Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

RPU substation project receives engineering excellence award

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU), along with Ulteig Engineers, received a 2018 Engineering Excellence Award for its work on the Douglas Trail Substation. The award was presented at an award ceremony hosted by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota (ACEC).

The Douglas Trail Substation project exemplified the importance of strong working partnerships and community involvement. RPU was approached by Epic Systems Corporation for increased electric system strength and reliability at their future data center in northwest Rochester. The best answer to their needs was to build a large substation with an aggressive construction schedule. In order to meet the needs of Epic, RPU partnered with Ulteig Engineers for the project.  This is the second RPU/Ulteig project receiving an Engineering Excellence Award from ACEC, with the first award received in 2016 for another substation project.

”RPU has a long and successful history with Ulteig Engineers spanning more than 35 years.  We feel Ulteig continually meets and exceeds our expectations and this project was no different. They created plans that were sensitive to the neighboring Minnesota DNR Douglas State Trail to avoid disturbances, fitting a substation on a small triangle of land, all while managing our customer’s design objectives and following a tight timeline.  We are very pleased with the outcome of this project and look forward to our continued relationship with Ulteig,” said Neil Stiller, RPU Senior Electrical Engineer.

The Douglas Trail Substation Project was completed on schedule.

For more information on Rochester Public Utilities visit www.rpu.org.

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers. Water customers number more than 37,000. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.

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Individuals and Organizations to be recognized for Environmental Achievements in the Community

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission announce the recipients of the 2017 Environmental Achievement Awards. The recipients will be recognized at an awards banquet on January 18 at the Rochester Golf and Country Club. The awards honor individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have made a significant contribution in 2017 towards environmental quality in any of the following categories: renewable efforts, conservation, energy, water, agriculture, education, and other.

The 2017 recipients are:

Clifford Hansen

Clifford Hansen is an environmentalist who wears many hats. He has served on the Zumbro Valley Audubon Society Board of Directors since 1996 and has been the secretary since 2000. He has led the annual Christmas Bird Count, gathering data to better understand the relationship between global warming and migratory patterns, since 2001.

In 2010, Clifford began volunteering at Quarry Hill Park. He has helped restore sections of the park to its native flora by removing invasive species and has inspired others to do the same. When he’s not clearing buckthorn and garlic mustard, he shares his knowledge with community members who visit the Quarry Hill Nature Center.

Additionally, Clifford is a citizen forester group leader with RNeighborWoods, an organization that promotes the communal benefits of trees. Clifford has helped plant hundreds of trees throughout Rochester neighborhoods.

Lida Casper

On May 5, 2017, hundreds of students, teachers, and volunteers came together for a garden party at Riverside Central Elementary School. Students and community members were introduced to the benefits of locally grown food and learned how to be responsible environmental caretakers. Lida Casper, the event organizer, collaborated with the following local partners to make the day a success:

  • The Boys & Girls Club of Rochester
  • Olmsted County Public Health
  • University of Minnesota Rochester
  • Redeemer Lutheran Church
  • United Way of Olmsted County
  • Rochester Alternative Learning Center
  • Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

Students helped build the garden boxes, filled them with a mixture of soil and compost, planted vegetable seedlings, learned how to cook using local ingredients, and much more. Produce harvested in the summer was brought to the school’s Community Resource Room to support families in need.

Hy-Vee Rochester Stores

By integrating an environmental ethic into their operations, Hy-Vee is demonstrating what’s good for the environment can also be good for business. Company-wide, Hy-Vee sells responsibly sourced seafood, participates in the “Misfits” program—an initiative to combat food waste by selling discounted produce that doesn’t meet traditional cosmetic standards—and recycles millions of pounds of cardboard, plastic, and paper every year.

In addition to these policies, each of the four Rochester stores has partnered with Community Food Response (CFR) and the Channel One Regional Food Bank to divert food waste. Last year, the stores collectively donated over 164 tons of food (22 tons to CFR and 142 tons to Channel One).

Zoey Jantsan

In 2017, Zoey Jantsan was crowned Miss Minnesota U.S. International. She ran on a platform of environmental conservation and has used her time in the spotlight to share her passion. Her top five memories of this past year include:

  • Delivering a keynote speech at the second annual Trashion Show—an “upcycling” fashion show that raised money for the Minnesota Audubon Society
  • Designing and modeling a wardrobe for Studs, Struts, and Stilettos—another “upcycling” fashion show that raised money for Habitat for Humanity
  • Emceeing at the third annual Earthfest Expo
  • Volunteering throughout the year at the Rochester Public Library by reading to children
  • Delivering a petition to City Hall with members of the Sierra Club, promoting sustainability in the construction of government-funded buildings

John and Patty Trnka

John and Patty Trnka have dedicated countless hours to controlling invasive species within Olmsted County Parks. Each week from March through December, the Trnkas make rounds through Chester Woods and Root River Parks. They identify areas infested with invasive species, develop an eradication plan, and train other volunteers in the eradication process.

In the fall, John and Patty lead volunteers in collecting seeds from native grasses. These seeds are stored and later planted in areas that have been cleared of invasive species. The Trnkas also assist with record keeping at Root River Park.

Max Campeau – Water | Educators, Students, & Partnerships

Inspiring teenagers to pick up garbage on a Saturday afternoon isn’t easy. But that’s exactly what Max Campeau did last April when he organized a clean-up event along the banks of the Zumbro River near Pine Island High School. Approximately 25 students picked up litter along a two-mile stretch of river, starting at the high school and ending at the outdoor classroom, where volunteers planted new habitat in the butterfly garden. The group also planted 50 tree seedlings that had been donated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The litter collected at the event filled over 30 garbage bags.

Becca Jacobson and Annette Homburger – Stewards of Hope

Becca Jacobson and Annette Homburger started Stewards of Hope as a partnership between the Manor View Drive Neighborhood and the People of Hope Church. Together, they coordinated efforts to establish a nature trail within a 20-acre wooded area near the church.

From May to August, Becca, Annette and over 100 volunteers representing numerous non-profit organizations, cleared brush, removed invasive plants, and seeded native grasses.  Money from the Izaak Walton League of America was used to build trail signs and an informational kiosk at the trailhead. Funds from the Minnesota Master Naturalists were used for supplies to help remove buckthorn.

The trail crosses bluff grassland, oak savanna, and mixed hardwood forest habitats with views overlooking Cascade Creek. According to Annette and Becca, “It provides a green haven for physical recreation, environmental awareness, and the peace of mind that comes from being surrounded by nature.”

For more information on energy and water conservation or the Environmental Achievement Awards visit www.rpu.org.

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers. Water customers number more than 37,000. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.

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Call for Nominations: 2017 Environmental Achievement Awards

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission are calling for nominations for the 2017 Environmental Achievement Awards. The awards honor individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have made a significant environmental contribution over the past year in Rochester or Olmsted County.

Award categories include: climate change, education, renewables, sustainable food production, conservation, energy, water, and other.

Since 1992, the awards have recognized the positive environmental impact of over 100 Olmsted County and Rochester community members and groups.

To submit a nomination or to see a list of past recipients, go to www.rpu.org. Completed nominations are due by Friday, October 6, 2017 to Anthony Wittmer (wittmer.anthony@co.olmsted.mn.us).

 

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 37,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include photovoltaic offerings, wind energy, energy and water efficient equipment, and electric vehicle charging.

 

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Nominate Your Environmental Hero!!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission are calling for nominations for the 2016 Environmental Achievement Awards. The awards honor individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have made a significant environmental contribution over the past year in Rochester or Olmsted County.

Award categories include: climate change, education, renewables, sustainable food production, conservation, energy, water, and other.

Since 1992, the awards have recognized the positive environmental impact of over 100 Olmsted County and Rochester community members and groups.

To submit a nomination or to see a list of past recipients, go to www.rpu.org. Completed nominations are due by Friday, October 21, 2016 to Brittney Marschall (marschall.brittney@co.olmsted.mn.us).

 

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 37,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include photovoltaic offerings, wind energy, energy and water efficient equipment, and electric vehicle charging.

 

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Rochester Public Utilities Receives National Recognition for Reliable Electric Operations

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) has earned a Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3®)[1] designation from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service. Brent McKinney, Director of Electric Transmission and Distribution at City Utilities of Springfield, Mo., and chair of APPA’s RP3 Review Panel, presented the designees on April 4 during the association’s annual Engineering & Operations Technical Conference held in Minneapolis, Minn.

RPU earned the Diamond level designation, which is the highest level and requires 100 percent scoring in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement. Criteria within each category are based on sound business practices and represent a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. The RP3 designation now lasts for three years. RPU is one of 29 utilities that earned the designation this year. In total, 219 of the more than 2,000 public power utilities nation-wide hold the RP3 designation. Previously, RPU has received Diamond level designation three times and Platinum designation once.

“RP3 utilities stand out as industry leaders, who dedicate themselves to providing safe and reliable electricity to their customers,” said McKinney. “These designees demonstrate public power’s commitment to constantly improving best practices and raising the bar for other service providers.”

“We’re honored to receive the RP3 designation,” said RPU general manager Mark Kotschevar. “It’s a tribute to our utility staff that put in a lot of hard work to serve the Rochester community. RP3 represents a much appreciated recognition of this hard work.”

This is the eleventh year that RP3 recognition has been offered. APPA is the national organization representing more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community- and state-owned electric utilities. It is located in Arlington, VA.

 

[1] RP3® is a registered service mark of APPA.