CWEA Awards Shine Light on California Water Pros

The California Water Environment Association (CWEA) announced the winners of its 2017 awards program at its Annual Conference in Sacramento on April 20. Nominations that advance through CWEA’s 17 local sections’ awards programs plus a select group of special awards are eligible to compete statewide. To kick off the ceremony, Small Plant of the Year winner, Ironhouse Sanitary District’s Chad Davisson addressed the audience on the path to success and why the CWEA awards are an integral part of their successful operation.

CWEA officers are available to make a presentation to CWEA award recipients at agency board or City Council meetings. Please contact Victoria Thornton  at vthornton@cwea.org or (510) 382-7800 x 113.

Photos by Phong Trinh.

Special thanks to California based Coombs-Hopkins Company the lead supporter for the CWEA Awards Program.

Coombs-Hopkins sponsorship will allow CWEA to continue upgrading and improving our awards program, including working with CWEA’s technical committees to streamline the nomination process as needed.

Congratulations to these agencies and individuals leading the way in the protection and enhancement of our water environment.

AC18 Awards

Plant of the Year Large: Encina Wastewater Authority

Plant of the Year Medium: South Orange County Wastewater Authority

Plant of the Year Small: Ironhouse Sanitary District

Collection System of the Year Large (Over 500 miles): Santa Rosa Water

Collection System of the Year Medium (250–500 miles): City of Merced 

Collection System of the Year Small (0-249 Miles): City of Banning 

Collection System Person of the Year: Dennis Lambert, Rodeo Sanitary District 

Collection Systems: Ambassadors, Golden Manhole: Christopher Brown, Oro Loma Sanitary District

Collection Systems: PICK- Professionalism, Ingenuity, Contribution, Knowledge: Jeff Stecker, Leucadia Wastewater District | Marvin Gonzalez, Leucadia Wastewater District

Collection Systems: Richard D. Pomeroy Award: Mark Chamberlin, Eastern Municipal Wastewater District

Community Engagement & Outreach: Newsletter of the Year: Ironhouse Sanitary District 

Community Engagement & Outreach: Person of the Year Small Agency: Roni Gehlke, Ironhouse Sanitary District

Community Engagement & Outreach: Person of the Year Large Agency: Jennifer Peet, City of Modesto

Community Engagement & Outreach: Project of the Year Large Budget (Over $20K): Roseville Utility Exploration Center

Community Engagement & Outreach: Project of the Year Small Budget (Under $20K): Ventura Water and MERITO Foundation Education Outreach Partnership

Engineering Achievement of the Year: Valley Sanitary District

Research Achievement of the Year: Central Contra Costa Sanitary District

Electrical/Instrumentation: Person of the Year: Mauricio Marin, Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority

Gimmick/Gadget of the Year: Donald Botelli, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District | Brian Diamantini, Town of Windsor | Refugio Lopez, NapaSan

Laboratory: Crystal Crucible: Lena Cox, Goleta Sanitary District

Laboratory Person of the Year: Suguna Pillay, City of Palo Alto

Mechanical Technician of the Year: Bernard Martinez, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District

Operator of the Year: Jim Petalio, Rodeo Sanitary District

P3S Person of the Year: Jonathon Powell, Orange County Sanitation District

Safety: Plant of the Year Large: City of Fresno DPU Wastewater Management Division

Safety: Plant of the Year Medium: Encina Wastewater Authority

Safety: Plant of the Year Small: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Outstanding Young Professional of the Year: Phil Giori, Dudek

Supervisor of the Year: Valerie Leone, SUEZ North America 

WEF Awards

Burke Award: Olivenhain Municipal Water District 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility

WEF Quarter Century Operator Club: Robert J. Hidalgo, Goleta Sanitary District

WEF Lifetime Achievement: Michael Kavanaugh | Michael Stenstrom

CWEA Quarter Century from the North: 
Dianne Lee, West Yost Associates
Debi Lewis, Stantec
Doug Van Gorden, South Lake Tahoe Public Utility District
Garin Warren, East Bay Municipal Utility District

CWEA Quarter Century from the South:
Charles Boehmke, Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
Dave Bruns, Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
James Clark, Black & Veatch
Michael Drennan, Urban Water Futures at WSP, Parsons Brinkerhoff
Melissa Fischer, Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
Victoria Francis, Orange County Sanitation District
Garry Parker, Encina Wastewater Authority
Basil Hewitt, Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
Jeffrey Kightlinger, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
John Morris, Morris Water
Mark Pestrella, Public Works, County of Los Angeles
Sharon Yin, Orange County Sanitation District

Photo Contest Winners:
Joe Zumbo, Central San
Dorien McElroy, Irvine Ranch Water District
Bob Wandro, Silicon Valley Clean Water

5S (Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers):
Veronica Astells | Redwood Empire Section
Michael Flores | SARBS
Scott A. Jacobs | Northern San Joaquin
Jacelyn Renwick | Northern San Joaquin
Shannon Simmers | SARBS
Chris Stacklin | SARBS
Matt Winkleman | Redwood Empire

Kirt Brooks Memorial Scholarship:
Sammy Arvizu
Janelle Garabedian
Edwin Hale
Phillip Leone
Seth Rossi


Established in 1929, CWEA’s awards program has grown to acknowledge outstanding achievement in more than 20 categories honoring exceptional California water environment professionals, collection systems, and treatment plants.  Categories include Plant of the Year, Collection System of the Year, Public Education Program of the Year as well as awards of individual professionals in various vocations. The program seeks to recognize outstanding achievements within the water environment field, improve the professional status of all personnel working in the field, and stimulate public awareness of the importance of wastewater treatment to public health and the water environment.

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Megan Barillo

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