The 105 employees of the Public Works Department gathered at Mathis Auditorium on Wednesday, May 24, to be publicly recognized by city leadership and their peers for their performance and dedication year-round. The Employee Appreciation Luncheon, held in observance of National Public Works Week, is one of many events taking place this week to highlight the services provided by the staff of the city’s Public Works Department.
“The environmental services that the men and women of the Public Works Department provide tirelessly throughout the year are necessary services that our customers depend on daily,” said Public Works Director Richard Hardy. “The most important jobs are not always the most glamorous. Most of these dedicated professionals perform physically demanding jobs, some covering an average of 20 miles per day, five days a week, rain or shine, even on holidays. National Public Works Week has given us another opportunity to simply say ‘thank you.’”
At the event, Hardy presented the 2017 Superior Performance awards to the following:
- Kenneth Howell – Customer Service Division
- Henry Maxwell – Right-of-Way Division
- Thurston Lamb – Yard Trash Division
- Michael Lamb – Residential Garbage Division
- Clarence Walker – Commercial Collections Division
- Cedric Kier – Recycling Collections Division
- Michael Weldon – Maintenance Center
- Mecedes Cason – Mathis Auditorium
- Abel Braswell, Sunset Hill Cemetery
Kenneth Howell was also recognized at the event with the 2017 Service Award for his 30 years of service to the city.
“Public works has evolved just as other businesses have evolved, and we are constantly striving to keep up with the delivery of exceptional services,” said Nate Taylor, Landfill Director for the City of Thomasville, who inspirationally delivered the keynote speech that emphasized the changes in the Public Works field and the importance of on-the-job adaptability and professionalism.
Last year, the Valdosta Public Works Department collected 1,092 tons of recyclables materials, in addition to 29,011 tons of solid waste, 10,497 tons of yard trash, 15,751 special pickups, and 31,833 pounds of electronics from the city's two annual E-recycling events; swept 2,228 miles of city streets; completed 7,484 work orders for city vehicle repairs/maintenance; and collected 1,357 bags of litter from city right-of-ways, in addition to many other important jobs they perform for citizens in our community.
“The first thing I’m going to say is the most important thing I’m going to say, and that is ‘thank you,’” said City Manager Larry Hanson to the crowded room of uniformed Public Works professionals. “You have an incredible workload. And yet, it always strikes me that no matter the weather, no matter the conditions, no matter the circumstances, you are out there each and every day, serving our citizens.”
The national observance, sponsored by the American Public Works Association (APWA), was instituted in 1960. This year’s theme is “Public Works Connects Us,” which showcases the ways public works provides, maintains, and improves the structures and services that assure a higher quality of life for our communities and allow our communities to grow and prosper.
National Public Works Week continues through Friday with an Adopt-a-Street informational event on Thursday, May 25 and the Touch-a-Truck youth event on Friday, May 26. For more information about National Public Works Week in Valdosta, contact the Public Works Department at 229-259-3597.