News Release
Release No.STELPRD4019965
ContactKelly Edwards715-340-1264
USDA HONORS KEN BLOMBERG
Green Bay, WI, Mar 27, 2013 --

@@Contact: Kelly Edwards | (715) 340-1264 | Kelly.edwards@wi.usda.gov

    USDA HONORS KEN BLOMBERG

    GREEN BAY, WI – MARCH 27, 2013 - - -  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Wisconsin State Director, Stan Gruszynski, presented Wisconsin Rural Water Association Executive Director Ken Blomberg with the 2013 USDA Rural Development State Director Award at the 25th Annual Rural Water Technical Conference held in Green Bay, Wis. last week.

    This honor recognizes individuals that demonstrate leadership and dedication to the sustainability of rural communities, and to the improvement of the quality of life for the residents of Wisconsin.

    “Ken’s tenure with the Rural Water Association exemplifies his dedication and steadfast commitment to safe and adequate water supplies and proper waste disposal in communities across Wisconsin’s rural landscape. His actions and initiative have protected human health, expanded economic growth, and have made Wisconsin water and waste districts leaders in compliance with state and federal regulations,” said Gruszynski. “He has been a skillful and effective manager of federal resources and a strong partner for Rural Development’s mission to administer water and waste investments wisely and efficiently. Under Ken’s leadership, the Wisconsin Rural Water Association has been a critical ally in building a sustainable future for Wisconsin’s rural communities.”

    Blomberg was singled out because of the important contributions he has made in assisting rural communities to improve necessary services, and his commitment to ensure safe and clean drinking water across Wisconsin. In addition, Blomberg has been a strong partner of USDA by connecting communities to USDA Rural Water and Environmental Programs.

    Gruszynski said, “During periods of economic change, the need for rural communities to utilize their resources to their fullest advantage is especially important. The purpose of the Rural Development Water and Environmental Program is to provide federal loan and grant funding for water and waste utility projects serving financially challenged rural communities. Working in partnership with Wisconsin Rural Water Association helps to ensure these communities and their utilities are successful and positioned for the future.”

    Blomberg was hired by the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) in 1987, as Program Manager in the State of Wisconsin. In 1988, the Wisconsin Rural Water Association (WRWA) incorporated and Blomberg began hiring additional field staff and office personnel while building a new association from a small office located in Whiting.

    Under Blomberg’s leadership, the WRWA built a new state office/training center in 1995, moving its operations to the Village of Plover. There, the association staff grew to a total of 18 and a membership of over 1,000 community water systems and industry partners. WRWA purchased additional land and in 2012 dedicated a $1.2 million Technology Center – a goal Blomberg and his Board of Directors and staff had set in their association’s strategic plan.

    Prior to his work with Rural Water Association, Blomberg was employed by the Village of Whiting as Utility Superintendent from 1977 until going to work for Rural Water. Blomberg officially retires in June. He plans to write and raise bird dogs, with his wife and family, at their kennel located along the Wisconsin River Valley in North Central Wisconsin.

    The Wisconsin Rural Water Association is a non-profit organization representing most water and wastewater systems in the state. Its mission is to assist water and wastewater systems to improve and preserve the quality and quantity of water resources in the State of Wisconsin.

    USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Programs provide financing to rural communities to help improve and/or expand water and waste infrastructure and services.   Recipients of the funding may build, repair, and improve public water systems, and waste collection and treatment systems in rural communities with up to 10,000 in population.  Since 2009, USDA Rural Development invested more than $159.8 million through the Water and Environmental Program to improve rural water and wastewater systems in 56 different communities, providing new or improved service to  more than 74,000 rural residents.

    President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

    USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $181 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

    USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $700 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

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