When longtime Manchester Water Works Director Tom Bowen officially retires later this week, Queen Cityans should raise a glass of water in his honor.
If you don't know Bowen or his work, that really says a great deal about him and his management skills. Think about it. When was the last time you heard any great grumbling, any at all, really, about the city's water?
Water rates have been moderate. Water supply has been kept steady, through drought, flood or city expansion.
And as for water quality, Manchester's truly rates among the best in the country.
Our City Hall reporter, Ted Siefer, noted this in a recent Sunday column.
"While complex infrastructure systems rarely generate big headlines, it's worth noting that, under Bowen, the Water Works has gained national recognition for the quality and taste of the water it conveys through city taps," Siefer wrote.
Bowen began his city career in 1970 as an engineer. He has directed the agency since 1992.
He told Siefer he is proudest of his involvement in the construction of the water treatment plant on Lake Shore Road in the early 1970s and its rehabilitation in the 2000s.
"Water quality goes hand in hand with the treatment facility," he said. "Manchester has excellent water quality. It starts with having a good program in place to protect Lake Massabesic and the improvements that were completed in 2006, which will serve the community for at least another 20 years."
Bowen, like any good boss, credits his people.
"I'd be remiss if I did not say that we've always had very good people there, from the meter readers right through to the administrative staff and engineers. It's been a very dedicated group of people, and I really enjoyed my career there."
And the city, and this newspaper, would be remiss if we didn't all say thanks and a job well done to Tom Bowen.