TRIBUTE TO RONALD A. HELLBUSCH -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 21, 2004)
HON. MARK UDALL
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2004
Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Ronald A. Hellbusch, Director of Public Works and Utilities for the City of Westminster, Colorado. Ron is retiring after 32 years with the City. Combined with the 16 years as the City Manager of Brighton, Colorado, Ron has provided 48 years of dedicated service to these northern Denver communities.
Ron began his career at the City of Westminster as a seasonal laborer in the street, water, sewer and park divisions while finishing high school and college. In 1960, he was appointed as the assistant city manager for the City of Westminster and was instrumental in developing the city's surface water supply system from its previous groundwater system when he was appointed water development coordinator by the City Council in 1963. Hellbusch left the City of Westminster in 1966 to serve as city manager for the City of Brighton, Colorado, where he served for 16 years.
He resumed his career with the City of Westminster in 1984 as the Director of Public Works and Utilities, directing the water distribution and wastewater collection systems, water and wastewater treatment, water supply acquisition, long range water supply planning and development, street operations and maintenance, street replacement and rehabilitation, and concrete replacement. The Department of Public Works and Utilities has 128 authorized employees, has an annual operating budget of more than $24 million, and a capital improvement project budget of approximately $7 million annually.
In 1996, Ron was selected as one of the American Public Works Association's 1996 Top Ten Public Works Leaders for his outstanding contributions to the public works profession. Ron also received the William E. Korbitz Award presented by the Colorado Chapter of the American Public Works Association at the 14th Annual Awards Luncheon in January 2000. He represented the city on various city and community groups including the Woman Creek Reservoir Authority Board, American Public Works Association Colorado Chapter and National Committees including the Leadership and Management Technical Committee, State Water Supply Initiative (SWSI) Roundtable Board Member, and the Colorado Water Congress serving as its president in 2003.
In the community, Ron has served the Westminster Presbyterian Church as a ruling elder and as the chairman of the Church's corporate affairs committee. Also, Ron chaired the stewardship committee over a four-year period and was a Sunday school teacher. In addition to the Westminster church activities, Ron was active during his years in Brighton, Colorado, both in the Presbyterian Church and community.
Ron's accomplishments with his Public Works and Utilities team include acquiring and developing a long-term, build-out water supply; the reclaimed water program; the completion of the Standley Lake dam renovation in collaboration with the cities of Northglenn and Thornton; employee driven quality service/competitive service program; the long-term street improvement strategy plan; utility planning and funding; developing a highly motivated and skilled employee team; encouraging innovation in membrane water treatment; use of technology in utility planning; a department-wide maintenancemanagement program; numerous intergovernmental and regional cooperative agreements on water and public works programs; outsourcing programs such as street sweeping an annual trash pickup; and employee success in numerous national awards for programs and facilities, including recognition by the American Public Works Association, American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation and the Denver Regional Council of Governments.
Ron has also been involved in the cleanup and closure of the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility just west of Westminster. For the past couple of years he has represented the City on a number of issues associated with the cleanup of this site, protecting surrounding drinking water supplies, ensuring worker safety, and with the site's future use. He was an early and strong supporter of preserving the acres of open space and ,vildlife habitat that exist on this site. He was instrumental in helping win the support of the neighboring communities for the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act so that this site could become an asset not only to the citizens of Westminster, but all of the surrounding communities.
Ron is an example of the important role that our local officials play in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life for our Nation's citizens. His dedication to his community and collaboration with neighboring communities stands as a shining example of the rewards that come from such service-not only to the community leader, but the lives touched by that service.
As Westminster City Manager Brent McFall stated, "Ron Hellbusch has had a distinguished career with the City of Westminster and in the field of public works and utilities. He is nationally recognized as a leader in public works and as a water and wastewater provider. His shoes will be very hard to fill. We appreciate Ron's efforts over all these years on behalf of Westminster. He will be missed."
I join Manager McFall in those comments. In Ron's retirement letter to City Manager Brent McFall, he indicates that "there are streams and lakes not fished, outdoors to explore, stories to write, vistas to photograph, music to enjoy, books not read and tennis games to play..... it is time to retire." That may be true and I am envious of the opportunity he now has to enjoy those activities. But we cannot forget that Ron helped enhance the lives of people who live, work and raise a family right there in Westminster and Brighton.
I wish Ron well in his retirement and know that he will stay engaged in community affairs no matter where his retirement may take him.