Statesville City Manager Larry Pressley has announced the retirement of Water Resources Director Joe Hudson, effective Dec. 31, 2017.
Hudson’s 31-year career with the City began in 1986 and has seen the department expand in facilities and in services. “Statesville has been very fortunate to have had Joe at the helm of the Water Resources Department in times of droughts and times of great growth. He has overseen some of the City’s largest projects – both in costs and impact on Statesville’s future,” said Pressley. “He has been a very detail-oriented director, who has worked well with other City staff, the Council, business community and citizens.”
During Hudson’s tenure with the City, he led the community through the drought of 2002, and spearheaded the Lookout Shoals Raw Water Intake project that almost doubled Statesville’s available raw water supply. It was during this time that Hudson negotiated the inter-basin transfer legislation that significantly increased Statesville’s raw water supply for the next 50 years, giving the City an advantage in economic development recruitment. He also oversaw the expansion of both Fourth Creek and Third Creek Wastewater Treatment plants and the Water Treatment plant, a combined cost of $32 million.
One of Hudson’s most popular projects was the development of the Sta-Lime product which provided a permanent and cheaper disposal of bio-solids generated within the treatment plants. Working with researches and scientists at N.C. State University, Hudson brought the program to Statesville in 1995. This cost-saving program continues to benefit local farmers who can pick up Sta-Lime for free and use it as a soil enhancer. Wastewater treatment operators from around the country have visited Statesville to learn about this successful program.
A native of eastern North Carolina, Hudson began working in the water and wastewater treatment operations while still in high school. He earned a bachelor of science degree in Environmental Health in 1986 from East Carolina University and was hired to head up Statesville’s program shortly thereafter. About 10 years later, he received a master of public administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
“Statesville has been an amazing place to work and raise my family,” said Hudson. “I will never forget dealing with the national news outlets during our drought back in 2002. We were just days away from running out of water and it seemed everybody wanted to know what we were going to do. Thank goodness, the City Council and staff at that time put a plan in place quickly and Statesville’s water source is in good shape for many, many years to come.”
For Hudson, that’s been one of the biggest changes he’s seen in the industry during his career. “There has been so much change in the attitude of water as a commodity. It is not longer a simple process for a community to serve its customers with water from the closest river. There are many regulations and guidelines that water utilities must follow. Just because we need it doesn’t mean we have an unlimited amount we can have,” he explained. “I understand that these stricter regulations on how and where we obtain and discharge water, as well as how we treat it and discharge it, are to protect our water sources. But they come with a price. It has been a challenge to be as efficient as possible with our customers’ dollars.”
Hudson has numerous certifications for operating water and wastewater treatment plants and is a member of local, regional and state water-related associations. “I’m very grateful to Statesville for giving me the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. I have learned so much and worked with so many great people on staff and in the community. It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Statesville,” continued Hudson.
As for Hudson’s future, he said, “For over 40 years in this business I’ve had my days planned and scheduled for me. My future plans, for awhile, are to have absolutely no plans at all!
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