A Weedsport native has been elected president of the board of directors of the National Rural Water Association.
John D. O'Connell III was elected by the board at its Sept. 27 meeting, the association said in a news release last week.
The following day, a reception was held for O'Connell at the association's WaterPro Conference with representatives from all 50 states, as well as friends and family. The ceremonial passing of the gavel took place Sept. 29 in National Harbor, Maryland, with outgoing President David Baird, of Delaware. O'Connell will serve through September 2024.
O'Connell began has career in 1976 on his family farm in Weedsport. It started with 50 acres and has since grown into a 1,000-acre corn and soybean farm managed by O'Connell and his brother.
In 1988, O'Connell applied to become water and wastewater operator for the village of Weedsport. He rose through the ranks, becoming superintendent of public works the following year.
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He joined the board of the New York Rural Water Association in 1998, and since then has served as a director, secretary/treasurer, vice president and president. Through that board he also began serving on the board of the national association, with which he has served as director, treasurer, vice president, senior vice president and now president.
O'Connell has also developed relationships with water professionals through his role with Koester Associates, of Canastota. He started as the company's parts/service and retro fit manager in 2001, and remains a representative. In 2003, he began a career as water operator for the town of Throop when he was recruited to improve its small water system, and he remains in that position as well.
For more information, visit nrwa.org.