Individuals from Benton, Butler, Dallas, and Texas counties in Missouri received recognition for exceptional service during the final week of October. Events included two conferences held by Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA): Office Professionals’ Seminar and Fall Operations and Maintenance Symposium.
Water and wastewater utility representatives come together every fall for these training opportunities. Several hundred people participate and enjoy accommodations at the host hotel: Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Missouri.
MRWA Training Specialist and Awards Chair Mike Hollis described the nomination process during the October 29th banquet and urged everyone to keep exceptional workers in mind for possible nominations. He then named the recipient of the Office Professional of the Year Award: Butler County Public Water Supply District (PWSD) 3 Office Clerk Sherry Faries.
Faries helps water operators locate customer meters and coordinate service shut-offs and reactivations. She willingly assumes additional responsibilities, including bridging clear communications between the water district and the more recently established East Butler Sewer District.
She also performs exemplary work with routine duties of collecting customer payments, entering customer meter readings in the software, contacting customers when a meter reading is wrong so that operators can reread it, collecting customer deposits, making daily bank deposits, answering the phone, sending out delinquent notices, managing the financial records, and fielding customer complaints.
Among nominees for Office Professional of the Year and also deserving of merit were Rosemary Wade of Creighton in Cass County; Karen Robson of Willard in Greene County; and Tina McQuerry of Eminence in Shannon County.
Representing a very small utility, Sacha Montgomery accepted the first annual Office Professional Educational Award as Village Clerk and Operator for Louisburg in Dallas County. The award bestows complimentary registration and lodging for the conference to a deserving representative from a utility serving fewer than 1,000 connections.
Montgomery embodies the conscientious manager who works tirelessly to understand the duties to which she is entrusted and excel in meeting these obligations. Her inquisitive mind depicts the attitude of someone ever willing to learn; and, therefore, she proved a natural choice for this scholarship award.
The setting October 31st for operator awards was the exhibit hall, enhancing an evening of food, music, and other festivities. Hollis presented the Wastewater Operator of the Year to Jerry Jackson of Houston, located in Texas County, Missouri. Accepting Water Operator of the Year was Cole Camp Chief Operator Klark Bohling from Benton County.
Jackson has devoted extra time during the past year to master the intricacies of the town’s new wastewater plant. He performs all types of duties, including electrical and pump work, yard maintenance, sludge hauling, and heavy equipment operations. Despite his busy schedule, he assists neighboring communities, helps individuals study for certification exams, and willingly works overtime even when this interrupts personal pastimes.
Bohling, meanwhile, strives for excellence on the drinking water side, and this personal dedication is evident in both maintenance and water quality. Some have even concluded that Cole Camp has the best tasting water, and all seem to agree that quality is a result of Bohling’s work. His attention to detail ensures that drinking water quality is safeguarded against contaminants and that customers receive exceptional service.
Also nominated for Operator of the Year were the following individuals. For wastewater, nominees included Mike Alexander of Thayer, located in Oregon County; Don Young from Naylor in Ripley; Gary Fullington of Hartville, found in Wright; Monte Hindbaugh of Forsyth in Taney; and Tim Otto of Dearborn in Platte.
Two of these workers found themselves on the slate of water nominees as well, given their cross certifications and exemplary services. That list includes Don Young and Gary Fullington; Terry Davis of MoArk Water Company in Stone County; Justin Reaves of Willard; Mike Wriedt of Edina in Knox; and William Kosky, Sr. of Marston in New Madrid County.
MRWA honors these outstanding individuals for their service. It extends congratulations to all nominees for their recognition and hard work. Furthermore, MRWA recognizes the value of all dedicated employees in utilities across the state for their contributions in supporting, ultimately, the high standard of living which we enjoy in this country.