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It was during the March 12 City Council meeting where Alliance Water Resource Regional Operations Manager Mike Dougherty made the announcement that they have found a permanent replacement for former Alliance Supervisor Ron Conger.
“We have brought Division Manager Terry Merritt to oversee the Elsberry Plant and Marshall Suddarth to handle the day-to-day responsibilities,” explained Dougherty. “Merritt is extremely knowledgeable and holds several certifications that we believe will serve Elsberry well.”
Merritt was brought in to replace Dan Gummersheimer, who resigned the week prior to the city council meeting.
“We haven’t really been doing much Project (engineering) Management work and [Dan] was a Project Engineer,” explained Dougherty. “Our expertise is Operations and Management, his was in Project Management of construction jobs.”
Dougherty went on to say that Merrit is an experienced and certified Class “A” operator of water and wastewater plants and distribution and collection systems. He is also a proven manager of a variety of other public works services and operations.
“[Merritt] is a 20 year veteran of operations assignments in several Missouri cities and has valuable experience in hazardous waste storage inspection and as a safety coordinator,” said Dougherty.
In 2005 Merrit was presented with the Missouri Section of the American Water Works Association’s Operator’s Meritorious Service Award, given for “outstanding achievement beyond normal operating responsibilities.” He earned the award for implanting a maintenance schedule and innovative repairs to water plant equipment, along with employee development and training in his division.
Currently Merritt oversees Alliance Water Resources divisions at Ste. Genevieve and Bonne Terre. (Alliance provides the City of Ste. Genevieve with full management, operations and maintenance services for its water and wastewater facilities and its water distribution and sewer collection systems and meter reading. Services for the city of Bonne Terre include the full management, operations and maintenance for its wastewater treatment facilities and lift stations for a population of approximately 4,000).
“In 2012 the Missouri Department of natural Resources performed a two-day inspection of the Ste. Genevieve water system to determine compliance with the Missouri Safe Drinking Water Act and the Missouri Public Drinking Water program Regulations,” said Dougherty. “The inspections found no deficiencies in any of the eight critical components of a public water system. Ste. Genevieve Division employees were recognized with Alliance’s Safety Award for incurring no work related injuries during 2010.”
Merritt was promoted to division manager in 2010 after serving three years as the local manager for Alliance’s Ste. Genevieve division. He had previously served as system manager of Alliance’s Bowling Green Mo., division. There, he was responsible for overseeing operation and maintenance of water, wastewater and public works for the City of Bowling Green approximately 1,500 customers, as well as water service to the Northeast Correctional Center, which serves a prison population of approximately 2,500.
Prior to Bowling Green, Merritt worked with the City of Hannibal as a multi-utility person responsible for the
operation of a 7.0-MGD conventional treatment plant, the water distribution crew, and the wastewater collection crew. He also worked for the city of Monroe City as the wastewater plant operator of a 750,000-gallon extended air activated sludge plant, and water plant operator of a 1.5-MGD up-flow plant.
For the past three months Jim Ianke has maintained and seemingly cleaned up a lot of the issues the Board of Alderman voiced concerns about. Ianke, who has 31-years experience with Alliance Water Resources, was also called out during the meeting for the hard work the department showed following the season’s biggest snowstorm. According to Ward III Alderman Bob Kindred and Ward I Alderman Tony Steele, they did an excellent job clearing and salting the streets, making it easier for residents and commuters to travel a little safer.
Suddarth, who started with Alliance in 2000, has moved his way up through different divisions and holds certifications in both water and wastewater management and has had the opportunity to work in areas such as Bowling Green, which also handled public work responsibilities.
“I actually started with Alliance here in Elsberry,” said Suddarth. “I worked my way up through the ranks and got my water license. I stayed there for a couple years and eventually transferred to Lincoln County with [a few other guys] and got my Class A in water and waste water, DS3 and then moved on to O’Fallon.”
Suddarth went on to explain his movement throughout the company, stating Alliance is a great place to work because although he made a lot of moves, he never had to start over.
“Each step was move forward to better myself and that’s something Alliance really encourages,” said Suddarth. “I think being rooted here in Elsberry and knowing so many people, such as Rusty Kinion, Tony Steele and several others will make working here and running day-today operations easy.”
According to Suddarth, he has his own way of doing things, just as each supervisor does, but anything he does or changes will be for the benefit of the city and Alliance. For anyone wanting to contact Suddarth or for more information call 573-898-2850 or visit the Elsberry office at 109 South Second Street.
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