As part of National Public Works Week during May 20-26, the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government recognized Terry Gantt of the Central Services Department's Landscape Management Division as the 2018 Public Works Employee of the Year. Gantt is a Crew Leader who works on rights-of-way clean up.
Five Unified Government departments – Central Services, Public Utilities, Solid Waste, Transit, and Transportation and Public Works – are recognized annually during National Public Works Week for their service to the community.
For 2018, three finalists were considered as the Public Works Employee of the Year. The Manager’s Office selected an employee from the finalists who best demonstrated a positive attitude, exceptional performance and productivity, teamwork, and a high quality of work over the last year. Manager Blaine Williams presented the finalists and the Employee of the Year with their recognition during a luncheon at the Transportation & Public Works’ Streets and Drainage Division facilities on Wednesday, May 23.
"What our public works employees do is fundamental for our residents to be able to live and enjoy their lives," says Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams. "There are few professions that are so critical to people's everyday lives. Our public works employees don't just provide these vital services, but they do so at great value to our residents. They also go above and beyond during crisis situations such as we experienced during and after Tropical Storm Irma."
"Terry Gantt is a stellar example of an employee who takes ownership in his work and has great pride in what he does every time he is out in the community," says Williams. "He doesn't seek recognition and is quick to give credit to his crew, but I'm proud to honor him with this award for what he does to better this community for everyone. He and all of our public works employees reflect extremely well on the rest of the 1600 employees of the Unified Government."
Gantt has worked with the Athens-Clarke County Landscape Management Division for 24 years. He has an excellent safety record and approaches all jobs with a safety-first attitude, making sure that everyone, whether on his crew or not, are using appropriate personal protection equipment and working in a safe manner.
In addition to his regular mowing and maintenance work this past year, Gantt demonstrated his abilities to go above and beyond while taking ownership of projects and having a desire to finish all the projects that he started. He was a major contributor in clearing vegetation from over 20 bridge abutments, assisting with numerous other events that arose throughout the year, and working on several special projects.
Each year, Gantt volunteers his crew to take the lead role in drilling holes in preparation for the large daffodil plantings on Loop 10 and takes great pride in completing the job after volunteers have done their part with the plantings. This year, he served as one of the leads for the crews installing the Danielsville Road beautification enhancement project. Crews prepared the planting site, installed 907 various trees and plants, and mulched and cleared the installation site in four days.
Gantt can also always be counted on to volunteer to clean up a fallen tree, regardless if it is only minutes before the end of his shift. During joint clean-up efforts after Tropical Storm Irma last fall, he demonstrated strong leadership abilities and time management skills. He kept his crew moving in an organized and timely manner, which enabled him to assist other crews throughout the entire cleanup process.
Gantt always goes above and beyond to keep his customers happy. He takes pride in the appearance of Athens-Clarke County, not only within his route, but throughout the community. He is extremely conscious of litter problems and goes to great lengths to maintain the volume of litter build up within his route. If he notices an area in need of attention that is outside his route, he will stop and clean it or contact his supervisor or the crew leader directly to maintain a clean appearance within rights-of-way.
Despite all of the work, Gantt always finds a way to not only motivate and encourage his crew to stay on his route's cyclical schedule, but also build a rapport with residents in his areas.
"Terry's uncanny ability to make everyone around him feel comfortable, heard, and respected is one of his great qualities," says Landscape Supervisor Wayne Mead, who nominated Gantt for the award. "He routinely gets praise from the residents within his work areas. Not only do they appreciate his effort, they also notice his attention to detail and knowledge of their personal concerns. Because he is so personable and willing to listen and work with their concerns, the majority of them know him by name."
The other finalists for the Public Works Employee of the Year Award honored at the luncheon were:
- Joseph Smith, a Vehicle Operator with the Transit Department; and
- Cecile Riker, a Stormwater Education Specialist with the Transportation and Public Works Department.
The luncheon for Public Works Week was designed as a nearly zero waste event in conjunction with the ACC Solid Waste Department. Approximately 500 public works employees produced only 14 pounds of ‘trash.' The ACC Recycling Division diverted 28.6 pounds of organic material for composting, 30.8 pounds of materials and several hundred chip bags for recycling, and 3.4 pounds of stretch wrap film plastic. A total of 62.8 pounds of waste from the luncheon was diverted from the landfill for an 82% waste diversion rate.
National Public Works Week began in 1960 as part of an initiative by the American Public Works Association to highlight the importance of public works within community life. The theme of National Public Works Week for 2018 is "The Power of Public Works."