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Jim Current Professional Excellence Award

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2013 - Richard Cook

This year’s recipient started working for the City of Fort Scott on the night shift thirty-three years ago, in 1981.
In 1984 he was promoted to supervisor of the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
In 2006 the city’s Wastewater Plant won the Kansas Water Environment Association ‘Treatment Plant Award’ for Operation and Maintenance.
In 2007 our recipient was awarded the ‘William Hatfield Award’.
In 2010 he was promoted to the Utilities Director of the City of Fort Scott position. In this position he oversees Wastewater Treatment & Water Production along with Distribution Systems and Collections Systems and Fleet Maintenance.
In 2011 the City of Fort Scott’s Wastewater Treatment Plant won KWEA ‘Safety Award’.

He has been married for 35 years with 4 children and 6 grandchildren.
He is a member of the Water Environment Federation, the Kansas Water Environment Association, and is a member of Faith Christian Church.
After 33 years of commitment to the industry he is looking forward to retiring in 2015 and then traveling with his wife, doing woodworking projects, and playing with the grandkids.
Our 2014 recipient of the Jim Current Professional Excellence Award is Mr. Richard Cook.

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2012 - Mike Tate

Mike is a graduate of Oklahoma State University holding both a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master’s of Science in Bioenvironmental Engineering. After graduation, he went to work for KDHE in the Technical Services Section of the Bureau of Water. Mike has worked in the department’s water quality program for much of his 26-year KDHE career.

With Jim Current, he worked with operator training and 104g programs as well as helping the section with computer technical assistance since PC’s were new to the department at that time. Mike had begun using PC’s while still in college and saw their value the department. With the help of Teresa Schuyler, Mike computerize the operator certification program creating a local PC-based database management system that was later migrated to the KDHE’s central servers and made available to the public for on-line use. Mike formerly taught computer courses at Washburn University.

Mike has worked in the water quality field for most of his KDHE career. He transferred within the agency to the Bureau of Waste Management where he worked for a three years before returning to what he enjoys most – the water quality field.

In the early 1990's he accepted a position as a unit chief in the Technical Services Section, then quickly rose to the position of Chief of the Technical Services Section. His leadership in this position as well as his computer skills in resolving water quality issues quickly became apparent. Upon the retirement of Karl Mueldener, the Bureau Director, Mike was appointed to be the new Bureau Director.

Mike is a member of the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA), the Water Environmental Federation (WEF), and the American Water Works Association (AWWA). Mike is recognized nationally for his knowledge and leadership in water quality circles and he is a licensed professional engineer in Kansas.

He leads the department in efficient discharge of routine duties and is also a leader in state and in the Midwest in water quality issues and nutrient reduction issues. His character and abilities are unquestioned. He will be a great addition to the roll of Jim Current Professional Excellence Award recipients.

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2011 - Darrell Botts

The recipient of this year’s Jim Current Professional Excellence Award is Darrell Botts.

Darrell Botts earned the respect of his employees by working harder than they did..

He was a theory y type of supervisor who understood that there is more than one way to get the job done .

He listened and took advice, whether he used it or not, and he gave credit where credit was due.

Darrell worked full-time for the City of Bronson, as a one man show, for years, all the while going to night school to earn his associates degree in environmental technologies.

Not long after earning his degree Darrell went on to earn his class IV state certifications in both water and wastewater.

Darrell then hired on as Water and Wastewater Superintendent for the City of Humboldt where he was one of the first in the state to install and operate a Chlorine Dioxide generator to combat the emerging THM and HAA5 regulations.

Darrell is a self-made man who succeeded in everything he did, but acted like anyone could.

He never took credit or boasted about his accomplishments; instead he empowered his employees and led by example.

For Darrell, no task was to large, every job was taken by the horns and dealt with in the most professional manner, and no matter how complex the problem may have been, Darrell took the time to explain to and seek advice from everyone, including the greenest of the crew.

For his years of exemplary service and for the guidance he offered to anyone and everyone who asked, it is my honor to present Darrell Botts with this year’s Jim Current award.

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2009 - Garry Turner

The recipient of the 2009 Jim Current Professional Excellence Award is Garry Turner. Garry started working for the City of Olathe as a Utility worker in March of 1979. In 1981 Garry transferred to the Water Plant as an Operator, and then was promoted to Lead Maintenance Worker in 1987. In December of 1990 Garry was promoted to Operations Supervisor, then Water Production Supervisor in 1994, Assistant Water Production Superintendent in 1998 and finally Water Production Superintendent in 2005, a position he kept until retiring in December of 2007. Currently Garry is an Instructor for FSCC teaching Environmental courses. Garry continues to be involved in Municipal and State organizations and stays engaged in the Kansas Section AWWA and KDHE Operator Training efforts. Garry received a Small System Award from AWWA in 1999 for his work in developing the program to get the Kansas Section Top Ops program nationally recognized by writing the by-laws for the Kansas Section and also received the Operator Meritorious Service Award in 2007, also from AWWA.

Congratulations to Garry on all of his achievements.

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2008 - Mike Gilliland

The recipient of the 2008 Jim Current Award began his municipal utility career in 1974 when he was employed by the City of Osage City as a utility maintenance worker. He chose to remain in Osage City and has had the opportunity to serve in many capacities with the City. His first supervisory role was in 1980 when he was selected to serve as the Natural Gas Superintendent, and very shortly after he became the Superintendent for the Water and Wastewater Departments as well. Many duties have come and gone throughout the years including the management of the Municipal Swimming Pool; two city' owned and operated Cemeteries, and many of the City’s Public Buildings and Facilities.

He has spent the last several years as the Director of Utilities, a job which finds him busy, keeping up with the regulatory, compliance, and technical issues as well as contractual agreements and commodities purchasing for the Natural Gas and Electric Departments.

One of the many things our recipient takes a great deal of pride in, is that during these years Osage City has become a regional Water supplier, serving two RWDs and three neighboring cities. Like most of you in this industry, he maintains a busy work schedule, while still taking the time to be actively involved in municipal, state, and national utility industry trade organizations and has particularly enjoyed his involvement with the Kansas AWWA Operator training efforts over the last several years.

When I went out for the first time to teach a workshop on my own, luckily for me it was in Osage City. I got there late and he was still at work. He did everything he could, making phone calls etc. to get me a place to stay while I was in town and invited me to supper that night with his wife and him. His professionalism in our industry truly makes him deserving. This year’s Jim Current Professional Excellence Award goes to Mike Gilliland.

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2007 - Pat Flynn

Over the past eight years, Pat Flynn's efforts to encourage utility workers to earn their degrees have helped nearly 100 Southeast Kansas students earn more education than they probably ever thought they would.

Because of that work, Flynn, a safety instructor in Pittsburg State University's College of Technology, has been awarded a statewide honor.

Fort Scott Community College recently presented Flynn with the James L. Current Award for Professional Excellence at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Annual School at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. The award, which honors the life and work of James Current, the first training officer of the KDHE, recognizes leaders who have provided or promoted education to those who work for Kansas utilities in water and wastewater.

Flynn has been an integral part of the effort to get students enrolled in the two-year Associate of Applied Science in Environmental Technology program at Fort Scott Community College. The program prepares students to finish their bachelor's degrees in technology management at PSU. So far, about 70 students have completed their degrees at FSCC, and several are enrolled to complete their four-year degrees. Flynn says the program helps these workers primarily improve their supervisory skills.

Once a student of Current's, Flynn said their friendship has made the award all the more special.

"He was around back in the days when there was zero education for a utilities profession, and I learned from him and got to know the quality of individual he was," he said. "To be associated with his name, I couldn't be any prouder."

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2006 - Teresa Schuyler

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2005 - Chuck Shively

Chuck began work for the City of Coffeyville in 1978 as a Draftsman in the Electric Department. In 1989, Chuck moved to the Engineering Department as a CAD Operator (Water & Wastewater Utilities were under the Engineering Department at that time) and started taking college courses while working full-time.

He got married in 1990. Their 1st child was born in 1992, and their 2nd child in 1994.

Chuck graduated from PSU with a BS in Engineering Technology in December 1994, and became department head of City of Coffeyville’s Engineering Department in 1995.

In 1998 Chuck became Director of Water & Wastewater Utilities and moved his office to the Water Treatment Plant. There he worked with the Water Treatment Plant Operators and Maintenance crew on a daily basis. In 2004 Chuck became Director of Public Works.

Chuck holds the following certifications:
KDHE :
Class IV Water Supply System Operator
Class IV Wastewater Treatment Facility Operator

KWEA:
Class IV Water Distribution System Operator
Class IV Wastewater Collection System Operator

Chuck is also a Kansas Department of Commerce Certified CDBG Grant Administrator.

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2004 - Tim Hobson

Tim graduated from Pittsburg State University with BS (Spr. 1968) and MS (1971) degrees in Biology. After graduating from PSU, Tim worked in labs for 9 years (the first 3 years while working on the MS degree) analyzing potable water, wastewater, explosives, sermiconductor materials and materials for the nuclear industry. His last 3 years in the lab were supervisory at a wastewater treatment facility where he was also involved in evaluating wastewater treatment systems.

Tim passed the Kansas Class IV Wastewater Operators Exam in 1975 and presently holds a Class IV license in Kansas and a Class A in Oklahoma.

He taught wastewater treatment courses (50 long-term courses) and workshops (approx. 180) during a 26 year career at Salina Area Tech School (SATS). He retired from SATS in 2002.

During 19 summers when at SATS Mr. Hobson worked with FSCC on the EPA 104(g)(1) program. He provided wastewater treatment facility evaluation and training services for more than 100 municipal wastewater treatment systems. For his work with the 104(g)(1) program, Mr. Hobson received the first annual EPA National Award for “Exceptional Technical Assistance”.

Tim has written and published a book, “Activated Sludge – Evaluating and Controlling Your Process”. Presently Mr. Hobson is the sole-proprietor of Environmental Consulting Services, based in Salina.

Tim has been married for 40 years to Suzanne. They have 4 grown children and 4 grandchildren.

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2003 - Jerry Grant

Jerry retired in June of 1997 from his job as chief of the Technical Services Section, of the Bureau of Water, of Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Jerry has been actively involved with operator training and certification for many years. He is a member of American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA) and has successfully completed the University of Southern California's, Tester Training course in 2000. Jerry, since of retirement has been directly involved in operator training through Fort Scott Community College in cross connection and maintenance classes.

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2002 - Joe Steverson

Joe is a true 4 X 4," said Flynn. "He holds Class IV certification in Water, Wastewater, Distribution, and Collections." He works on contract for the City of Parsons assisting with their newly designed water treatment plant that utilizes high-level technology. Steverson and his wife, Holly reside in rural Labette County. In addition to a plaque presented to Steverson, a plaque will hang in Jack Burris Hall on the campus of Fort Scott Community College that will hold the engraved names of Steverson and future award winners.

Jim Current began his career by working for several years with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).

In July 1968 he went to work for Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). After spending the first six months in training, Jim went to work in Wichita as a Tech4.

In 1974 Jim joined N. Jack Burris as a training officer for water & wastewater operators. Jim Current was instrumental at the onset of Kansas Operator certification and training. He worked tirelessly to implement and build the Kansas Operator certification and training programs. Jim wrote the regulations for mandatory operator certification in the state of Kansas, which until that time all certification, was voluntary. Jim and Jack Burris would travel all over the state putting on operator training workshops. Upon retiring from KDHE and stayed active with industry training by teaching workshops, most notably “Current Topics”, which varied in topics from legislation to whatever may be important to the water and wastewater industry at the time.

He was a member of the Association Boards of Certification (ABC). Jim went through all of the chairs for the association eventually becoming President of ABC. Jim won the Sidell Award from ABC and an award from KWEA for his long term dedication to operator training.

Jim was known locally, regionally and nationally for his dedication to Environmental Technologies.

Fort Scott Community College’s Environmental Technology Department’s Advisory Board wanted to ensure that Jim’s “vision” remained alive for the industry and so created the Jim Current Excellence Award. This award recognizes those who exemplify professionalism in the industry among the working ranks of either water or wastewater backgrounds.

Jim Current was highly thought of as a professional and as a person. His faith was important to him and he was very active in his church.

Applying for Nomination

Page Last Updated On 1/16/2012