“Be Good to One Another”
…an inspirational proverb that guided the life and career of our Dave Rinebolt. Dave passed away on July 1st in his Florida condo, having just completed a multi-week sailing expedition through the Atlantic. A lover of sailing and music, Dave was also a champion for the underdog, continually advocating for programs to assist underserved communities.
After earning his law degree in 1981 at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and working for several years in Washington, D.C., Dave Rinebolt became the first director of Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE) in 1998. Finding his true calling as an advocate for underserved and low-income Ohioans, Dave worked tirelessly with statewide community action organizations to run weatherization and energy assistance programs. He was relentless in engaging large utilities and the state legislature in supporting programs to ensure the undeserved not be forgotten.
In fact, in 2010 he won a large settlement with AEP Ohio that greatly served the community in providing energy conservation and replacement of outdated energy hog appliances; bringing a 10 million dollar annual program to the COAD region. He left OPAE for a brief stint in Washington, DC in 2016 to act as the Program Manager for Weatherization at DOE, bringing his innovation and ideas to the Federal level.
Dave radiated an unforgettable charm and charisma. He relished sharing his passion for music, and if you ever attended the Ohio Weatherization Conference, you may have heard him play with one of his bands. The relationships and memories he cultivated with COAD and the Ohio Community Action Agency Network left unforgettable lasting impressions.
We honor Dave’s legacy through the network of individuals he touched from the HWAP crew to leadership at all levels, always asking others to learn and grow by sharing his passion and knowledge for energy. His career was focused on creating a voice for the under-served and to match the voice of the regulated energy utilities. Without his dedicated service over the past decade, the weatherization network in Ohio would not have been as successful or nationally recognized. Dave inspired others to walk in his shoes as an advocate, watchdog, change agent, and collaborator.
In September 2021, The Dave Rinebolt Inspiration Award was created in his honor and will be awarded annually to an inspirational leader who has demonstrated the attributes and qualities endeared in the honoree.
The first annual award was presented to Megan Meadows, Assistant Chief, Community Services Division, on September 23, 2021 during the 50th Annual COAD Conference by COAD’s board chair, Tom Andrews, CEO of the Community Action Agency of Columbiana County:
“This year we lost a dear friend of COAD and all 47 Community Action Agencies (CAA) across the state of Ohio, Dave Rinebolt, the first director of Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE) in 1998. He worked tirelessly with the CAA network to run weatherization and energy assistance programs and was relentless in engaging large utilities and the legislature to support programs to ensure the undeserved were not forgotten.
So in looking for an awardee who really exemplifies the spirit of Mr. Rinebolt, she/he needed to be someone who truly understood the mission of serving the poor and underserved population, who demonstrated the passion and advocacy for not only the underserved, but also the CAA network that provides those needed services. As we all began to think about our potential awardee, we realized that we have been watching her develop into this type of difference marker and collaborator. She began her involvement working for a Community Action Agency before she made a career move to the Office of Community Services, and in the last few years she rose to the position of Assistant Chief, Community Services Division. She is Megan Meadows. Megan has guided us all through the last few years of challenges, especially during the pandemic, with grace, humility and sophistication.
Please help me in celebrating this year Dave Rinebolt Inspiration Awardee, Ms. Megan Meadows.”