City Receives First Place in Florida
Sterling Council Competition
June 06, 2013
The City of Tallahassee’s Underground Utilities took home first place Friday, May 31, in a rigorous statewide competition sponsored by the Florida Sterling Council. The City was named 2013 Team Showcase Champion by the Council for its outstanding achievement in implementing a nitrogen reduction program as part of the City’s commitment to move to a higher treatment level known as Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT).
The prestigious Team Showcase Award recognizes the City for excellence and exemplary practices among all public and private organizations throughout Florida. The City received the top honor for its commitment to integrating the Sterling approach for process improvement to achieve the highest level of customer service, operational performance and environmental protection.
In addition to achieving the top honor in the Team Showcase, the City received the Council’s People’s Choice Awards for Best Use of Data and Greatest Customer Impact. Winners were announced at the Council's 21st Annual Florida Sterling Conference, held May 28-31 in Orlando, Fla.
"The AWT project has been extremely successful and is a true testament to Tallahassee’s environmental commitment to protecting our drinking water and natural treasures, such as Wakulla Springs,” said Mayor John Marks. “By significantly reducing nitrogen levels, we’re helping improve the water quality of the region’s lakes, streams, underground waters and springs because nitrogen fuels the growth of algae and other noxious plants.
“This award also demonstrates that City employees are industry leaders,” Marks said. “As strong advocates of advanced technology and innovative solutions, we’re working efficiently to save time and money. That means our citizens are the ultimate beneficiaries with more efficient operations and higher water quality. In addition, hundreds of jobs were created during AWT construction.”
This initiative involved multiple coordination activities that led to the City meeting state nitrogen limits a year earlier than scheduled. The process included providing additional training to utility team members on new technologies, increased monitoring, using historical data to produce computer modeling that enhances decision making, keeping costs down through value engineering, team brainstorming sessions, and visiting utility operations in other areas to exchange best practices.
Underground Utilities General Manager Mike Tadros credited City leaders for their vision and staff for its hard work.
“This is a great tribute to the dedication of our employee wastewater treatment team, as well as the continued support from City leadership,” Tadros said. “It is just one more example of what makes us the #1 Public Utility in America.”
Established in 1992, the Florida Sterling Council is a public/private not-for-profit organization supported by the Executive Office of the Governor. Its annual conference serves to highlight the award winners as industry role models and to teach participants how to elevate business performance and increase productivity. This year’s event attracted nearly 1,000 executives and professionals from throughout the Southeast region.
Mike Tadros, Underground Utilities General Manager, 891-5107; Sandra Manning, Utility Marketing Administrator, 891-6175; or Alison Faris, Marketing and Communications Manager, 891-8535.