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Vandiver is retiring as head of the First Utility District

After working for First Utility District in Counce for 44 years, Larry
Vandiver retired as general manager on May 15, but said he would
last week that he doesn’t leave the pulpit.
Vandiver, 70, has been pastor of The Church in Nixon for 15 years.
“I’m blessed,” he said.
Vandiver began his career at First Utility District as an operator at
the water plant, treating the water and doing testing to make sure this is so
“Good quality when it comes out,” he said. After more than nine years he is
transferred to line maintenance as foreman, then on September 1, 2010
appointed general manager, with responsibility ‘for everything here’,
including nine other employees.
“We had about 1,400 customers when Larry started,” First noted
Stephen Ballard, chairman of the utility district board. “We have double that
a lot now.”
Vandiver said he has seen several improvements during his tenure
come to First Utility District. Among them are two upgrades of the
water treatment plant, upgrade to larger, stronger lines in areas, and
a $2.9 million expansion of an intake pipe to ‘get better water’
Pickwick Lake.
“This place is booming,” Vandiver said of southwestern Hardin County
area served by the water supplier.
“We’re sad to lose Larry,” Ballard said. “He’s been a good manager – good
for his people.”
Ron Smith, water treatment plant manager, has been promoted to
general manager.
The goal, Smith said, is
“to continue to do good work for our customers.”
“We know Ron will be a good kid, too,” Ballard said.

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