After more than 40 years in the water industry, Ronald Young, the longest serving general manager of the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (EVMWD), announced today that he is retiring at the end of January 2013.
“Ron has done a simply outstanding job serving our district for so many years, and his commitment to our customers and conservation is without equal,” said EVMWD Board President Harvey Ryan. “Ron worked very hard to ensure our ratepayers were informed and engaged on water issues, and to improve the efficiency of our district and sustainability of Lake Elsinore. Our board, our district staff and our community will miss Ron as we wish him a heartfelt farewell.”
A water industry veteran, Young joined EVMWD in 2002 as general manager after having served 20 years with Irvine Ranch Water District, the last 11 of which he served as that district’s general manager.
Under Young’s leadership and steady guidance, EVMWD flourished to become one of the most highly recognized and honored water districts in the Inland Empire for its financial and operational efficiencies and conservation efforts. Today, the district has grown into a $60 million water agency with 170 employees and 140,000 customers, and Young’s efficient management has resulted in reasonable water rates with no rate increases over the past two years.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments of our district and our employees for their ongoing commitment to customers. We have made great strides in the past 10 years, and I am extremely confident that EVMWD will remain a recognized leader and innovator in the water industry,” Young said.
As general manager, Young spearheaded customer conservation and education programs that helped District customers achieve a 15 percent reduction in water use. That success put EVMWD well on its way to surpassing the District’s long-term goal of reducing water use by 20 percent by the year 2020.
That reduction has allowed the District to depend less on expensive imported water which supplies roughly two-thirds of EVMWD’s water needs. As a result, EVMWD has been able to maintain its two-year budget without increasing customer rates despite sharply rising imported water costs and rate increases in other water districts.
Young’s management has also resulted in EVMWD being nationally recognized for its budget and financial reporting. EVMWD was one of the first municipal water agencies in the country to receive an award from the Government Finance Officers Association for its annual budget reporting presentation, a noteworthy accomplishment for any municipal water and waste water agency. This is only underscored by the fact that during his time with the District, EVMWD received the annual financial reporting award every year for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
In 2006, the California Water Environment Association named EVMWD’s Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility as its Midsized Plant of the Year for its environmentally friendliness, industry leading technology and spotless regulatory record. The plant adds five and a half million gallons of highly-treated recycled water into Lake Elsinore daily as part of the lake stabilization and recovery efforts.
Under Young’s tenure, the plant was the first in California to provide 132 billion gallons of recycled water to date to help replenish a large, full-body contact recreational lake. The program also earned EVWMD statewide recognition with a prestigious Theodore Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Management in 2008 from Association of California Water Agencies, for leadership in managing limited natural resources.
Last year, Young helped oversee the consolidation of Elsinore Water District into EVMWD. The consolidation allowed for EVMWD to make much needed improvements to EWD’s deteriorating infrastructure without increasing customer rates.
Earlier this year, the Public Relations Society of America, Inland Empire Chapter, for the third year in a row presented EVMWD with a Polaris Award – one of the highest honors given by the association – for the District’s overall customer outreach campaign.
One of Young’s most admirable projects during his time with EVMWD has been the establishment of a mutually beneficial partnership with Mount San Jacinto Community College. His vision was to establish a program that supports the arts, while promoting student academic and professional development. Named “Water Wonders” it’s an art and photography competition that highlights MSJC student work, which to date, has provided EVMWD with a permanent collection of over 250 pieces of artwork and photography for public viewing at its district office.
Some other notable accomplishments for Young have been eliminating duplicate retirement benefits saving the district and its employees money, establishing equality among all EVMWD customers by combining four separate sewer rates into one comprehensive sewer rate, and selling a surplus portion of an agricultural water system in the Temescal Valley for approximately $2.5 million that also resulted in reduced operating costs for EVMWD.
Young holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University, a Master of Science in Engineering from Loyola Marymount University and a California Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, Grade V Certification. In addition to being a California registered Civil Engineers; he is a Diplomat of Environmental Engineering with the American Association of Environmental Engineering and is the past President for the California Association of Sanitation Agencies and the WateReuse Foundation.
He and his wife Shaula have been married for 40 years; together they have three sons and four grandchildren.