the number of women they can assist.
Katy Heth, Phoenix resident
UMOM New Day Center Volunteer
SRP Principal Managing Attorney
From the moment Katy Heth became acquainted with UMOM New Day Centers, she has been driven to do more to help those who have less. For the past six years, she has been contributing her time and talent to UMOM New Day Centers, which is working to end homelessness in the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area by breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty. UMOM provides safe, affordable housing and support services that empower clients to make healthy decisions, set goals and become self-sufficient. As both a board member and a volunteer, Katy has helped UMOM build strategic relationships, prepare to meet future challenges, raise critical funds and mobilize community support. Through her volunteer work, she has helped uplift the lives of individuals and families and restore their dignity. Katy is grateful for the opportunity to work with UMOM and proud to be a part of the critical effort to end homelessness.
Lori Jones, Mesa resident
Paz De Cristo Volunteer
SRP manager of Maintenance Services
Lori Jones connection to Paz de Cristo began as a college student in 1982, and for 40 years she has been volunteering at the organization’s evening meal service. Paz de Cristo helps to feed, clothe and empower those in need in the East Valley. Its mission became personal for her in 2016 when her oldest son began experiencing homelessness as a result of drug addiction. Lori saw the powerful difference the organization can make in the lives of those who are struggling with hunger, poverty and often, hopelessness. Initially, Lori helped to serve more than 50,000 meals per month, and her volunteer work has expanded over the years. After joining SRP in 1993, she introduced her co-workers to Paz de Cristo through SRP Volunteers to help recruit others to join her. In 2018, Lori was invited to join the board of directors and was elected vice president in 2021. She now has additional fundraising, strategic planning and facilities responsibilities, but Lori still enjoys greeting guests by name at the evening meal service. She is gratified to see how Paz de Cristo is helping so many people turn their lives around, just as her son was able to do.
Kristopher Kautz, Peoria resident
Dress for Success Volunteer
SRP Senior Customer Service Specialist
For Kristofer Kautz, giving back to the community is just a way of life and those he helps say he’s not afraid to jump in at all levels and is always generous with his time. In 2021 alone, he was actively involved in Ronald McDonald House Charities, Valle de Sol and several other community organizations. That’s in addition to the 20 or more hours he volunteers each month with Dress for Success Phoenix as a member of the board of directors. Kristofer became involved with Dress for Success in 2016, motivated by its mission of empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools they need to thrive in work and in life. He has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization, supported marketing efforts and secured sponsorships for events. Kristofer’s volunteer efforts have helped Dress for Success serve an additional 5,000 women, bringing the total number of women served to 17,000. He is proud to be a part of this network of support that is helping women thrive in work and in life by giving them a sense of pride and determination.
Les Presmyk, Gilbert resident
Dignity Health Foundation East Valley Volunteer
SRP Mining Engineer (retired)
A Valley native, Les Presmyk grew up in a family that always played an active role in serving the community, so naturally he followed suit. He has been involved in countless volunteer and civic roles, including serving for 12 years on the Gilbert Town Council. When Les saw the need for healthcare in his community, he joined his neighbors in their mission to bring the first freestanding hospital to Gilbert to serve the 200,000 families living there and in the surrounding communities. He has continued to support the hospital since it opened by participating in its fundraising efforts, which help to support its free Children’s Dental Clinic and other important health programs. For the past decade, he has dedicated himself to helping further the mission of the Dignity Health Foundation and its work to bring quality healthcare to everyone in the community, including the underserved. During the pandemic, he helped raise the funds needed for Dignity Health to operate a COVID-19 vaccine pod in the southeast Valley, which provided vaccinations to more than 155,000 community members. For Les, his volunteer work with Dignity Health has been transformative. Leveraging the skills that he learned in his professional life and during his service on the Gilbert Town Council, he is truly making a difference in his hometown and across the state. Les is proud of the work serving his community and greatly values the many friends he has made along the way.
This year, SRP received 46 nominations for the SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Awards. Nominations come from employees, coworkers and retirees. Nominees must complete an application, provide information about the nonprofit for which they volunteer, tell how long they have volunteered at that nonprofit and enter the average number of volunteer hours. Nominees must describe the role and specific contributions made to the organization; how their volunteerism impacted the nonprofit, the community and the clients served by the organization; how the volunteer became involved with the nonprofit; and how they have personally been affected by the volunteer experience. An external panel reviewed the applications and selected the final SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award recipients. To learn more about SRP volunteers, visit www.srpnet.com/volunteers.
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 750,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.