41st Annual Conference Recap

This year New Mexico Rural Water Association hosted their 41st Annual Conference at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. The conference took place on April 6-8, 2019. The conference offered a variety of speakers and courses ranging from Water and Wastewater Operations to hot topics like Cyber-Security Guidance and Wildfire Impact on Drinking Water. The event also featured over 70 exhibitors covering a myriad of services and new products in the water industry.

On Monday night of the conference the Exhibitor Meet and Greet took place, giving vendors and attendees the opportunity to meet and demonstrate products in a fun setting with musical entertainment provided by Luz de Luna. The tradition of the door prize raffle was also continued this year with participation from over 15 vendors raffling off items such as TVs, gift cards, water purifying devices, and sports jerseys.  

As a member-based non-profit, NMRWA relies on the participation of its members during our annual meeting to assist in electing representatives from your region to the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. We ask that all systems send a delegate to represent your system and your voice. Your vote helps all water systems in New Mexico and your continuous support of all rural water systems! 

The Board of Directors and Executive Committee members elected are:

Board of Directors 

Don Archuleta, Blanco MDWCA

Silviano Atencio, Tierra Amarilla MDWCA

Richard Chavez, Puerto de Luna

Larry Cowan, San Antonino MDWCA

Patricio Garcia, Agua Sana WUA

Jubal Hall, Village of Cloudcroft

Jennifer Horton, Dona Ana MDWCA

John L. Jones, Forest Park Property Owners Coop

David Kenneke, Philmont Scout Ranch

Aaron Lee, Lee Acres Water Users Association 

W. Keith Lee, Lower Valley WUA

Debbie Leschner, Quemado Lake Water Association

Orlando Lopez, Manzano MDWCA

Sherman Martin, Village of Hope

Cheri Moore, La Luz MDWCA & MSWA

Tom Phillips, Leasburg MDWCA

Leona Powell, Village of Grady

Richard Rumpf, Village of Magdalena 

Rudy Sales, Village of Hope

Gavin Strathdee, Madrid Water Coop

Jose Terrones, Anthony W&SD

Daniel Tso, Flora Vista MDWCA

Eulalio Vallejos, Aragon MDWCA

Mike Vigil, Miami Mutual Domestic Water Users Association

Executive Committee

Jose Terrones, President

Jennifer Horton, Vice President

John Jones, National Director/Legislative Chair

Leona Powell, Director

Aaron Lee, Director
Gavin Strathdee, Director

Dave Kenneke, Past President

Jim Dunlap, Director Emeritus

The conference also hosted the NMRWA & Bohannan Huston, Inc. Water Taste Test. Systems from all over New Mexico had the chance to compete for the title of Best Tasting Water in New Mexico. The winning system this year was the Town of Estancia who will represent New Mexico’s rural water systems in Washington, DC at the annual Rural Water Rally in 2020.Winners receive airfare and hotel accommodations courtesy of Bohannan-Huston, Inc., to travel to Washington DC and participate in the National Rural Water Association’s Great American Water Taste Test. Winners will also be able to meet with New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation and have the opportunity to tour our nations beautiful capital! 

New Mexico Rural Water Association recognizes the outstanding services and commitment of the men and women involved in operating, managing, directing, and supporting New Mexico’s water and wastewater utilities through our Annual Awards Ceremony. Each year NMRWA solicits nominations from its membership for anyone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty this year so that their service may be recognized. The award recipients recognized during the awards ceremony during NMRWA’s 41st annual conference are:

Small System of the Year – Trampas MDWCA

Medium System of the Year – Upper La Plata Water

Large System of the Year – Raton Water Works

Tribal System of the Year – Zia Community Water System 

Wastewater System of the Year – Santa Ana MBR Wastewater Facility

Small Water System Operator – Gavin Strathdee, Lamy MDWA

Medium Water Operator of the Year – Nicolas Cardenas, Philmont Scout Ranch 

Large System Co-Water Operators of the Year – Dwight James, System Manager, and Larry Kennedy, Field Operator, Upper La Plata Water 

Wastewater Operator of the Year – Steve Sanchez, Utility Operator, Santa Ana Pueblo

Small Tribal Operator of the Year –Dennis Wing, Santa Ana Pueblo

Medium Tribal Operator of the Year – Leland Gachupin, Utilities Operator Level 2, Zia Community Water System 

Office Manager of the Year – Carol Garcia, La Luz MDWCA & MSWA

Director (Board Member) of the Year – Cheri Moore, President, La Luz MDWCA & MSWA

Instructor of the Year – Heather Jennings, Senior Project Engineer, Bio Huma Netics, Inc./Probiotics Solutions

John Paden Award for Outstanding Service – Dr. Russell Isaac, P.E., NMED Ground Water Quality Program 

Associate Member of the Year – Preston Patterson, Integration & Controls Solutions

Excellence in Environmental Achievement of the Year – The City of Raton/Raton Water Works

Legislator of the Year – Susan Herrera

We appreciate all vendors, attendees, volunteers, and staff for making our 41st Annual Conference a success! We look forward to seeing you all again next year for our 42nd Annual Conference in 2020. Be sure to keep an eye out for more information on our website, www.nmrwa.org.  

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