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As the director of water treatment at the Macon (Ga.) Water Authority, Gary McCoy has led his utility’s water quality efforts, which have been rewarded with impressive recognition, winning Georgia’s Water Treatment Plant of the Year twice, Best of the Best ACE National Water Taste Test, Best Tasting Drinking Water in Georgia and Georgia's Surface Water Safety Plant of the Year.

McCoy's career accomplishments have been hard-earned. He started as a water plant janitor and progressed to operator, plant superintendent and director of water treatment. During the past 30 years he has learned, "No matter what achievements you have acquired or professional level you have reached, never burn bridges. Treat people with the utmost respect no matter what position they may hold."

For the Georgia Section, McCoy has served as chair and trustee and has chaired the Distribution System and Water Plant Inspection committees. Currently, he chairs the Diversity and the Coordinator committees. "McCoy has exhibited outstanding leadership within the Georgia Section for more than 20 years," says Section Chair Sandy Smith. "As a former operator and now a manager, [McCoy] has a vision of continuous improvement for water utilities in both their management and operational practices." McCoy holds operator licenses in Class I surface water, Class III wastewater and distribution.

As a member of the association's Diversity Member and Inclusion Committee, McCoy has focused on what he sees as AWWA's greatest challenge -- "growing the organization with young people" and passing on institutional knowledge through "mechanisms to build relationships and coalitions with primary [schools,] secondary schools, colleges and universities." He has been involved in developing programs introducing youth to the water industry and publicizing career opportunities. One of those programs -- H2Opportunity, an Internet-based outreach -- received the 2009 AWWA Education Award.

McCoy received the Fuller Award in 2009 and the Operators Meritorious Service Award in 2000. He was inducted into the 5-S Society in 2004. With potential AWWA members, McCoy stresses the value of networking. He shares how "water utilities can share their experiences with new treatment processes, inform operators of job [openings] and encourage young professionals to consider a career in an otherwise overlooked profession." In the Georgia Association of Water Professionals, McCoy is the current district director, and chair of the Distribution System of the Year Awards Committee. He has served as chair and inspector for the GAWP Plant of the Year Award committee, and he has received the GAWP Nathan deJarnette Award.

bj walker
Gary McCoy