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Gregory Nuttelman public works employee of year 

  • Gregory Nuttelman, chief operator of the City of Northampton Mountain Street Water Treatment Plant, stands infrastructure at the plant Thursday. He has been named Northampton DPW Employee of the Year.

    Gregory Nuttelman, chief operator of the City of Northampton Mountain Street Water Treatment Plant, stands infrastructure at the plant Thursday. He has been named Northampton DPW Employee of the Year. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Gregory Nuttelman, chief operator of the City of Northampton Mountain Street Water Treatment Plant, stands beside clarifying tanks at the plant Thursday. He has been named Northampton DPW Employee of the Year.

    Gregory Nuttelman, chief operator of the City of Northampton Mountain Street Water Treatment Plant, stands beside clarifying tanks at the plant Thursday. He has been named Northampton DPW Employee of the Year. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Gregory Nuttelman, chief operator of the City of Northampton Mountain Street Water Treatment Plant, stands infrastructure at the plant Thursday. He has been named Northampton DPW Employee of the Year.
  • Gregory Nuttelman, chief operator of the City of Northampton Mountain Street Water Treatment Plant, stands beside clarifying tanks at the plant Thursday. He has been named Northampton DPW Employee of the Year.

“We do the sampling and keep the plant running,” Nuttelman said.

His bosses know better.

Department of Public Works Director Ned Huntley describes Nuttelman as “the man who keeps the city’s drinking water clean.”

Nuttelman is essentially in charge of a facility that operates around the clock seven days a week to meet the city’s daily demand for potable water.

While he’s certainly good at his job, Nuttelman brings a selfless, can-do attitude to the position that rubs off on other people, Huntley said. These and other traits made it easy to select the seven-year city worker as the 2012 DPW employee of the year.

“He has an eagerness that is infectious among the staff,” Huntley said. “He’s a great worker.”

The award, now in its 12th year, is a way for DPW leaders to recognize the best of the best among its staff. Department supervisors and employees nominated 15 people for the award this year, with Nuttelman rising to the top thanks in part to his work ethic, attitude and ability to get along with fellow employees.

Huntley rattled off a list of accolades that DPW employees expressed about Nuttelman during the selection process: “loyal and trustworthy, a can-do person who refuses nothing, works well with others, accepts added responsibility without question.”

The award surprised Nuttelman, who was nominated by his supervisor, David Sparks, superintendent of the Water Department.

“There were a lot of people nominated and I thought it would go to someone else,” Nuttelman said. He said he nominated one of the employees he supervises. “It was a pretty good surprise.”

Nuttelman was honored at Thursday’s City Council meeting, where Huntley and City Council President William H. Dwight presented him with a plaque as numerous co-workers and family members looked on. He becomes the second Water Department employee to earn the award in the last three years. Colleague Doug Ducharme, who reports to Nuttelman, earned the honor in 2010.

“I feel like I just do my job,” Nuttelman said. “A lot of us do. But it’s nice to have the work noticed.”

Huntley said the selection process is never easy given the number of employees who deserve the honor.

“It’s hard to recognize everyone,” Huntley said. “We have a great team up here.”

In addition to a plaque he takes home, Nuttelman’s name will be inscribed on a plaque on display at the DPW office, along with past winners.

Nuttelman joined the DPW in 2005, when he worked half-time as a reservoir ranger while earning an undergraduate degree from Westfield State University. As a ranger, Nuttelman monitored the city’s watershed and ensured that people using the property for recreational purposes followed the rules.

With jobs scarce after graduation, Nuttelman became licensed in drinking water treatment and distribution and joined the city full time in May of 2010 as a plant operator. He took over as chief operator about a year ago. He oversees the plant and four operators who are responsible for monitoring the treatment of the city’s water from the time it enters the plant from the Mountain Street Reservoir in Williamsburg and the Ryan Reservoir in Whately, through a chemical treatment process, before flowing into homes and businesses throughout the city.

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