Nilaksh Kothari, general manager of public utilities for Manitowoc, Wis., has assumed the presidency of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) at a Gavel Passing Ceremony during AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE07).
“It is a great honor to lead the world’s largest and best organization dedicated to public health through the provision of safe water,” said Kothari, who has served for many years as a leader in the Wisconsin Section of AWWA and as an AWWA vice president. “This is a privilege and an immense responsibility, and I promise to serve with the same enthusiasm, passion and commitment that define our profession.”
During Kothari’s career as a water professional, he has been honored with the AWWA George Warren Fuller Award (2002), the Wisconsin Section Research Award (1997), and the Achievement Award in (1996). He also has served as chair of the Diversity & Member Involvement Committee and on the Strategic Planning, Education, Water for People, and Small System and Membrane Process committees.
Kothari succeeds Terry Rolan, director of the City of Durham, N.C., Department of Water Management, as AWWA president. The new president-elect is Mike Leonard, water operations manager for the City of Roswell, Ga.
In accepting the gavel, Kothari told a standing-room-only crowd that he would focus on listening to members, strengthening Section-Association cooperation, encouraging the use of the best available technologies, identifying and engaging strategic partners and continuing succession planning. Among the other speakers were Kothari’s son, Anai, a student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Mayor Kevin Crawford of Manitowoc.
“It is more important now than ever to plan for the future,” Kothari said. “As we face the challenges of the 21st century – aging water infrastructure; increasing pressure on our water resources; stringent water quality standards; climate change questions; a changing workforce; and growing customer expectations-- we need to keep one eye on the present and the other eye on the needs of future generations.”