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Fox Chapel Authority head earns recognition for service

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Mark Nicely, P.E. Manager at Fox Chapel Authority shows the awards he just recieved on Monday, April 22, 2013.

For his commitment to public service, Mark Nicely has earned an Excellence in Local Government Award after two decades running the area's water distribution system.

At the helm of the Fox Chapel Authority, Nicely oversees service for more than 5,400 residents in Fox Chapel, O'Hara, Indiana Township and Harmar.

“I'm honored and a little bit surprised,” Nicely said, from his office along Alpha Drive in RIDC Park, O'Hara.

The recognition is part of the 17th Annual Governor's Awards, given this year to eight municipal leaders and 12 communities, and made available through the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Specifically, it honors dedication shown to strengthen communities and better serve residents.

Nicely was nominated by Douglas Bilheimer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association (PMAA).

“He is a worthy candidate,” Bilheimer said. “For his tireless commitment to public service, I was honored to offer him as a nominee.”

In addition to his work in the Lower Valley, Nicely is former chairman of the state section of the American Water Works Association and a member of the PMAA executive committee. He currently leads PA WARN, the state's Water/Wastewater Agency Resource Network.

“It's a mutual aid group of utilities helping utilities,” Nicely said. “When a manmade or natural disaster happens, we can help each other more quickly than the government can.”

The PA WARN was founded after lessons learned in Hurricane Katrina, Nicely said.

“We found that the state and federal governments don't have the specialized knowledge that we do, and that we need, to get back on our feet,” he said.

In the event of a disaster, Nicely has trained to work in the state's emergency operating center with other responders.

An engineer, Nicely graduated from Penn State University before working in finance and management at an environmentally-geared engineering firm. He managed Hampton Township Municipal Authority for a dozen years and Richland Township Authority for four years before coming to O'Hara.

“(Nicely) has actively served statewide and community organizations dedicating his time and expertise for the betterment of state communities,” Bilheimer said.

Lt. Governor Jim Cawley said Nicely is among those who show an immense responsibility to provide solutions that make the community a vibrant place to live.

“This is recognition of your dedication to public service, and a celebration of leadership and innovation,” he said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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