Awards & Accomplishments

GUC Recognized as a Smart Energy Provider

Greenville Utilities Commission once again earned a Smart Energy Provider (SEP) designation from the American Public Power Association (APPA). The recognition is given for demonstrating a commitment to and proficiency in energy efficiency, distributed generation, and environmental initiatives that support the goal of providing safe, reliable, low-cost, and sustainable electric service.  

The SEP designation, which lasts for two years (December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2024), recognizes public power utilities for demonstrating leading practices in four key disciplines: smart energy program structure; energy efficiency and distributed energy programs; environmental and sustainability initiatives; and customer experience.  

“SEP-designated utilities have demonstrated their leadership in smart energy programs and services,” said Koral Miller, chair of APPA’s Energy Innovation Committee. “This designation celebrates utilities that are committed to serving their customers while taking the extra step to plan for the future. Communities served by utilities that have earned the SEP designation should be proud of their utility’s accomplishments.” 

GUC was recognized for programs like Beat the Peak, EV (electric vehicle) charging station rebates, solar net metering, the battery storage project, streetlight replacement, E300 building standards, and the Energy Services Office.  Find out more

State Awards Presented to Three Water Treatment Employees 

Water Treatment Plant employees Kendra Nettles, Chad Flannagan, and Ryan Gregory.

Three of GUC’s Water Treatment Plant (WTP) employees were recognized with three prestigious awards from the NC Waterworks Operators Association (NCWOA). The NCWOA has been the premier trainer of waterworks professionals in North Carolina since 1939.  

Ryan Gregory, WTP Operations Coordinator, was presented the 2022 Outstanding Operator of the Year Award. This is the most prestigious award given by the Association each year. This award recognizes individuals for outstanding performance, professionalism, and contributions to the water treatment profession. Selection criteria include professional growth and continuing education, new ideas or improvements developed for an existing facility, and the ability to serve the best interest of the community.  

Ryan has been with GUC for nine years, serving as Operator and Lead Operator before his promotion earlier this year to Operations Coordinator. Ryan helps manage and coordinate the day-to-day operations of the Plant and ensure that operations meet local, state, and federal requirements. He supervises the team of Operators who monitor, test, and regulate the treatment process.   

“Under Ryan's leadership, our Plant has earned eight industry awards,” said WTP Superintendent Julius Patrick. “Ryan takes advantage of every opportunity he can to increase his knowledge and willingly share it with his staff and peers, also making sure his staff is always aware of training opportunities. Most recently, Ryan was instrumental in optimizing the Plant's ozone process, saving thousands of dollars annually on liquid oxygen costs.”  

Ryan was also noted for promoting community and water industry service by volunteering at career fairs and conducting tours for local schools, colleges, and civic groups. At the start of the COVID pandemic, Ryan played an important role in creating a virtual tour for the public at the request of our local schools.   

Kendra Nettles, WTP Laboratory Technician II, was presented the 2022 NCWOA Laboratory Analyst of the Year Award in appreciation of her outstanding work as a laboratory analyst for GUC and her service to NCWOA. This award recognizes one person who has demonstrated outstanding ability in the field of drinking water analysis, and who has made exceptional achievements and contributions to the field of drinking water analysis and/or drinking water treatment.  

Kendra has been with GUC for 14 years. As a Laboratory Technician, she helps to ensure safe drinking water from the Plant all the way to the tap.   

“Kendra has played a part in many special projects at the Plant and has contributed to building out the laboratory analysis capabilities, most recently assisting with the development of new bacteriological methods” said Chad Flannagan, WTP Chemist/Lab Manager. “She also regularly assists with trouble calls from customers and volunteers for community events, career fairs, and her church.”  

WTP Chemist/Lab Manager Chad Flannagan received the 2022 Educator of the Year Award. Each year, the Association recognizes one person who has demonstrated outstanding devotion, service, and dedication to the Association and waterworks profession in education.  

Chad has been with GUC for 10 years, serving as WTP Operator and Lead Operator before his promotion to his current role. He has been actively involved in NCWOA since 2015 and is currently the Association’s 2nd Vice President and serves on several committees.   

“Chad is an asset to NCWOA education, teaching a variety of operator math and fluoride classes,” said Julius. “He breaks down math in a way that's easy for operators to retain. I’ve been told by multiple students that Chad is a great instructor. Chad even built a model of the water treatment process that's currently being used for class tours at the Plant as well as out in the community.”  

Water Resources Compete in Backhoe Rodeo

Greenville Utilities Water Resources Equipment Operators Michael Silverthorne, Bennie Pittman, Jason Owen and Chaz Hathaway recently competed in the Eastern Water and Wastewater Network Backhoe Rodeo at the Bell Arthur Water Corporation Operations Center. Silverthorne placed first in the Ball & Cone and Pipe & Walk events. 

This annual event gives equipment operators from Eastern North Carolina the opportunity to display their talents in operating a variety of excavating equipment like rubber tire backhoes and small trackhoes. It also allows operators to test their ability in performing tasks safely and quickly. 

ElectriCities Awards of Excellence

General Manager/CEO Tony Cannon with
ElectriCities CEO Roy Jones

GUC received five Awards of Excellence from ElectriCities of North Carolina in the following categories:


Grid Modernization - promote investment in public power communities’ electric distribution systems and in technology to ensure safety and reliability, and exceed customer expectations; 

Value of Public Power - communicate the value of electric system ownership to key stakeholders; 

Wholesale Power Cost - provide competitive and stable wholesale electric rates that meet the power supply need of Power Agency Members; 

Workforce Planning and Development - promote a workforce plan to attract, develop, and retain the necessary talent to provide safe, reliable power and lead public power forward; and 

Continuous Improvement - constantly review and enhance all aspects of public power, focus on cost reduction, and increase efficiencies in current and future operations. 


ElectriCities is an organization that represents cities, towns, and universities that own their electric distribution systems. Greenville Utilities is a member of ElectriCities, along with more than 90 other members in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.  This is the seventeenth year in a row that GUC has won Awards of Excellence from Electricities. 


Water Plant Receives Prestigious State Award 

Water Treatment Plant Staff

For the seventh year in a row, our Water Treatment Plant has received the prestigious North Carolina Area Wide Optimization Award. Of the 149 water treatment plants in the state, the NC Division of Water Resources has included Greenville Utilities among the 66 honored for surpassing federal and state drinking water standards in 2021. The award is a state effort to enhance the performance of existing surface water treatment facilities. More details.


APGA Safety Award

Gas Distribution Engineer
Carl Smith

GUC’s Gas Department was one of 31 gas systems from across the country recently awarded the American Public Gas Association (APGA) Safety Award for an outstanding safety record in 2021. This marks the 12th year (and 5th consecutive year) that our Gas Department staff has exemplified worker safety at a national level.  Safety award winners are determined by their overall incident (lost work time) rates in a calendar year.


Finance Department Earns State and National Awards

The Government Finance Officers' Association (GFOA) presented GUC with three awards related to how it communicates financial information.


GUC received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for Fiscal Year 2021-22. This marks the sixth consecutive year GUC has earned this recognition. The purpose of this program is to encourage and assist governments in preparing budgets of the highest quality for the benefit of its citizens and stakeholders with a vital interest in the budget process. To win the award, our budget document met program criteria and excelled as the policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communication tool. GUC was one of 36 organizations in North Carolina to be recognized for this achievement.  


At the end of a fiscal year, organizations prepare an Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) — a look back at the previous fiscal year. This is the 12th year GUC has earned a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for the ACFR. This award recognizes entities for going beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare financial reports that show transparency and full disclosure.  


The Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) is a document designed to make an organization's ACFR easier to understand by those who do not have a finance or accounting background. GUC's PAFR was evaluated in five categories: reader appeal, understandability, distribution methods, creativity, and overall quality and usefulness. This is the sixth year in a row GUC has won the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting for its PAFR. 


For the tenth year in a row, the purchasing section of GUC's Finance Department received the Sustained Professional Purchasing Award (SPPA), presented by the Carolinas Association of Governmental Purchasing (CAGP). GUC is one of 15 member agencies throughout North Carolina and South Carolina to receive this designation for calendar year 2020.  


To earn the award, GUC had to demonstrate its ability to meet the complex criteria and high standards for utilization of technology, minority outreach, staff certification, customer training, vendor training, and the use of recycled products.   

Lineworker Rodeos 

Employees from our Electric Department recently participated in regional and national lineworker rodeos.


Our GUC team competed at the 23rd Annual NCAMES (North Carolina Association of Municipal Electric Systems) Conference and Lineman's Rodeo. Public power teams from around the state competed in events that test their knowledge and ability to perform tasks safely and quickly. 


Rodeos involve events for Apprentices (less than four years of experience) and Journeymen (more than four years). GUC's Journeyman team included Underground Lineworkers Steven Briley, Lin Bunting, and Brian Baker, as well as Overhead Lineworker David Guy. Competing in the Apprentice division were Overhead Lineworkers Oscar Meeks, CJ Forrest, Cole Hartley, Bobby Lewis, and Tucker Foell along with Underground Lineworker Stanley Roberson. Overhead Crew Leader II Mike Ashley was the Journeyman team coach, while Underground Maintenance Crew Leader II Mike McGowan served as the Apprentice team coach. 


In the Apprentice competitions, Oscar brought home the Overall Apprentice third place trophy by placing first in the Double Dead-End Change-Out and first in the Hurt Man Rescue. CJ placed fourth in the Fuse Change-Out, and Cole placed fifth in the Hurtman Rescue.  


In the Journeyman Division, David came in first place Overall by placing third in the Arrestor Change-Out, fifth in the Obstacle Course, and first in the Cutout Change-Out. Steven placed second in Cutout Change-Out and fifth in Arrestor Change-Out. Lin placed third Overall and third in the Cutout Change-Out. 


APPA Rodeo 

Employees from the Electric Department represented Greenville Utilities at the APPA Lineworker's Rodeo in Austin, Texas, March 25-26. Public power teams from around the country competed in a series of competitive events demonstrating the safe work practices that lineworkers use in their jobs every day. 

David, Steven, Brian, and Lin competed on the GUC Journeyman team while Bobby, Cole, and Overhead Lineworker Jeffrey Rouse competed as Apprentices. The Apprentice group took a written test before both groups headed to the competition field, where all the events involved installations and other tasks on a 40-foot utility pole. 

Our Journeyman team placed 16th Overall out of 55 teams from across the U.S. 

Water Environment Federation Challenge

The Water Resources Smooth Operators

Our Water Resources “Smooth Operators” competed at the Water Environment Federation (WEF) sanctioned Operations Challenge competition. This event is designed to test the diverse skills required for the operation and maintenance of wastewater facilities, collection systems, and laboratories. WWTP (Wastewater Treatment Plant) Operators Bryon Orr, Julius Phillips, Kyle Meeks, Charlie Buck, and Steve Hedgepeth competed at the “Carolina Nationals Brawl at the Beach 7” in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The events included Collections (aka pipe tapping), Lab, Safety, Pump Maintenance, and Process Control. Our team came in 1st in Pump Maintenance, 2nd in the Collections event, and 4th Overall.


NCWOA Awards

Several of GUC’s Water Resources employees were recognized by the NC Waterworks Operators Association (NCWOA). 

Cheryl Irwin, Water Treatment Plant Laboratory Technician II, was presented the 2021 NCWOA Laboratory Analyst of the Year Award in appreciation of her outstanding work as a laboratory analyst for GUC and service to NCWOA.  

WTP Operator III Sharon Daughtridge, WTP Maintenance Mechanic III Don Sullivan,  Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator III Julius Phillips, and Environmental Control Officer Deanna Castellow became NCWOA life members.

The NCWOA has been the premier trainer of waterworks professionals in North Carolina since 1939. Their volunteers are industry leaders who provide certification schools and continuing education opportunities.