Awards of Excellence

Each year the Alliance has the distinctive honor to recognize some of the best of the best in the water and wastewater industry. Awards are presented to individuals that have been nominated by their peers, coworkers, managers and/or board / council members during the luncheon held at our annual Spring Conference.


Award Nomination Form

Award Nomination Category Definitions

2017 Award Recipients

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The best of the best in the water and wastewater industry were honored at our 2017 Spring Conference. Recipients were recognized and presented with an award during the luncheon at the French Lick Resort. 

  • Wastewater Systems Operations Specialist of the Year
  • Water Systems Operations Specialist of the Year
  • Manager of the Year
  • Administrative Professional of the Year
  • Associate Member of the Year
  • President's Choice Award
  • Steward of the Environment Award

Tony Wood, Town of Osgood

Wastewater Systems Operations Specialist of the Year

Tony has worked for Town of Osgood for 24 years and for Friendship Regional Sewer District for 19 years. Nominator, Chris Lagaly, says, “Through his 24 years in the wastewater industry Tony has had an impact on the lives of countless people, utilities and the environment in a positive manner. He has overseen two major plant project upgrades to eliminate numerous compliance issues and two distribution upgrades as well as self-constructed new sewer and upgraded lift stations. The utility has currently seen the longest streak of compliance without a violation (15 months). The goals have been to modernize and eliminate excess power costs through the strategic use of VFD’s as well as minimizing chemical costs for phosphorous removal and metals. Many thousands of dollars have been saved!” Wood works tirelessly on applying for grants to modernize both utilities, and is currently working with Ripley County Emergency Management and Laughery Valley Watershed using weather stations to get obtain digital stream flow information for discharges.

Karl Broyer, City of Martinsville

Water Systems Operations Specialist of the Year

Nominated by Scott Manley; Karl has been employed with the City of Martinsville since 2006. Karl was nominated due to his vast knowledge of the City of Martinsville’s distribution system and the workings of their vast wastewater system. Manley says, “Karl has worked a lifetime in the business of installing and maintaining water and sewer systems with a family owned business. He is the “go to guy” for advice and knowledge for the utility. Karl is the first one to jump into a project with both feet and finds a solution where there seems to not be one. Karl is the kind of worker who will always do the right job the first time and will not sacrifice doing a good job for the “easy way out.” Karl is a top notch employee who leads by example and honestly understands the City’s system like no other.”

Robin Merchant, Town of Syracuse

Manager of the Year

Robin was nominated by Henry DeJulia, Town Manager. Henry says, “Rob came into his current position when the Town was in the middle of trying to complete two of the largest projects it had attempted in decades; a substantial water distribution and wastewater collection system expansion and a wastewater treatment plant equipment replacement project. Both projects were embroiled with problems and engineering issues. He was able to take ownership of both these projects and take necessary actions to hold the contractors and engineers accountable, and force the corrective actions required to complete the water and wastewater expansion project within four months at a substantial savings to the Town. Rob has brought new management ideas to the Syracuse Public Works Department and his contributions have been many. The Department is doing things it had previously never done before and is focused on doing things better and being proactive instead of reactive. The Town of Syracuse if fortunate to have Rob’s experience and dedication serving it.”

Ellen Masteller, Brown County Water Utility

Administrative Professional of the Year

Masteller is in charge of office operations, equipment, daily activities and projects for Brown County Water Utility. She is also responsible for the Utility’s public relations and ensures compliance with all laws at a local, state and federal level as well as being responsible for all personnel related issues. Nominator Ben Phillips, President of the Board of Directors, reports; “Ellen has applied so many common sense remedies to our daily office procedures that were not efficient. For instance, just changing the mailing address saved the utility at least $3000-$4000 annually. By researching the company’s insurance policy and making intelligent changes we’ve saved on premiums and she also revised our telephone system for a large savings. Ellen has implemented many changes of this type to our daily operations. With her background in banking she has brought Brown County Water from barely balancing each month to having a comfortable balance at the end of the each cycle. Her daily contributions to the company are very much appreciated.”

Ford Meter Box Company

Associate Member of the Year

This honor is presented to an associate member that has gone above and beyond for the Alliance. Ford Meter Box Company has been an Associate Member of the Alliance of Indiana Rural Water since 1989, however, it wasn’t until 2014 when Tim Babb began becoming more familiar with the Alliance and our programs that Ford Meter Box began to become more involved. Since 2014 Ford Meter Box has been a stand out participant in all the Alliance Conferences, Spring and Fall as well as a regular demonstrator at the Operator Expos. Through sponsorships at the Conferences and Expos, Ford Meter Box has been capitalizing on its relationship with the Alliance and has reaped the rewards of getting to know our member utilities better.

Rocky Hayden, Mapleturn Utilities

President's Choice Award

This award is given to an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Hayden has been with Mapleturn utilities for 28 years, and nominator, Randy Gramentz says, “ Rocky is an outstanding employee in every aspect of the word. He can tackle any utility tasks with competence and professionalism. In addition to maintaining the major components of the utility, he also performs maintenance of the vehicles, backhoe, bush hog tractor, building and grounds all while reading and maintaining over 600 residential water meters and making new water and sewer service connections. If a pump from a lift station or well house fails, Rocky has the knowledge to rebuild those pumps which is a huge cost savings for the utility. In the field Rocky encounters and converses with customers on a daily basis. The feedback we receive is that Mapleturn Utilities is lucky to have such a hardworking and courteous employee.”

Rochelle Owen, USDA Rural Development

Steward of the Environment Award

This award is named for James E. Burch, Co-founder of Midwestern Engineers, Inc. and exemplifies the message that Mr. Burch wants carried forward: “Take care of the environment and the environment will take care of you.” Nominator, Krueger Pfister says, “Rochelle’s passion for environmental sustainability greatly shines in her every day work, not to mention her outstanding leadership and communication. Rochelle’s way of thinking goes beyond what Rural Development can do for rural citizens, but she reaches out to her network of colleagues to find who else may be able to help. She truly cares whether someone, who may never meet her or even know her name, has water to drink not only right now, but that it stays that way for the future.”


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