Congratulations Dan Duchniak!

We are excited to congratulate Dan Duchniak, general manager of the Waukesha Water Utility, on being named the 2018 Waukesha County Advocate of the Year.

Dan joined the Waukesha Water Utility in January 2003 as the general manager. Prior to that, he worked for the City of Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility, the City of Racine Water and Wastewater Utility and the City of Franklin. Dan was a key figure in securing the City of Waukesha’s application to borrow Lake Michigan water.

Waukesha’s primary water supply, the deep aquifer, was declining and the water quality was deteriorating, with radium levels that exceeded federal drinking water standards. In 2010, Waukesha applied to borrow and return Great Lakes water under an exception to the diversion ban established by the Great Lakes Compact. It was unanimously approved by the Great Lakes Governors in June 2016.

“Waukesha will be the first community allowed to borrow Great Lakes water under the Compact’s exception for communities outside the basin but within a county that straddles the Great Lakes Basin divide,” said City of Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly. “Dan was responsible for overseeing and coordinating our application. It was a lengthy regulatory and approval process and he was a key advocate for Waukesha.”

Once approval was received, Dan led the effort to negotiate a contract with the City of Milwaukee to provide Great Lakes water to the residents of the City of Waukesha. Dan was able to work with a team to negotiate a contract that saved the residents of Waukesha millions of dollars per year in capital and operating costs. The new agreement between the cities is hoped to set an example for further regional cooperation initiatives.

Dan continues to oversee planning, design and permitting of the water supply project, dubbed the Great Water Alliance. Construction is expected to begin in 2020, with transition to the new water supply in 2023.

The Waukesha County Advocate of the Year Award celebrates an individual who has demonstrated incredible dedication to making Waukesha County a vibrant and wonderful place to work, play and live. The award was created to honor and remember the late Bart Adams, who passed away unexpectedly in 2016. Bart was a consistent voice for business within the Alliance and the broader community. He liked to work behind the scenes but he embodied the characteristics of a dedicated leader.

“Dan’s leadership played a key role in ensuring that Waukesha’s families and businesses will have a safe and reliable water supply for generations to come,” said Suzanne Kelley, president and CEO of the Waukesha County Business Alliance. “He embodies the value of making Waukesha County not only a great place to work, but also a great place to live. We’re lucky to have a community advocate like Dan in Waukesha County.”

The award will be presented at the first annual Waukesha County Awards Gala on Thursday, June 21, 2018. The program will be held in partnership with the Alliance, the Waukesha County Center for Growth and Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow at the Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield Hotel beginning at 6:00 p.m., with registration beginning at 5:00 p.m. Top-performing businesses and nonprofits will also be honored. Register for the program here.