MWA Director of Water Treatment Selected for State Leadership Position
Gary McCoy is the Vice President of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals
(Macon, GA – August 21, 2023) During the Annual Conference & Expo of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) held recently in Savannah, the state’s water industry professional association selected Gary McCoy, Macon Water Authority (MWA) Director of Water Treatment, as its Vice President for the 2023-24 Program Year. McCoy now is in line to lead the Association as President in two years, when he will accept the gavel at the Annual Conference in 2025.
McCoy has 41 years of experience in the water industry, with a long list of individual awards and industry honors for facilities where he has worked or managed. He is not new to leadership positions within the industry at the state and national levels, either, having served on the GAWP Board of Directors, as a GAWP District Director, as Chairman of the GAWP Diversity Committee, as a Member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) National Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and as an elected Member of the AWWA Board of Directors, among other avenues of service.
“I think about my humble background and start in the water industry, when I was sweeping floors at my first job, and I never imagined being in this position,” says McCoy, upon his selection as GAWP Vice President. “Of all of the industry awards and achievements I’ve been blessed with, this is the most special because it’s my peers who are entrusting me to lead this great organization.”
McCoy grew up just outside of Cartersville, Georgia in the small town of Emerson, with a population of approximately 900 people. He notes that when he finished school, he thought he’d get a job and work there for his entire career because that’s what most people did in his hometown.
However, as he began to ascend the ranks within water utilities, share his experiences with others, and travel around the state and country to make presentations and serve on committees within the industry’s professional associations, he began to see how his work was growing into a career and a calling as a water professional.
“I learned that the work of a water professional is more than just a paycheck, it’s an opportunity to serve and to attain personal and professional growth,” notes McCoy. “I never imagined I’d meet so many great people and have the lifestyle the water profession has afforded me. I’m forever grateful for the opportunities and experiences this industry has provided.”
McCoy began his career in the water profession at the City of Cartersville in 1981, as a custodian in the Cartersville Water Plant. From there, he transferred to the Cartersville Wastewater Plant, where he earned his wastewater operator certification, before coming back to the Cartersville Water Plant as a certified water plant operator. In 1994, McCoy was promoted to Assistant Plant Manager at the Cartersville Plant, before becoming Water Plant Superintendent two years later.
After serving 21 years at the City of Cartersville – where his water plant earned several industry awards, including the first Best Tasting Drinking Water Award in Georgia – McCoy accepted a position as Plant Manager at the City of Atlanta’s Hemphill Water Plant – one of the largest facilities within one of the largest water systems in the state.
McCoy’s arrival to Macon came a year later, when he joined the Macon Water Authority in 2003 as Plant Superintendent. Just six months later, he was named MWA Director of Water Treatment – the position he holds today. His leadership, along with the dedication of the MWA Frank C. Amerson, Jr. Water Treatment Plant staff, has been responsible for continued state and national industry accolades for excellence in water treatment and operations, highlighted by multiple Plant of the Year Awards and Platinum Awards for 100% compliance, as well as the Authority’s 2009 AWWA Award for Best Tasting Drinking Water in North America and recent Taste Test victories in Georgia.
With a career that spans five decades now, McCoy personifies perseverance, a positive attitude, and a willingness to serve and share his expertise with other water professionals.
“I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me at conferences and industry events and shared what my story has meant to them,” says McCoy. “I’m honored and humbled to have those life-long friendships. And I have always said that when you are climbing over the walls of career opportunities, throw the rope back over and bring others along with you.”
Chris Wood, Ph.D.