Water Environment Association honors Grand Rapids and its employees

Published on July 25, 2023

City's Water System Workers and City leaders at a 7/25/23 City Commission presentation

Mayor Bliss recognizes the City employees at today’s Committee of the Whole


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Michigan Water Environment Association (MWEA) recently honored five City employees and the City’s Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) at its 98th Annual Conference in Grand Rapids. This morning, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, the City Commission and City Manager Mark Washington saluted the group at its Committee of the Whole.

During its June 19 awards luncheon, the MWEA named the following City employees for exceptional and significant contributions to the industry:

  • Jennifer Smerecki - Collection Systems Professional of the Year
  • Charles Schroeder - Public Utility Management Professional of the Year
  • Jared Grabinski - Doris VanDam Operations Professional of the Year
  • Hillary Caron - Educational Professional of the Year Award
  • City of Grand Rapids WRRF - Sustainable Energy Award

"We were thrilled to celebrate the exceptional achievements of these remarkable professionals along with the City of Grand Rapids Water Resource Recovery Facility,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “Their work exemplifies the City’s commitment to sustainability, honors outstanding contributions to water resource management and the innovation that drives the industry forward.”

The MWEA held its annual conference June 18 to 21 at the Amway Grand Plaza. The conference focused on a ‘A Day at the River’ and highlighted the achievements and advancements in water resource  management. It also showcased Grand Rapids' commitment to sustainability. Those in attendance took part in guided tours of Grand Rapids’ Water Resource Recovery Facility, which treats an average of 46 million gallons of water daily. The tours also showcased the facility's new biodigester, which obtains essential resources while reducing solids and converting methane into renewable natural gas. The facility's combined heat and power system also generates electricity and captures heat for thermal energy usage.

“This year's 98th Annual Conference marked a significant milestone for Grand Rapids, as the city hosted this memorable event for the first time in decades,” said James Hurt, senior managing director of the public works group. “The conference provided an exceptional opportunity to learn, share knowledge, and foster meaningful connections with experts in the field of water resource management.”


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