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Dennis Watts - 2011 Fuller Award


(Submitted by Mari Matulka)

Dennis Watts is a native Nebraskan, as well as a husband, father, and grandfather. He is a certified water and wastewater operator who has chaired several committees for the Nebraska Section, and is a former chair for the section overall.

Dennis loves to ride motorcycles and play basketball, and he is an avid Husker fan. He developed a wellhead protection plan for Norfolk and was instrumental in developing the WARN system. He currently serves as water and sewer director for the City of Norfolk.


Dennis Watts and family

About the Fuller Award

(As delivered by Mari Matulka at the banquet in November 2011)

George Warren Fuller was born in Massachusetts in 1868 and graduated from MIT in 1890 at the age of 22. He worked for the Massachusetts Board of Health, developing methods to treat wastewater. In 1895, he moved to the Louisville Water Company to oversee filtration experiments for the utility.

His work opened a new era of water purification practices, demonstrating the ability of coagulation and rapid sand filtration to handle muddy and highly variable waters, and the importance of coagulation and sedimentation prior to filtration.

In 1899, he established an engineering consulting firm in New York. During his 34 years of practice, he advised more than 150 cities, commissions, and corporations on major water supply and sewer improvements. Those clients included Washington, DC; New Orleans; St. Louis; Kansas City; Indianapolis; Chicago; Minneapolis; Montreal, Quebec; and Shanghai, China. He was a consulting engineer to the US Public Health Service and the construction division of the US Army while serving in World War I.

His work in the water industry focused on the standardization of practices so that results from different laboratories could be compared. His work resulted in an 1897 report that evolved into the Standard Methods text used today. He was a dominant influence in the AWWA, serving as President, and died in 1934 at the age of 66.

The Fuller Award was established in 1937 and is presented every year to one person from each section for their distinguished service in the water-supply field, in commemoration of the sound engineering skill, the brilliant diplomatic talent, and constructive leadership that characterized Fuller's life.

This is the highest award given by the AWWA, and the Nebraska Section has 56 awardees. Tonight, we add #57.