My name is Melinda Norris and I am here on behalf of the Idaho Rural Water Association and the wastewater and drinking water utilities that we serve. We are a nonprofit Association that provides technical assistance and training to small utilities throughout Idaho. We work with the public works staff and utility operators throughout Idaho to improve their long term sustainability, compliance with regulations, training and education of current practices and technologies, and more.

IRWA would like to recognize the achievement and dedication of one of the City of Weiser’s staff members. As you know, Lonnie Chambers is your Wastewater Superintendent and he oversees the daily tasks required to ensure Weiser handles its wastewater in and environmentally safe way that is also complaint with state and federal requirements. Since I have known Lonnie, he has always been 100% dedicated to his job and to his community. He has always volunteered to serve on various steering committees and boards in other to educate himself and his staff on how they can be the best employees possible. He goes above and beyond his daily duties and looks for training for himself and his staff.  Lonnie is one of the most proactive wastewater operators in the state. He is constantly looking to improve himself, his staff, and the functionality of Weiser’s wastewater treatment plant. 

In 2017 Lonnie took it upon himself to enroll in the Utility Management Certification (UMC) program. This is a nationwide program that recognizes the achievements and expertise of water and wastewater professionals. The  certification recognizes expertise in the areas of utility management, finances, and sustainable utility. The course is not required by the state of Idaho licensing department, by DEQ, or by anyone. It is something Lonnie chose to participate in to better himself and his knowledge of the utility management. The Utility  Management Certification is nationally recognized and promoted by the American Water Works Association, the Water University, the National Rural Water Association in order to create an national designation for qualified utility managers. The information taught in the course is intended to increase the knowledge, professionalism, effectiveness, and success of rural wastewater systems and their managers notion-wide, This is a struggling industry that faces many challenges.

As part of the course, Lonnie engaged in a tow-day training in which he was instructed in the areas of financial, managerial, and technical sustainability. Following classroom instruction, he told a two hour exam to earn his Utility Management Certification. 

IRWA would like to stress that Mr. Chambers enrolled in this course on his own accord because of his commitment to his community.  There are less that 20 individuals in the state of Idaho that are certified Utility Managers. This achievement really highlights Lonnie’s dedication to his industry,  his job and his community. IRWA praises Lonnie for undertaking this challenge in order to be the best utility manager he can be. His job is complex, it requires a lot of scientific and technical knowledge, problem solving skills, knowledge or regulations and the ability to meet them despite challenges beyond his control, the ability to work with and manage other people from varying backgrounds and educations. Lonnie has always come across as someone that cares deeply about what he does and who he serves, which is the City of Weiser.

Please join me in recognizing his achievement.