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Leesburg Utilities Director Randy Shoemaker Announces Retirement | Business

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Leesburg Utilities Director Randy Shoemaker Announces Retirement
Leesburg Utilities Director Randy Shoemaker Announces Retirement

From the Town of Leesburg – Randy Shoemaker, Director of the Leesburg Utilities Department, has announced his retirement from the Town, effective July 1, 2011.  Mr. Shoemaker has worked for the Town of Leesburg for more than 38 total years and has been the director of the Leesburg Utilities Department since its creation in 1981.

Randy Shoemaker was first hired by the Town of Leesburg in 1970 as a Wastewater Plant Operator.  He left the Town in 1973, but returned in 1975 as the Utility Plant Superintendent.  At that time, the utilities functions were part of the Department of Public Works.  In 1981, the Department of Utility Plants was created and Randy became the new department’s director.

When Randy joined the Town in 1975, the Town had approximately 1,200 households, the capacity of the Water Pollution Control Facility was 1.3 million gallons per day, and the Water Treatment Plant had not been built yet.   The Water Treatment Plant was completed in 1982, with a capacity of 2.5 million gallons per day.  At the time of his retirement, the Town has nearly 15,000 households with an additional 3,000 households outside the Town limits served by the Utilities Department, the capacity of the Water Pollution Control Facility is 7.5 million gallons per day and the capacity of the Water Treatment Plant is 12.5 million gallons per day.

In 1988, the Town adopted a 30-year Water System Master Plan and the following year, 1989, the Sewer System Master Plan was adopted for the Utilities Department. These plans set forth the progression of water and sewer development within the Town’s designated service area. Under Randy’s leadership, all of the projects, except one, proposed and adopted by Council in the Master Plans have been completed, extending central utilities to all areas of the Town and the northeast service area.  The final project, the Lower Sycolin Creek Sewer, is designed and scheduled for construction next year.  Projects in the Master Plans included the construction of five water towers and nine pumping stations, plus numerous expansions and upgrades of the two utility plants.  Barring an expansion of the Town’s service area, the utilities system is currently sized to meet the water and sewer needs of the Town at ultimate build out. 

According to Randy, the two accomplishments of which he is most proud are the development, adoption and full implementation of the Water & Sewer Master Plans and the extension of central utilities to the northeast service area.

“I’ve enjoyed being part of the overall growth and development of the Town of Leesburg,” he said.  “The Utilities Department has played an integral role in the Town’s success, and I’m proud to have been a member of that team.”

Randy is originally from Manassas, Virginia.  He studied biology and chemistry at Emory & Henry College, but became interested in Municipal Utility Systems during a summer job with the (then) Town of Manassas.  Following the passage of the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act, and the establishment of the Environment Protection Agency in the early 1970s, Randy took advantage of free training opportunities funded by the federal government to become certified as a Wastewater and Water Plant Operator.  These certifications paved the way for his long and successful career with the Town of Leesburg. 

Randy and his wife, Vonny, live just outside Leesburg.   Randy’s oldest son, Benjamin, has followed in his father’s footsteps and is an engineer with Loudoun Water.  His younger son, William, is a student at James Madison University and his daughter, Elizabeth, is a senior at Loudoun County High School who will be attending Liberty University this fall.  Randy became active in Boy Scouts with his sons and continues to serving the troop committee for Boy Scout Troop 1550, and as a counselor for the Environmental Science and Personal Management merit badge courses for the troop.

“In the ES merit badge course, I always tell the Scouts that the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act are the three most important pieces of environmental legislation that Congress has ever passed,” Randy said.

“Randy will be sorely missed by the Town of Leesburg,” commented John Wells, Leesburg Town Manager.  “He has been the mainstay of the Utilities Department for the past 35 years, guiding the department through enormous changes and challenges in meeting the ever-increasing environmental standards.  In addition, he deserves a lot of credit for his dedication to staff development.  For that reason, we know that Randy is leaving the department in good hands.  Everyone on staff wishes him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”