Albany, NY (March 4, 2013) – Direct Energy and The Gazette are proud to announce the launch of the first ever Capitol Region Volunteer Citizen of the Year award program. Nominations are now being accepted and will close on Sunday, April 14th, 2013.

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year award program is designed to recognize the significant efforts of individuals whose contributions make their communities a better place to live. As an extension of Direct Energy's vision to harness its energy expertise to make a positive difference in people's lives, it encourages employees to volunteer their time and energy to causes or organizations in their local communities. Winner of the American Business Awards' Silver Stevie®, the Volunteer Citizen of the Year award honors those individuals outside of the company who do just that.

First introduced in Alberta, Canada in 2005, the Volunteer Citizen of the Year award has been honoring volunteerism for eight successful years. Four years ago, Direct Energy expanded its Volunteer Citizen of the Year award program to the United States and now has programs in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. Now, Direct Energy is bringing the renowned Volunteer Citizen of the Year award program to New York's Capital Region with a partnership with The Gazette.

"We couldn't be happier to be working with The Gazette to bring this honorable award to our first New York city," said Sayed Khoja, commercial director for Direct Energy. "We encourage everyone to take some time and nominate someone to help us find the first ever Capital Region Volunteer Citizen of the Year."

The award itself consists of:

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year award is open to all residents of communities in The Gazette coverage area. Individuals can either nominate themselves or be nominated by another individual or group. Nominations should be no longer than 750 words and must detail the specific contributions the individual or group has made to improve the community through volunteer service. The nomination must also profile the designated organization and how it would use the $5,000 donation from Direct Energy.

"We want to give back to the unsung heroes that make our city a great place so we are thrilled to partner with Direct Energy on an initiative that helps us do so. It is our hope that our readers will participate by nominating somebody in their life that truly exemplifies selflessness," said Daniel Beck, General Manager for The Gazette.

Nominations must be submitted by Sunday, April 14th, 2013 at 11:59 pm. A selection committee from Direct Energy and The Gazette will review the submissions, and the winner will be announced in late April. Complete rules, the official nomination form and all other information are available online at

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with more than 6 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE:CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 46 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada.

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About The Gazette

The Gazette, once known as the Schenectady Gazette, publishes a print edition and website seven days a week. The private, family-owned company is based in Schenectady, New York. The Gazette offers a full news report but specializes in local news coverage, focusing on Schenectady, Saratoga, Fulton, Montgomery, Schoharie and Albany counties. For more information, visit

Julie Hendry
Direct Energy