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Clayton County Water Authority honored by industry

CCWA receives GAWP’s Distribution System of the Year Award for Large Systems. From left, GAWP President Judy Jones, CCWA Distribution and Conveyance Manager Bernard Franks, crew leader Scott Cantrell and Distribution Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Jones. (Special Photo)

CCWA receives GAWP’s Distribution System of the Year Award for Large Systems. From left, GAWP President Judy Jones, CCWA Distribution and Conveyance Manager Bernard Franks, crew leader Scott Cantrell and Distribution Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Jones. (Special Photo)

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CCWA receives GAWP’s Collection System Gold Award. From left, GAWP President Judy Jones, CCWA Distribution and Conveyance Manager Bernard Franks, Compliance specialist Charles Ecton, Special Projects coordinator Danny Haynes and GAWP Collection System Committee Chair Robert Boccaro. 
(Special Photo)

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CCWA Credit and Collections specialist Carolyn Smith, at right, receives GAWP’s Outstanding Customer Service Award from GAWP President Judy Jones.

MORROW — Clayton County Water Authority earned top honors during an annual Georgia Association of Water Professionals Fall Conference, said a spokeswoman.

Suzanne Brown said the authority was recognized with three awards — 2013 Distribution System of the Year Award for Large Systems, 2013 Collection System Gold Award and 2013 Outstanding Customer Service Award.

Authority officials picked up the awards during the Nov. 12-13 conference in Atlanta. Authority General Manager P. Michael Thomas called the awards a “huge honor.”

“These awards are a huge honor for our employees and our company as a whole,” said Thomas. “They are proof that when it comes to providing outstanding services, Clayton County is a leader in the industry.

It is the third time in eight years the Authority’s Distribution and Conveyance staff has taken back honors in the distribution category. The unit took the awards in 2005 and 2007, said Brown.

The collection system has also been recognized in the past for quality of service. Brown said utilities must earn a quantitative inspection score of 95 or higher to earn a Collection System Gold Award. CCWA scored 98.4. This was the third consecutive year it earned the Collection System Gold Award, she said.

Prior to the creation of GAWP’s Gold Award, CCWA’s Wastewater Collection System was named Collection System of the Year for Large Systems in 2005, 2007 and 2010.

Employees who deal directly with the public were also recognized for outstanding customer service, but this year wasn’t their first time, either. The Authority received the award three times of the six it has been handed out, said Brown.

CCWA’s Credit and Collections specialist Carolyn Smith earned the 2013 award for demonstrating excellence in customer service and developing processes for CCWA that have resulted in operational efficiencies.

“Smith is an energetic employee who consistently demonstrates patience, professionalism and commitment to CCWA and has for 27 years,” said Brown. “Along with dealing daily with slow pay or no pay customers, she processes returned check payments and lien requests, sends out tag notifications to high profile accounts and generates certified letters for delinquent customers. Through it all, she maintains her professional demeanor and treats each customer with dignity and respect.”

Smith also worked with CCWA’s IT team to develop reports that identify final billed accounts with outstanding balances before they are sent to a collection agency so that she could try to recoup the balances without having to pay a percentage of the funds to an agency.

CCWA Board of Directors Chair Marie Barber said these awards reflect the caliber of employees that work at the Authority and set Clayton County apart from other utilities in Georgia.

“As a board, we could not be more proud of our employees and their accomplishments,” said Barber. “It is our job to make sure they have the tools they need to be successful in their jobs, but it is our employees and the extra effort they put into their jobs every day that make CCWA a leader in the water industry.”