Michigan Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) has announced that its 2015 Outstanding Earth Steward Award will go to Art Thayer, energy efficiency director for the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA).

Thayer will receive the award at IPL’s Green & Grow Your Congregation conference on Oct. 9 at The Peoples Church in East Lansing. The awards ceremony, hosted by Valerie Brader, executive director of the new Michigan Agency for Energy, will take place during the luncheon, which starts at 12:30 p.m., said Cathy Marshall, IPL deputy director.

The criteria for receiving this award are:

  1. leading green initiatives in his/her house of worship
  2. broadening the faith communities’ sustainability reach
  3. sharing energy conservation or sustainability with the community
  4. advocating for the environment or environmental justice
  5. personally engaging in earth stewardship

“He works two jobs promoting energy optimization and sustainable energy,” says Larry Kaufman, who nominated Thayer for the award, and is executive director of the Michigan Geothermal Energy Association (MGEA). In his full-time job with MECA, he directs the energy programs for the majority of its member electric co-ops, has created and promoted EO programs across the state. And in his second job, he has been MGEA’s president for 15 years, Kaufman added. “There would not be an

[MNGA] association without Art. There is not a harder worker or more dedicated advocate for geothermal than Art in Lansing.”

Thayer also serves on Sen. Nofs’ Energy Committee and works with Rep. Nesbitt on House energy policy, Kaufman notes. “He is extremely connected in Lansing and brings a wealth of knowledge to our [MGEA] board on legislative activities, and has supported Michigan IPL throughout the years.”