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NAWC Announces 2011 Management Innovation Award Winners


The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) announced the NAWC Management Innovation Award winners at the 2011 NAWC Water Summit. The NAWC Management Innovation Awards offer a unique opportunity for NAWC members to be recognized for new and innovative programs that have benefitted their organization, their customers, the communities they serve or the water industry as a whole.

“Many of the challenges we face as water managers are similar, whether you work for a public or private utility. But the solutions employed to solve these challenges differ from utility to utility and from partnership to partnership,” said Eric Thornburg, Chairman, President and CEO of the Connecticut Water Company. “We believe it’s our ability to match the spirit of public service with the power of private enterprise that makes for a winning combination. It’s not the size of the idea that counts but the degree of the ultimate benefits that can make the biggest difference.”

For over 35 years, the NAWC Management Innovation Awards competition has been recognizing NAWC members for groundbreaking ideas that are moving water forward through their leadership and work at the forefront of the water industry.  A record-setting 36 entries were judged on the degree of innovation, short and long-term benefits to the company, value to water utility industry, the ability to be duplicated at other companies, and presentation quality. Award winners include:

Grand Prize Winner
Missouri American Water: Hammerbodies Wellness and Safety Program

For the second consecutive year, Missouri American Water was awarded the NAWC Management Innovation Award’s highest honor, this year for their Hammerbodies Wellness and Safety Program. Despite a strong safety education program, traditional approaches to reducing injuries were not meeting injury reduction goals. In developing a program tailored to the unique needs of operations and construction teams, in just two years Hammerbodies has enhanced on-the-job safety, improved team performance, helped create a 51 percent reduction in the company’s OSHA recordable incident rate, and cut lost-time injury rates in half.

First Prize, Regulated Utilities (two winners)
Baton Rouge Water Company: Rolling on the River
Born out of safety and efficiency concerns, Baton Rouge Water Company launched a pilot program consisting of two Segways in 2008 to alleviate meter readers’ driving between meters in company vehicles. The benefits of using Segways to move between meters have included decreased daily fuel consumption by 37 percent –an annual savings of $1,200 per Segway – and a productivity increase between 10-30 percent. Baton Rouge Water Company now has 11 Segways in use with over 40,000 miles logged.

Middlesex Water Company: Marsh Engineering Marvel
Middlesex Water Company was challenged by a 104-year old water main running beneath the Raritan River in New Jersey that had experienced repeated breaks, cost the company thousands of dollars in repairs, and resulted in repeated service outages. After considering numerous options, and given the environmental and urban challenges, the company installed a new 24” main utilizing a combination of horizontal directional drilling and flexible PVC piping which minimized impact to sensitive marshlands and marine traffic. This effort holds the world record for the longest pull of its kind, and was placed into service just in time to accommodate peak summer water demands.

First Prize, Unregulated Utilities
CH2M Hill: Project Sustainability Pilot Program

CH2M Hill’s Project Sustainability Pilot Program sought to integrate sustainability into the operations and management delivery platform in a way that provided meaningful value to clients, driving continuous improvement of service delivery and employee development.  The company established volunteers at various project sites to champion the sustainability effort, with each team setting specific client goals: including 2.1 billion gallons of effluent reuse, 12,000 gallons of chemical reduction and 5,600 tons of waste diversion. The company documented $1.2 million in savings, and conducted 57 community projects with over 875 students participating in water education. A survey showed 83 percent of respondents indicated the sustainability efforts implemented were recognized and valued by their clients.

The NAWC Management Innovation Award 2011 Catalog of Entries is available here.

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