CWS Leadership Team
Richard D. (Rick) Ailiff, Jr.
Rick has an extensive background in virtually all water and wastewater system operations, with hands-on skills in troubleshooting and problem resolution of most water/wastewater related issues. He has a thorough understanding of supervisory principles and practices, preventive and predictive maintenance of water and wastewater treatment equipment and facilities. Rick is highly motivated and intuitive, effective at human relations, and able to manage both time and resources to maximize productivity. With over 33 years’ experience and 20 years in management, Rick has a wealth of knowledge in process control measures and implementation for optimized plant performance; budget development and financial management; financial planning; cost control measures; management of budgets up to $5 million; due diligence of plants; strategic planning; staff hiring, training, supervision, evaluation, and motivation; extensive computer knowledge; capital equipment acquisitions; client relations; contract negotiations; and knowledge of all State, Federal, and OSHA regulations pertaining to water/wastewater.
Rick has extensive experience in developing and implementing Risk Management Plans. He has worked with engineers developing safe, cost-effective chlorine feed systems that are sustainable through changing regulations. RMP’s developed include basic tasks, changing chlorine cylinders, identifying valve(s) positioning, emergency contacts, response to leaks, the proper PPE, who to notify, evacuations, and organizing all efforts. Specific examples include RMPs for the Five Star Water Treatment Plant (8 MGD), Central Elmore Water Authority Plant (10 MGD), Mobile Area Water & Sewer System Surface Water Plant (40 MGD) and the Orange Beach Water Treatment Plant (12 MGD). Working with the EPA and their contractors on the implementation, he has been through several audits and passed them all.
Murray Dodd, PE
Chief Operating Officer, Project Support
Murray is an experienced leader and engineer whose expertise lies in water, wastewater, and public works. His background includes construction management with a heavy civil contractor, as well as 20 years with Greenville Water in South Carolina where he rose through the ranks serving as a Staff Engineer, Director of Engineering, and then Chief Operating Officer. During this time, Murray established a variety of departmental policies, developed several preventative maintenance programs, created an in-house utility locate program, and implemented the company’s first comprehensive safety management program.
Most recently, Murray worked with our parent company, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, where he served as the South Carolina Engineering Manager in the firm’s Greenville, SC office since 2015. In addition to being a licensed Professional Engineer, Murray is also a certified Water Distribution Operator in South Carolina.
As the Chief Operating Officer of CWS, Murray focuses on operational efficiency, training and safety programs, and oversight of the lab. He oversees the team of Regional Managers and Safety Coordinators. He uses his expertise in water and wastewater systems to assist our clients, as well as our project teams, with any technical issues they may have. This in-house capability allows CWS to provide a unique and valuable service to our clients as we continue to build communities and impact lives.
Brent has more than 30 years of experience in the water and wastewater industry. His expertise lies in domestic, industrial, and contract operations. He is knowledgeable in managing groundwater systems using chlorine, fluoride, lime, and sedimentation treatment. Brent has experience in facility design and modifications, equipment recommendations and sizing, and developing positive working relationships with regulatory officials during supervisory tenure. His skills extend into other environmental areas including air, stormwater, hazardous waste, and solid waste. Mr. Stauffer also developed cross-training programs and operations and maintenance standard operating procedures for facilities. He has performed facility evaluations, startups, and cost model projections for proposed contracts. Brent has experience in union negotiations and working with union representatives, delivering utility and public works projects on budget, and providing savings to clients. He is knowledgeable in developing project operating plans, safety, and compliance training. He administers project contracts and amendments for clients, and provides solutions for clients including compliance, cost containment, staffing levels, and inter-local agreements.
Lawrence Hughes has more than 25 years of experience in management and sales resulting in a consistent track record of exceptional success. He recently merged his own company, Artesian Utilities Systems Management, Inc., with CWS Solutions in order to provide his clients with enhanced services and resources. Through his experience, Lawrence has managed multiple water and wastewater systems and a staff of 48 employees. He has developed client and board member relations through negotiation of contracts, and has also been affiliated with systems that have utilized funding from USDA, ADEM, and CDBG grant monies.
Lawrence is responsible for supporting contract operations, maintenance, management (O&M), and related services project sites. He coordinates the delivery of support resources for CWS’ O&M project teams at various facilities throughout the South, drawing from the regional resources of our firm, which include experts in management, technical and operations areas.
Christopher W. Thomas
With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Chris has developed an extensive working knowledge of water and wastewater systems. He was previously the President of Lakeview Environmental, LLC where he provided consulting services for clients, operational assistance for water and wastewater plants, operational assistance for distribution and collection systems, optimization and cost reduction assistance, as well as provided contract operations for water and wastewater facilities.
Chris has served as an Operator, Supervisor, Assistant Director, and Utility Director for various municipalities in Georgia. He has performed all duties associated with the operation and management of numerous types of facilities including conventional activated sludge, oxidation ditch, MBR, and trickling filters. The plants varied in size from .250 MGD up to 15 MGD. He has specialized knowledge of process optimization, compliance, cost savings, and operator training.
Tim serves as a Regional Manager and Project Support team member for CWS. With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, he has gained a tremendous understanding of all facets of public works including the management of staff, operations of facilities, and the maintenance of building, grounds, and equipment. Tim has extensive experience with project management, training, compliance, documentation and record keeping, reporting systems, maintenance and repairs, new construction, permitting, etc. which enables him to effectively lead the regional team of project staff. In addition, he holds various certifications in water, wastewater, plumbing and gas that allows him to support each function when needed. His commitment to success earned him the title of “Project Manager of the Year” in 2013, and under his direction, the water treatment system at which he was the manager was named “Best Operated Plant” and “Best Operated Distribution System” by the Alabama Water Pollution Control Operators Association in 2015. Tim has served as an Adjunct Instructor at Columbus Technical College and Training Specialist for Birmingham Water Works Board, where he directed classes on Water Filtration, Wastewater Treatment Processes, Backﬂow Prevention Tester training, and Operator Certification training. Tim currently serves as Training Coordinator for CWS.
Tim served as Superintendent of Water Distribution and Wastewater Collections for the City of Phenix City, a system with over 15,000 customers, before joining CWS in 2011. As Superintendent, he was responsible for overseeing the Cross Control program. While with Phenix City, Tim was instrumental in developing a flushing program which reduced DBPs and increased water quality.
Houston Black has been in the water and wastewater industry for over seven years. Houston started with CWS as a Wastewater Lagoon Operator, later operating an Activated Sludge Plant with daily lab operations, then moving into the Drinking Water Treatment Plant as an operator. At the Beulah project, he was a Project Manager overseeing four employees, a Water Distribution System with over 200 miles of distribution pipe, one ground storage tank, and over 3,300 customer services. He was also responsible for developing the Cross Control Program & Flushing Program for the water distribution system. Along with the Water Distribution System, Houston also managed and operated two wastewater treatment facilities. In addition, he has been providing tank inspections since 2015 and oversaw a tank demolition, as well as various renovation projects in Beulah. Houston has gained experience and knowledge in budget development and financial management; accounting; financial planning; management of multiple budgets totaling over $2 million; working with engineers and contractors during major construction projects; problem-solving; innovative thinking; personnel management; motivation of personnel’s individual growth; and the development of leaders.
Houston is a proven manager with a tremendous understanding of water and wastewater systems who was recently named as an Area Manager for our firm. His accomplishments have not gone unnoticed as he was recognized by the AWWA Alabama-Mississippi Section as the “2016 Young Professional of the Year”.