When Richard G. Johnstone Jr. began working at the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives in 1985, Ronald Reagan was still in the White House and “Back to the Future” was still in theatres.

Thirty-eight years later, after a 36-year career as a dutiful editor of Rural (now Cooperative) Living Magazine, serving as executive vice president of the association, and ultimately retiring in 2021 as its CEO, Johnstone’s remarkable journey has finally achieved closure.

On July 24, 2023, Johnstone was hailed by colleagues and electric cooperative leaders as he was awarded the 2022 Electric Cooperative Leadership Award — the association’s highest honor — at its annual meeting in Leesburg, Va.

Due to pandemic delays and other subsequent scheduling issues, Johnstone was not able to formally receive the award until this year’s convention.

“Richard’s leadership helped build a solid foundation here at the VMD Association that has enabled us to grow in our support for our members,” says current VMDAEC CEO Brian Mosier. “Richard was an incredible mentor for me and was a true servant leader that would always do for others. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Cooperative Leadership Award for his distinguished 36-year career.”

–Report by Gregg MacDonald, Executive Editor, Cooperative Living.