City of Asheville employees recognized for outstanding performance

From building code inspection to walkability. From to the RADTIP to emergency response, City of Asheville employees were recognized for excellence in service at Asheville City Council’s January 14 meeting.

City Manger Gary Jackson did the honors, thanking those who have exemplified professionalism, innovation and public service. But he began by highlighting two events that took place in January and required emergency response by several City of Asheville departments.

The first was the nearly 24-hour standoff on Max Street from Jan. 2-Jan 3 in which Asheville Police officers, assisted by the Buncombe County Sheriff’s office and the Henderson County Sherriff’s Office, resolved the situation peacefully and without injury to officers, the suspect or the public.

“The professionalism and ability displayed by these officers and our police department is commendable, and the community is safer because of their presence,” Jackson said.

Next, Jackson highlighted the Jan. 10 gas main explosion on Sand Hill Road in which the Asheville Fire Department responded to provide mutual assistance and the Asheville Police Department called in resources. After the fire was extinguished, the city’s Public Works Department and Water Resources Department worked overnight to restore and patch the roadway in order to have Sand Hill open by Sunday evening.

“I commend all of these departments, the Fire Department, the Water Department, Public Works and the Police Department who all responded and worked through the weekend to make that happen,” Jackson said.

There were more thanks and recognitions to go around, often for City of Asheville employees, teams and partnerships that worked behind the scenes to achieve goals important to the community or earn accolades for outstanding achievement.

Women’s Pipe Tapping Team

• The Water Resources Department Women’s Pipe Tapping Team was recognized for an outstanding women’s pipe tap time during the 93rd Annual North Carolina American Water Works Association Conference. The Women’s Pipe Tapping Team (The Copperheads) put up a time of 2 minutes 40 seconds. The National AWWA winning time for a Women’s team was just a mere 20 seconds off.

The Water Resources Department Women’s Pipe Tapping Team are:

Michelle Smith
Brenna Cook
Virginia Pardo
Myrriah Ringgenberg

Water Distribution Operator of the Year Award
Operators Meritorious Service Award

• In 2013, Timothy Burdine Jr. , an 11-year employee of the City’s Water Services Department, was awarded both the Water Distribution Operator of the Year Award from the North Carolina American Water Works Association and the North Carolina Water Environment Association’s Operators Meritorious Service Award.

Tim was recognized for these awards due to his recent work in implementing new advanced practices in leak detection and valve maintenance for the Water Maintenance Division. In addition, Tim’s has gone above and beyond to understand customer needs and assist however possible.

Asheville Silver Walk Friendly Community

• Asheville was recently named a Silver-level Walk Friendly Community by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center in Chapel Hill. Asheville is one of 44 Walk Friendly Communities in the nation, and the fourth city to be so designated in NC and the first in the state to achieve silver status.

Areas and activities that were noted as particularly impressive are the Asheville Police Department focus on targeted crash reduction, Asheville’s high-quality sidewalk design standards and ordinances that promote dense, mixed-use development, and the city’s avenues for gathering input and collaborating with residents, specifically the Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force and Asheville’s neighborhood coordinator.

Employees recognized were:
Barb Mee
Sgt Scott Pruett
Officer Jon Derrick
Scott Barnwell
Alan Glines

This achievement would not have been possible without the application team of Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force volunteers, and the cooperation of several city staff members who provided information for the application.

ISO Building Code Effectiveness Grading Classification 2

• The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule measures effectiveness of building safety programs. Scores range from 1 to 10 with low scores representing the highest quality (a score of 1 is considered “exemplary”.) An Insurance Services Office audit of the City’s program this summer resulted in scores of 2 for both the residential and commercial building safety programs.

These scores show a dedication to quality, professionalism and customer service on the part of our building safety employees.

ISO ratings also impact insurance scores statewide, and low scores like the one achieved by the City of Asheville result in lower insurance rates across North Carolina.

Employees recognized were:

Mark Case Joe Chennault
Abigail Riley Jay Eichhorn
Susannah Carver Alec Arthur
Alisha Carrol Eric Evans
Heather Rhinehart Steve Bothelo
Jamie Fortner Gary Sanders
Sheila Salyer Garrett Gates
Misty Lipe Jim Hayes
Amy Tesner Anne Graham
Diane Meek Chris Rossi
Kim Levi Jerry Reese
Ron Evans Gary Stamey
Scott Metcalf Mark Matheny

ACEC Excellence in Engineering – RADTIP Design Project

• The American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina (ACEC/NC)Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) is an annual competition that honors and recognizes engineering and surveying firms for projects which demonstrate the highest degree of achievement, value and ingenuity.

On November 7, 2013, the engineering firm of CDM Smith and the City of Asheville received an Honors Award for the preliminary design of the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project, or RADTIP. The RADTIP will upgrade the roadway, add greenways, bicycle lanes, sidewalks and other amenities adjacent to a 2.2-mile section of the French Broad River in the River Arts District.

Employees recognized were:

Dan Baechtold
Stephanie Monson-Dahl
Ken Putnam
Cathy Ball

ACEC Excellence in Engineering – Cherokee Retaining Wall

• Originally built in 1899, Asheville’s historic Cherokee Road retaining wall is an integral gateway component to the Albemarle Park Historic District. Over time the wall suffered damage due to subsurface water, erosion, and increased demands from vehicular traffic. The purpose of the project was to reconstruct the wall to maintain its historic appearance and character, while upgrading the roadway and underground infrastructure, all while encouraging a high level of community involvement. On November 7, 2013, the project won the North Carolina Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies Grand Award for Small Projects for engineering excellence. This project was identified and approved for the FY 2012 Capital Improvement Program by City Council. The Public Works Department’s Streets & Engineering Division staff worked diligently with a local engineering firm Baker Engineering to design, and construct this project. The following City staff each played key roles in making this project happen.

Employees recognized were:
Greg Shuler
John Gavin
Brian Estes
Lee Morrison
Stacy Merten