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Great Lakes Water Authority Receives the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies’ 2017 Gold Award for Exceptional Utility Performance

Post Date:12/06/2017 4:50 PM

November 8, 2017
Media Contact: Gale Henderson / M: 313-618-5514 / O: 313-324-7896 

DETROIT— The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) presented the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), Michigan’s largest drinking water provider, with this year’s Gold Award for Exceptional Utility Performance. The award recognizes large public drinking water systems that exhibit outstanding achievement in implementing the nationally recognized attributes of Effective Utility Management (EUM), which include product quality, customer satisfaction, employee and leadership development, operational optimization, financial viability, community sustainability, enterprise resiliency, infrastructure strategy and performance, stakeholder understanding and support, and water resource sustainability.

AMWA’s CEO Diane VanDe Hei traveled to Detroit to present GLWA’s board, executive leadership and staff with the prestigious award during the Authority’s board meeting on November 8.

“Since our standup, GLWA staff members have worked tirelessly to provide water of unquestionable quality, while also exploring new opportunities for the Authority to improve its operations and maximize efficiencies,” said Sue McCormick, CEO, GLWA. “I am extremely grateful to AMWA for honoring GLWA’s dedication to our member communities, and further validating the important work that we do with the Gold Award for Exceptional Utility Performance.”

AMWA chose GLWA to receive this service sector honor based on it accomplishing the following milestones:

• Two upgrades of its bond ratings and the execution of an inaugural $1.3 billion bond sale, which included a refinancing of nearly $1.1 billion for a $309 million savings over the life of the bonds;

• Launch of its Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP), Michigan’s first sustainable water assistance program;

  • Inauguration of the Authority’s first-ever apprenticeship program, which focuses on training for Electrical Instrumentation Control Technicians;

• Creation of a leadership-training academy to build employees’ leadership skills;

• Development of an asset management governance structure; and,

• Continued focus on its environmental impact with the operation of its new Biosolids Dryer Facility.

“As more people continue to recognize how vital adequate, reliable supplies of safe, clean drinking water are to public health and community sustainability, AMWA is pleased to spotlight the impressive achievements of public drinking water utilities that are leading the nation in their efforts toward sustainability through innovative management practices, executive leadership and employee engagement,” said AMWA President Scott Potter, Director of Nashville Metro Water Services. “Our 2017 management award winners are a credit to their communities, and we salute their formidable accomplishments.”

GLWA was one of only three recipients of the Gold Award, which were initially presented at AMWA’s 2017 Executive Management Conference in St. Simons, Georgia on October 16.

“After the award presentation at AMWA’s conference, one of the award committee members pulled me aside and shared how impressed they were with all of the unique ideas and initiatives that the GLWA team had put into practice in our first year of operation,” said McCormick. “That committee member then told me that their utility had actually begun implementing some of our ideas. I’m not sure that you can get a better compliment than that.”

For more information on the Authority, please visit


About the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA)

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) is the provider of choice for water and wastewater services to 127 municipalities in seven Southeastern Michigan counties. With the Great Lakes as source water, the GLWA is uniquely positioned to provide its customers water of unquestionable quality. GLWA has capacity to extend its service to other Southeastern Michigan communities. The authority offers a Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) to assist low-income residential customers throughout the system. The GLWA board includes one representative each from Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties as well as two representatives from the City of Detroit, and one appointed by the governor of Michigan to represent customer communities outside the tri-county area.

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