PERU - Greg Timmons is the man of the year.
Timmons, who serves as water/sewer superintendent for the town of Peru, was recently named the Water Operator of the Year by the New York Rural Water Association. The award is given by the association to a state-certified water treatment operator with outstanding leadership abilities and accomplishments in water utility operations.
Since becoming superintendent in 1995, Timmons has strived to constantly improve the efficiency of the town's water and sewer systems and foster good working relationships with neighboring municipalities.
Timmons, who is a nearly 40-year veteran of the department, said the work for which he was given the award, is something he considers just doing his job.
"This is one of those things that, to me, you look to the other person that you think should have it for what they've done," he said. "I just try to make the system work better and help support training for our crew."
During his time at the helm of the department, Timmons has helped to coordinate necessary training programs in the North Country, where in the past, water and sewer department employees would have to travel sometimes great distances.
"It was pretty simple," said Timmons. "You have to have a place to hold it, make arrangements for maybe some coffee and a lunch, and the [NYRWA] staff does the rest."
Timmons worked with the Clinton County Health Department and other agencies to utilize meeting rooms at the Peru Volunteer Fire Department and Town of Plattsburgh Office Building.
"That way, our people in the area stay here for training and they don't have to go all over," he said.
Working collaboratively is what it's all about, said Timmons.
"Sometimes, if I have a problem, I'll call up the town of Plattsburgh or call the village of Lake Placid, or maybe the village of Keeseville or town of Ausable will call me for equipment," said Timmons. "We've tried to do that for years. It's how we do things in the North Country."
Most recently, among Timmons' and the town's ongoing efforts, the department has begun working with the NYRWA to use geographic information system technology to map key components of the town's water and sewer system.
"We're using GPS to locate all of our shut-offs and our water mains," said Timmons. "That way, we can pull them up on the computer with their coordinates and find them even in the middle of the winter."
Though the NYRWA honored Timmons, he said he didn't win this award alone.
"If I didn't have the guys on staff that I have, an award like this wouldn't happen," said Timmons. "This award is because of them, the support of our town council and the community. It's a 24-7 job and it's a team effort."