Mike Leonard, water operations manager for the City of Roswell, Georgia, assumed the presidency of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) on Wednesday night at the AWWA’s Annual Convention and Exposition (ACE08).“As water professionals and citizens of the planet, we have an obligation to be the very best stewards we can be of our water resources, our systems, and our public health,” said Leonard. “I thank you all so much for having the opportunity to serve as your president as we take on these challenges together.”

Leonard has devoted his career to safe water and has been honored with multiple awards, including the AWWA George Warren Fuller Award (2001) and Diamond Pin (2002), as well as three bronze medals and several special achievement awards from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). He has served with distinction as general manager and chief administrative officer for the Atlanta-Fulton County Water Resources Commission, chief of the drinking water section at USEPA, and client technical services manager at Brown and Caldwell.

Leonard succeeds Nilaksh Kothari, general manager of public utilities for Manitowoc, Wisconsin, as AWWA president. The new president-elect is Craig Woolard, treatment division director of the Anchorage (Alaska) Water and Wastewater Utility.

“Mike is going to be a superb leader for AWWA,” Kothari said. “Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with him and get to know him better as both a colleague and a friend. His depth of experience in the water community — from utilities to EPA to the consulting world — makes him the right man for the job at just the right moment.”

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After he accepted the president’s gavel from Kothari, Leonard outlined his top priorities for the year, including promoting the value of water professionals and their work, recruiting new water professionals to replace an expected wave of industry retirements, increasing member participation in AWWA, and strengthening section-association cooperation.

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