Awards 2016

The Goal of the PNCWA Awards Committee is to elevate the prominence and prestige of the PNCWA and WEF Awards so they are viewed as highly regarded and treasured, and recognizes the excellent water professionals receiving the awards. The Committee wants to highlight the achievements and dedication of the people in this industry beyond this awards ceremony and we continue to need your help. Each year, the committee relies on your nominations, and when the awards are given, we need your help in getting the word out to local media and stakeholders.  These award recipients have done great work and it should be noticed outside of our association and federation, especially since the benefits from their great work extends to everyone.

WEF Eddy Wastewater Principles/Processes Medal

Dr. Erik Coats and co-authors Zachary Dobroth and Cynthia Brinkman were selected as this year’s recipients of the WEF Eddy Wastewater Principles/Processes Medal for the paper “EBPR Using Crude Glycerol: Assessing Process Resiliency and Exploring Metabolic Anomalies.”

According to the WEF Eddy Medal subcommittee, “This laboratory-scale research demonstrated the successful enhanced removal of phosphate using an anaerobic zone fed with crude glycerol — a byproduct of biodiesel manufacture.” There was an award presentation at WEFTEC 2016 in New Orleans, plus a display at the WEF Plaza of the New Orleans Convention Center and their medal was announced in the WEF Awards brochure placed in the hands of every WEFTEC attendee.  Congratulations to Erik, Zach, and Cindi on their recognition.

Gasciogne Wastewater Treatment Plant Operational Improvement Medal

According to the WEF Gascoigne Medal subcommittee, ““This article details how the staff at the Rock Creek Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility in Hillsboro, Ore., developed and then used an overall ‘cost to process’ approach to optimize their solid centrifuge dewatering units.”

Congratulations to the staff of Clean Water Services for this recognition.

WEF Project Excellence Award

According to the WEF Project Excellence Award subcommittee, “The Cogen Expansion Project, along with co-digestion of FOG [fats, oil, and grease] and energy conservation, made the City of Gresham WWTP energy net zero. The project was completed on time, within budget and has a projected payback time of 7 years.” Congratulations to the City of Gresham’s staff for this recognition.  

Arthur Sidney Bedell Award 

The Bedell Award was established to acknowledge extraordinary personal service to a WEF Member Association. The award is named for Arthur Sidney Bedell, WEF's second president for his long devotion and service to the New York Sewage and Industrial Wastes Association, now the New York Water Environment Association. He was Chief of the Bureau of Sewage and Waste Disposal of the New York State Department of Health.

For organizational leadership, the nominee has served and demonstrated leadership as a PNCWA officer, Federation Director, Regional Director or PNCWA Committee Chair. For administrative service, the nominee has actively participated on one or more PNCWA committees.  For membership activity, the nominee has actively participated in PNCWA activities, such as regular attendance at the annual conference, supporting the annual conference, and presenting papers at the annual conference.

This year’s recipient of the Arthur Sidney Bedell Award began his wastewater career in the 1980’s as an Operator and now serves as a Manager. His experience includes operating and managing several wastewater plants in the Northwest. Over the years, he served on the Boards of local PNCWA Operator Sections, gave presentations to support workshops, became a Regional Director and ultimately served as the PNCWA President in 2010. His very words are included the current Annual Conference catch phrase, Building Professional Excellence in Water Quality. Congratulations to this year’s recipient of the Arthur Sidney Bedell Award, John Shawcroft of Veolia in Gresham.

Laboratory Analyst Excellence Award

The Laboratory Analyst Excellence Award recognizes individuals for outstanding performance, professionalism, and contributions to the water quality analysis profession.  A nominee must be a member of the Water Environment Federation; must be employed at an educational facility laboratory, industrial, commercial, or municipal laboratory that performs wastewater-related analysis; and must have direct analytical responsibilities. 

This year’s Lab Analyst Excellence Award recipient has spent over 20 years in the water quality industry. Her “beyond the call of duty” efforts include mentoring new staff and being the go-to person for key projects like a Laboratory Information Management System update. This year’s award recipient’s nomination included “sub” nominations from five of her coworkers who gave her the highest recognition for being a role model not only for the laboratory, but for the entire utility. This recognition is supported by her invaluable participation in King County’s Poo Fighters Operations Challenge team. Congratulations to Suzanne Potts of King County as this year’s Laboratory Analyst Excellence Award Recipient.

William D Hatfield Award

The Hatfield Award is presented to operators of wastewater treatment plants for outstanding performance and professionalism. The award was established in honor of Dr. William D. Hatfield, Superintendent of the Decatur, Illinois Sanitary District, who was President of the Central States Sewage Works Association in 1944-45 and served as President of the Federation in 1958-59. A nominee must be a member of the Water Environment Federation and has demonstrated sustained and ongoing contributions for at least five years to further and improve the field of treatment plant operations.

This year’s Hatfield Award recipient has served the wastewater Industry for thirty-four years. During his career, he has served multiple roles at the City of Bend including as a wastewater operator and supervisor at the Water Reclamation Facility. He has trained multiple operators and maintenance staff and has been a leader in new program development, process optimization, and implementation of new technology. Congratulations to this year’s William D. Hatfield Award recipient: Scott Thompson.

George W. Burke, Jr. Award

The Burke Award recognizes a municipal or industrial wastewater facility for establishing and maintaining an active and effective safety program.  This award was established in 1982 in honor of George W. Burke, Jr., for his many years of service to both the water environment field and WEF as staff manager of technical services. The purpose of this award is to encourage an active and effective safety program in municipal and industrial wastewater facilities.  The documented and illustrated safety program and safety record of the facility for the preceding calendar year are the primary criteria for the award.  

This year’s George W Burke Award recipient not only met these criteria, but conducts daily safety tailgates and utilizes a program called Safe Behavior Observation. This program asks that each person, and especially supervisors, step outside their employee roles, and observe the work being done without being in the middle of it. This gives them an opportunity to look for potential hazards before someone gets hurt. They feel this program has contributed significantly to their TARGET ZERO goal for loss time. Congratulations to the CH2M Dallas Wastewater Treatment Facility for this year’s George W. Burke Safety Award.

WEF Life Members

Individuals who have been a member of WEF and one or more PNCWA for 35 or more consecutive years, and are at age 65 or older, are eligible to apply for WEF Life Membership. New WEF Life Members this year are Steven Desmond, and Karl Parrish.

WEF Past President

Awards banquet attendees were honored to have a WEF Past President with us: Adam Zabinski.

PNCWA Awards

The following awards are PNCWA awards that reflect the efforts and achievements of water quality professionals within the Pacific Northwest; Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Quarter Century Operator

PNCWA members who were accepted into the Quarter Century Operators’ Club in 2016 are Jeffrey Day, and Charles L.R. Johnstone.

Individual Distinguished Achievement Award

The Individual Distinguished Achievement Award is presented to a PNCWA member who is most deserving of special recognition as a result of distinguished service rendered in the interest of pollution abatement or resource recovery, and who has contributed fundamentally and practically to the advancement of the industry.

This year’s Individual Distinguished Achievement Award recipient is a passionate proponent of operator education. He has contributed to the growth of one on the most successful Operator training events in Oregon, the Umpqua Basin Operator Section.  His efforts include establishing an annual wastewater exam preparation course which has seen attendance grow from 31 in 2013 to 54 in 2016. His service and contributions to the Umpqua Basin Operators Section as President include developing a financial strategy that allows the section to support the PNCWA’s scholarship fund, including a contribution of $2,000 to the fund and $3,000 to separate scholarship funds this year!  He is also our newest incoming PNCWA board member as the new Vice President. Congratulations to Jim Baird of Roseburg Urban Sanitary Authority as this year’s Individual Distinguished Achievement Award recipient.

Outstanding Young Professional of the Year Award

The Outstanding Young Water Environment Professional of the Year award recognizes the contributions of young water environment professionals for significant contributions to PNCWA and to the wastewater collection and treatment industry.  A nominee must be a member of the PNCWA and 35 years old or younger at the time of nomination.

This year’s award recipient is an exemplary young professional who throws herself into the fight for clean water.  She was recently promoted to Water Quality Program Manager for the Washington State Department of Ecology, and has worked to help communities of all sizes to protect surface water quality. This year’s outstanding young professional throws herself into the fight for clean water and is an example of the high-quality young professionals who are currently entering the water quality field.  She has worked to help communities of all sizes to protect water quality with cost effective and affordable treatment alternatives. Her work has included overseeing NPDES permit compliance, NPDES permit writing, inspections, and grants. All of this and she has found time to volunteer as the President of the Inland Empire Section.  She has also made impacts in the PNCWA Student Design Competition and the PNCWA Women’s Networking Luncheon.  Her efforts are not just focused in the Northwest, she was also Project Chair of an Engineers without Borders sanitation project in Las Papayas, El Salvador. Congratulations to Eleanor Key with the Washington State Department of Ecology as this year’s Outstanding Young Water Environment Professional of the Year.

Sustainability Award

The Sustainability Award recognizes and encourages projects that showcase sustainable design elements. This year’s Sustainability award winner has shown that communities can come together to bring awareness to sustaining one of our greatest assets, Water. Their program focuses on investing in and teaching young people about the importance of a sustainable water future. Their program in 2016 included a partnership with a local artist to create a collaborative, educational art piece. Together, they worked with over 1,200 local students and adults to create the beautiful piece titled “one Water- The Infinite Journey. Over 45 presentations were made on the importance of clean water, how water cycles through natural and urban areas, conservation, and how their lives are connected to water. Congratulations to the LOTT Clean Water Alliance as this year’s recipient of the PNCWA Sustainability Award.

PNCWA Operator of the Year and Collections Operator of the Year Awards

Sections in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington nominate to their Region an outstanding Operator and Collections System Operator to be recognized by PNCWA. The award represents outstanding job performance of regular duties, and individual or collective accomplishments of an experimental, developmental or innovative nature. When you want to recognize an outstanding operator, please contact your Regional Director or have your Section President do so.

Idaho Treatment Plant Operator of the Year: 

Congratulations to Brandon Pechin, City of Boise, as this year’s Idaho Treatment Plant Operator of the Year. Brandon has been a key team member in the success of several changes in treatment systems operated by the City of Boise.  Some of the 1,000,000 kWh saved at the Lander Street plant over 12 months is directly related to Brandon asking probing questions.  They are now pumping more with digester gas powered pumps, running fewer W3 pumps, and regulating air flow to the aeration basins more efficiently.  Brandon worked hard to help profile the aeration basins, stabilize Bio-P, and help the plant achieve very impressive effluent P results with drastically reduced chemical consumption. He presented a training class on Wastewater Microbiology at the 2106 Idaho Operator Conference, sharing his experience researching and learning about different organisms, and identifying PAO through different staining techniques. He was promoted earlier this year and is starting-up the Dixie Drain Phosphorus removal facility.   He worked with his team to develop new SOP’s and is a great tour guide of the Dixie Drain facility.  

Idaho Collections System Operator of the Year

Congratulations to Rusty Blackner, City of Burley as this year’s Idaho Collections System Operator of the Year. Rusty is a Class Ill Collections Operator. Rusty always has a positive attitude and keeps the team upbeat. He works hard to better the city's sewer system whether he is televising or jetting the sewer lines with the crew. Rusty is good to jump into a manhole when needed. Rusty completed the Geographic Information System survey for the city last summer. His work gives their team more information when locating lines for taps and when reviewing new subdivisions or other new construction. Rusty has also tested for his Treatment Plant Operator I and II so he can be more helpful to the city and his department. Rusty is affectionately called their Super Dude. He is always ready to run the skid steer, back hoe, track hoe, garbage truck, dump truck, jet truck and TV van whenever needed. 

Oregon Collections System Operator of the Year

Congratulations to this year’s Oregon Collections System Operator of the Year, Marvin Atkins, Yoncalla, Oregon. Marvin has been employed with the City of Yoncalla public works since October of 2011. He immediately started pursuing certification for wastewater and now also has collections II and treatment I, and is Yoncalla’s wastewater operator of record. He is also pursuing his water certifications. Marvin has attended 9 UBOS meetings and participated in the plant profile in Riddle, which demonstrates his willingness to learn more about his profession and bring any knowledge back to his system. Marvin is involved in the details of planning a new pump station and has passed along some good ideas, genuinely appreciated by the engineering team.  He was successful at negotiations with OSHA regarding confined space entry requirements in the city’s old plant that substantially saved his organization from stiff fines and penalties. Marvin has become an invaluable employee with his concern for safety and proper methods of operations for all aspects of his position. 

Oregon Wastewater Operator of the Year

Congratulations to Cliff Church, Myrtle Creek, Oregon as this year’s Oregon Wastewater Operator of the Year. Cliff Church is an operator who exhibits a commitment to learn safe and efficient plant operations at the Wastewater Treatment Plant as well as the Water Treatment Plant. He is willing to learn and understand the operations of each plant, and he has shown a mechanical ability by repairing, maintaining and troubleshooting equipment. Cliff currently holds a State of Oregon Wastewater Treatment Grade II certification and is in the process of obtaining a Grade Ill certification. Cliff always makes safety a priority. Shortly after becoming the Safety Committee Chairman, Cliff improved the Safety Committee practices with better organization and consistency, and extended safety meeting from only wastewater staff to the entire Public Works crew. Cliff has been active in UBOS for the past several years. He is also well liked and respected by his fellow employees and the City management, and he always has a bright and cheerful attitude bringing up the morale wherever he is working.

(Western) Washington Treatment Plant Operator of the Year

Congratulations to Matt Jenkins, City of Ridgefield as this year’s (Western) Washington Treatment Plant Operator of the Year. Matt joined the City at a time of transition for the City's treatment plant. Matt came into his new position with energy and enthusiasm and has excelled. He rapidly grew his knowledge and understanding of the plant and has consistently gone above and beyond expectations to fine tune the treatment process and find efficiencies that go beyond permit compliance. His improvements to the aeration and sludge wasting processes have improved plant performance as well as saved energy and waste hauling costs, both which translate to lower costs to customers. With newly available capacity in the Ridgefield Plant to serve the west side of the City, flows to the plant continue to change, Matt’s organization is confident that he will continue to find innovative ways to improve the treatment process and to operate the plant in an outstanding manner.

Conference Chair Plaques

Recognition of these crucial roles in our organization is vital. Each year these individuals lead a dedicated group of volunteers to develop, create and produce the Annual Conference. This year special recognition and congratulations goes to Conference Chair, Brady Fuller, CH2M and Technical Program Chair, Dan Laffitte, Brown & Caldwell.

President’s Awards

President’s Awards are given by the PNCWA President and acknowledge individual efforts in support of PNCWAs mission. Congratulations to President's Award recipients, Karen DeBaker, Mark Poling, and Chris Miccolis.

Outgoing Board Members

Special recognition and congratulations to outgoing PNCWA Board Members Chris Miccolis, outgoing Oregon Regional Director, and Lynne Chicoine, outgoing WEF Director.

Service Award for Outgoing President

The final award of the evening was the Service Award for the outgoing President Shannon Ostendorff. Thank you and congratulations to Shannon for her dedication and service to our association.

Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers (5S)

The Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers is sanctioned by PNCWA but is directed by the members of the Society. The Society gives recognition PNCWA members who have contributed to PNCWA but do not qualify for or have not received other honorary awards or have not served as PNCWA officers. The Chair or "pH7" of the Society, Bud Ruthers, conducts the induction of new Society members at the annual conference.

This year’s PNCWA Awards was a great success. Please continue to submit your nominations so that we can continue to recognize the incredible achievements made in our industry every year.