Jun 18, 2015

New AWWA President Begins Term

Gene Koontz accepted the ceremonial gavel at the conclusion of AWWA ACE15

American Water Works Association president Gene Koontz

Before a packed plaza outside the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center, Gene Koontz of Harrisburg, Pa., accepted the American Water Works Assn.’s (AWWA) ceremonial gavel and began his one-year term as president.

The gavel passing ceremony last Wednesday night concluded AWWA’s four-day Annual Conference & Exposition (ACE15), which drew more than 11,700 water professionals and technology providers. A specialist in water quality and treatment, Koontz oversees the national water market for Gannett Fleming, a global infrastructure firm that provides planning, design, technology and construction management services for a diverse range of markets and disciplines.

Koontz, an AWWA member since 1982, told the crowd he will build on several new AWWA initiatives, including the establishment of an office in India, the launch of the Community Engineering Corps, the introduction of the Water Equation Campaign and the expansion of AWWA’s Total Water Solutions offerings. He said he also will concentrate on engaging students and young professionals to assure a healthy future for the water profession.

“All you leaders of utilities, service provider and consultants,” Koontz told the ACE15 attendees, “next year, bring a young professional along, hire a student. Let’s get them into AWWA. Let’s get them engaged.”

Koontz accepted the gavel from Immediate Past President John Donahue, CEO of North Park (Ill.) Water District. “We have set the bar for AWWA very high in the past couple of years,” Donahue said prior to handing over the gavel. “We have introduced new programs, created a new culture, broadened our reach and expanded our vision. It has been an honor to be a part of everything we have done and are doing, and I know AWWA is in excellent hands with our new president.”

Koontz has served as an active volunteer and leader within the AWWA Pennsylvania Section as well as on the broader association level. He has held many leadership positions within the Pennsylvania Section, including section chair, chair of the Water Quality Committee, member of the Water Utility Council and chair of the Program Committee. On a broader level, he has served on three separate Water Research Foundation project advisory committees.