Florida Rural Water Association

FRWA awarded State Association of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Technical Assistance at National Event.

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Accepting the award in Seattle are members of the delegation from FRWA.  Including on the front row, Chris Bailey (Source Water Technician), William Grubbs (President), Robert Munro (National Director), Paul Brayton (Board Member), Scott Kelly (Board Member), Gary Williams (Executive Director).  Back row, Ben Lewis (Training Specialist), Bob Mearns (Circuit Rider), Tom Jackson (Vice President), Scott Phillips (WW Circuit Rider), Tom Gustafson (Circuit Rider), Bruce Morrison (Secretary/Treasurer), and Jamie Hope (WW Circuit Rider).


SEATTLE, Wash. – The National Rural Water Association held its annual Tribute to Excellence awards ceremony as part of the WaterPro Conference on Monday, October 6th in Seattle, Wash.


The Florida Rural Water Association was named the Association of the Year.  “This Association endeavors to achieve as much as possible with the resources available for their membership which is over 2000,” said Kent Watson, NRWA director from Texas and chair of the awards committee. “Their Board of Directors, membership and a vast number of programs and services has positioned them to be very effective in their association mission for over 35 years.  With a staff of over 25 and a budget of near $3.5 million per year, they offer many services and programs to meet state water industry needs.”  Florida also won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Technical Assistance.


John Padalino was awarded a Friend of Rural Water Award, in recognition to his time with the Rural Utilities Service.  “A Friend of Rural Water for many years, our recipient was sworn in as Administrator of the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service, on June 12, 2013,” Watson said. “Before coming to RUS, he was Chief of Staff for former USDA Rural Development Undersecretary Dallas Tonsager.”


President Doug Anderton was also awarded the prestigious Man of the Year award.  “It’s not every year that we present the Man/Woman of the Year award.  It is a prestigious award given to individuals who have dedicated their lives and their work to making Rural Water the best it can be,” Watson said. “He’s worked in Rural Water since 1971 and during his career has served as a board member for his state association since 1990, serving on countless committees and served as their president, as well.”


The North Carolina Rural Water Association won awards for Outstanding Achievement in Communications, Publications and Public Relations and Outstanding Achievement in Training. The association’s new “Did you know” postcard campaign drew particular interest for its creativity and effectiveness.  “They recently started a postcard campaign that asks the question, “Did You Know Rural Water Provides…” and then insert a different message each month,” Watson explained.


The Rural Water Association of Utah won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Legislative Initiatives. Utah wrote their state’s legal definition of a Public Water System, allowing Private Non Profit systems to be treated more equally in the regulatory process.  “They participated in the writing and passage of the Rural Water Supply Act which facilitates the conversion of water to drinking water in Bureau of Reclamation projects,” Watson said.


The Alabama Rural Water Association won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Member Services. “Alabama represents 90% of the permitted water and wastewater systems in their State, and there is no scenario in which their member system’s operation or management cannot be improved through the use of a free and always available member services,” Watson said.


Awards are selected from the 49 state associations that submitted applications. Each submission was evaluated and scored by members of the awards committee with the names and locations redacted to ensure anonymity. The members of the awards committee are Phillip Combs, Tennessee; Steve Fletcher, Illinois; Paul Fulgham, Utah; Lance Hoyt, Washington; Dannie McMillan, Colorado; and Henry Meyer, Atlantic States.

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