Florida Water Services Operations Team Is Tops Internationally; Five-Person Team Wins Top Ops Challenge Competition

Updated: Tue, Jul 03 3:30 PM EDT

ORLANDO, Fla., July 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Water Services operations team members won the international title of "Top Operations Team" by answering the most water-related questions correctly during international competition on June 19. The team, which won its fourth consecutive state title in April, represented all Florida water utilities at the International Top Ops Challenge held at the American Water Works Association Conference in Washington, D.C.

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Florida Water's five-person team of Dave Denny, Jim Hogan, Jim Smith, Glenn Whitcomb and Pete Roussell defeated a Kentucky-Tennessee team and defending champion Houston Pilots in the finals to secure the victory.

"Our win shows that we have some really great professionals working for us," said Denny, the team's captain. "They are dedicated to excellence on the job."

The Top Ops Challenge tests the knowledge of plant operators from different utilities, both public and private, in a College Bowl-type setting. Teams compete for the Top Ops title by answering questions related to plant operations, safety standards, maintenance and regulations. The questions are comparable to those on a water operator certification exam.

This year's competition showcased 12 teams from the United States, all winners of state competitions. Florida Water earned its first international title in 1999. The next state competition is in April 2002, and the team is practicing already.

Florida Water Services (www.florida-water.com), a wholly owned subsidiary of ALLETE (NYSE:ALE)(www.ALLETE.com), has more than 30 years' experience serving Florida citizens and communities, such as the treatment and distribution of drinking water and the treatment of wastewater. More than 500,000 Floridians in 27 counties rely on Florida Water Services.

Florida Water's parent company, ALLETE Water Services, is also the holding company for Heater Utilities, North Carolina's largest investor-owned water and wastewater company; Georgia Water Services; U.S. Maintenance and Management; Instrumentation Services Inc.; and Americas' Water Services Corporation.

ALLETE is a multi-services company with corporate headquarters in Duluth, Minn. Holdings include the second largest wholesale automobile auction network in North America; the leading provider of independent auto dealer inventory financing; the largest investor-owned water utilities in Florida and North Carolina; significant real estate holdings in Florida, and a low-cost electric utility serving some of the largest industrial customers in the United States.