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State’s Water Plant Operators Recognize Peers as “Best” In Their Classes at Annual Event in Springfield

2009 Operators of the Year hail from Clinton, Jo Daviess and Kane counties

As part of their annual meeting in Springfield, the Illinois Potable Water Supply Operators Association (IPWSOA) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency recognized the outstanding professionals in their individual categories of service in a ceremony.

Around 1,000 members and guests of the IPWSOA honored Jack Hendrick, Gateway Regional Water Company; Jeremy Barkei, Village of North Aurora; and Tim Brant, Apple Canyon Lake, Galena Territory for their work in providing plentiful, safe drinking water on a daily basis to users.

Operators are rated on the day-to-day operation of facilities that use surface water or groundwater as their water source, or purchase water from another source and distribute it to consumers. “Operator of the Year” is the highest professional honor operators can receive in recognition of service and performance in the waterworks industry.

In addition, runners-up are designated in each category.

Jack Hendrick, Manager of the Gateway Regional Water Commission was recognized as Operator of the Year in the surface water category.  Jack has been in the water business for 32 years and is responsible for helping to construct and manage the Gateway Water System which serves 12 communities. He is also a member of the Southern Illinois Water Operator’s Assoc.

James Lang, Plant Superintendent for the City of Mattoon and Michael Bourgerie, Water Operator   for the City of Elgin were runners-up in the surface water category.

Jeremy Barkei, Senior Water Operator for the City of North Aurora, won the award for public water supplies using groundwater. Jeremy has seven years of experience in the water industry. Their water system has 5,739 service connections, 85 miles of main, and Jeremy is responsible for maintaining five wells and two radium removal treatment plants. He is also Vice President of the Kane County Water Association.

Tom Shrewsbury, Water Superintendent for the Village of Hebron and Russell Schoon, Maintenance Supervisor for the Village of Ashkum were runners-up in this category.

Tim Brant, Area Manager for Utilities Inc., which covers Apple Canyon Lake and the Galena Territory, took the award for distribution-only systems operation.   Tim has been in the water industry for 22 years. He is responsible for a distribution system that has 117 miles of main, 3,100 service connections, four underground storage tanks and two booster stations. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Village of Scales Mound.

Runners up in this category were Michael Govreau, Utility Superintendent for the Village of Glen Carbon and Gil Lubuguin, Senior Pump Station Operator for the Village of Oak Park.

The recognitions came during the group’s 79th annual conference that runs from Wednesday through Friday, highlighted by a street fair and recognition dinner at Springfield’s Crown Plaza hotel. Winners of the 2009 awards were announced and received their trophies during that event.

The winners are chosen by selection committee that interviews nominees during a fly-around of the state. Committee members use a numeric system to rate nominees. The results are then tallied and winners selected by computer.

Speakers and displays at the 2009 conference focused on changing technology and improving traditional operations.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the IPWSOA co-sponsor the conference. The Agency oversees operations of approximately 1,800 public water supplies serving Illinois and their compliance with federal and state drinking water regulations.

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