New Valdosta Directors of Utilities and Public Works 2024-07-01

Congratulations to Jason Barnes on being promoted to Valdosta Director of Utilities after a year as Acting Director.

He has a lot of work left for him by previous city administrations, both in drinking water quality and a planned new well site, and of course in fixing Valdosta’s chronic sewer leaks, overflows, and spills, while expanding the sewer system to accomodate new industry.

[Jason Barnes, Valdosta, Utilities Director 2024-07-01, Water and sewer systems, Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers]
Jason Barnes, Valdosta, Utilities Director 2024-07-01, Water and sewer systems, Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers

The Withlacoochee River gets the most news, because most of Valdosta’s spills have been into creeks that flow into that river. But the collapsed sewer main next to Knights Creek ends up in Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River. The city seems to have finally gotten a handle on that one, having replaced most of that sewer main, with the rest to be scheduled as regular repairs instead of expensive emergency fixes.

Nobody is going to be happy until there are no more spills, but I have seen fewer spills that did not last as long since Jason Barnes has been in charge.

About the first thing I heard from him once he became Acting Director was that a sewage spill had contaminated Sugar Creek, so we rerouted from a boating cleanup to an onland cleanup. Jason Barnes showed up in person at that cleanup, where we thanked him for telling us.

[Valdosta Assistant Utilities Director Jason Barnes, 2023-07-22, 10:47:24]
Valdosta Assistant Utilities Director Jason Barnes, 2023-07-22, 10:47:24

We suggested a sewage spill sign might be appropriate, and by the next day one had appeared.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper Banner and Valdosta Sewage Spill sign at Sugar Creek 2023-07-28, 09:52:42]
Suwannee Riverkeeper Banner and Valdosta Sewage Spill sign at Sugar Creek 2023-07-28, 09:52:42

So, thanks to Jason Barnes for that and many other positive changes, congratulations on being promoted, and we’re all looking forward to further sewer system fixes that stop the spills.

Also received yesterday, Larry Ogden is the new Valdosta Director of Public Works. I haven’t been following Public Works closely, so I have no comment other than congratulations.

City of Valdosta Announces Promotion of Jason Barnes as Director of Utilities

[Jason Barnes, Director of Utilities, City of Valdosta, 2024-07-01]
Jason Barnes, Director of Utilities, City of Valdosta, 2024-07-01

The City of Valdosta is pleased to announce the appointment of Jason W. Barnes as the new Director of Utilities. Barnes, who began his career with the city in 1995 as a laborer, has progressively advanced through various roles, culminating in his promotion to Water Treatment Plant Superintendent in 2014.

[Sign and WWTP, 2024:04:14 18:30:52, 30.8206292, -83.3595903]
Sign and WWTP, 2024:04:14 18:30:52, 30.8206292, -83.3595903

“I am honored to be promoted from Assistant Director to Director of Utilities for the City of Valdosta,” Barnes said. “I am committed to leading our dedicated team and continuing to improve our services for the community.”

Barnes credits his success to the unwavering support of his wife, children, and family. “I am deeply honored to be selected as the Director of Utilities for the City of Valdosta,” Barnes said. “We have an outstanding team that understands the significance of our work.”

Mayor Scott James Matheson expressed his confidence in Barnes’s leadership, stating, “Jason Barnes has shown exceptional dedication and expertise throughout his career with the City of Valdosta. His promotion to Director of Utilities is well-deserved, and I am confident that he will continue to lead the department to greater heights.”

Assistant City Manager Catherine Ammons also praised Barnes’s leadership and promotion, stating, “Jason’s leadership and vision have been instrumental in transforming our Utilities Department. His promotion is a testament to his hard work, dedication, and the positive impact he has had on our team and community. We are excited to see the continued progress under his direction.”

[Valdosta WWTP clean outfall, 2024-03-04, 10:50:40, 30.8361045, -83.3595411]
Valdosta WWTP clean outfall, 2024-03-04, 10:50:40, 30.8361045, -83.3595411

For the past two years, Barnes has served as the Assistant Director of Utilities. He is committed to bringing positive energy and leadership to further enhance the Utilities Department.

Larry Ogden Promoted to Public Works Director for the City of Valdosta

[Larry Ogden, Valdosta Director of Public Works]
Larry Ogden, Valdosta Director of Public Works

The City of Valdosta is pleased to announce the promotion of Mr. Larry Ogden to the position of Public Works Director. With a distinguished 26-year career within the city, Mr. Ogden’s promotion recognizes his exceptional leadership and contributions to the Traffic and Street Management Division.

Larry Ogden joined the City of Valdosta Engineering Department in November 1997, starting in the Sign Shop and rising through the ranks to his most recent position as Traffic Manager. In this role, he managed 14 positions and coordinated activities within the Traffic Division, overseeing wireless and fiber projects, traffic systems functionality, and various maintenance responsibilities.

Mr. Ogden’s recent accomplishments include the successful installation of new equipment at all 128 signaled intersections city-wide and the implementation of a cutting-edge wireless SMART system, making Valdosta the first city in Georgia to employ such technology on a city-wide scale. His meticulous oversight of the Traffic Management Center (TMC) resulted in the seamless integration of new operation system software and equipment, contributing to optimal traffic flow during peak hours at the new Valdosta High School.

Under Mr. Ogden’s leadership as Traffic and Street Manager, the city experienced a significant decrease in traffic and signal-related complaints. His commitment to excellence is evident in his strategic personnel choices, contributing to improved internal operations.

“I am deeply honored to be promoted to Director of Public Works,” said Mr. Ogden. “I am excited to continue serving the City of Valdosta in this new capacity and look forward to collaborating with our dedicated team to enhance our public works services and infrastructure for the betterment of our community.”

Assistant City Manager Catherine Ammons also expressed her confidence in Mr. Ogden’s abilities. “Larry Ogden has been an invaluable asset to our city for over two decades,” said Ms. Ammons. “His expertise and dedication as the Public Works Administrator have significantly improved the department, and I have no doubt he will excel in his new role as Public Works Director.”

Mayor Scott James praised Mr. Ogden’s promotion, stating, “Larry Ogden’s dedication and leadership have been instrumental in advancing our city’s infrastructure. His promotion to Public Works Director is well-deserved, and I am confident that he will continue to drive progress and innovation in our community.”

On April 4, 2022, the City of Valdosta received a 2022 SMART 50 Award for Mobility at the Smart Cities Connect Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Larry Ogden, Traffic Manager, accepted the award on behalf of the city. The project improved traffic flow and safety with enhanced mobility for area residents. Additionally, Mr. Ogden was a 2021 finalist for the World Smart City Awards and is a 2022 recipient of the Smart 50 Awards by Smart Cities Connect.

The City of Valdosta congratulates Larry Ogden on his well-deserved promotion and looks forward to his continued contributions to the City’s growth and development.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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