Alliance Water Resources is the winner of the Human Resources Management Association\'s prestigious Paragon Award for 2001. Bestowed by the Greater Kansas City HRMA chapter, the award honors Missouri firms who “have advanced the practice of human resources and made their companies models for others to emulate.”

With 200 employees company-wide, Alliance is the winner in the category for medium-sized companies with 100 to 300 employees.

“We\'re proud of this recognition,” says Sandy Neal, Director of Human Resources for Alliance. “It means that we\'re one of the best companies to work for in the region, and it\'s a compliment to the efforts of every Alliance employee.”

In addition to the Greater Kansas City HRMA, this year\'s co-sponsors of the Paragon Award are the Kansas City Business Journal and the Excellence in Missouri Foundation.

Among the factors contributing to Alliance\'s selection for the Paragon Award were the company\'s progressive employee benefits programs, human resources management practices, impressively low turnover rate, and safety record.

Alliance benefits cover 100% of employee medical and dental premiums, and include partial coverage for employee family members. The company has also encouraged direct participation by its employees in the development of detailed job descriptions and performance evaluations.

In an industry characterized by a continuing shortage of certified professional and technical people, Alliance has used innovative incentive and training programs to double the number of its employees who earn operator certifications.

Based on benchmark data from a number of surveys, Alliance\'s employee turnover rate of only 10.22% is well below the nationwide average of other companies (17%), the average for employers with 100-300 employees (16%), and leaders in its own industry (15.5%).

Alliance\'s already-strong safety performance for the year 2000 improved by 25% over the previous year, with gains in every major measurement category.

“Alliance provides services to our clients that are essential 24 hours a day,” says Greg Mattli, president and chief executive officer. “So our philosophy of human resources is ‘care about people, hire professionals, and expect a lot from them.\' ”

“Attracting and retaining qualified professionals is critical to the company’s success,” agrees Neal, “Our ongoing challenges include communicating effectively to spread-out locations, and providing sufficient opportunities for internal advancement.”

Headquartered in Columbia, Missouri, Alliance Water Resources is the state\'s number one supplier of contract operations for water and wastewater systems and total system management and operations services for water and sewer districts. Its clients include municipal water and wastewater operations and rural water and wastewater districts in the Midwest.

Alliance employees include sanitary engineers, plant operators, maintenance workers, meter readers, and clerical workers.

Alliance is operating water and wastewater systems for communities throughout Missouri including the cities of Bowling Green, Cameron, Cape Girardeau, Clinton, Elsberry, Fredericktown, Fulton, Gerald, Lake Ozark, Lexington, O\'Fallon, and Osage Beach. In Iowa, Alliance operates systems in Tipton and Maquoketa.

Alliance also operates rural water and wastewater districts in Buchanan County, DeKalb County, Franklin County, Lincoln County, and St. Charles County, Missouri.

The range of services provided by the company includes water and wastewater utility management, plant operations and maintenance, collection and distribution system operations and maintenance, and computerized billing.

Alliance\'s water and wastewater utility expertise also encompasses broader system management areas, including rate evaluations and financial management, system audits and evaluations, system acquisition assistance, troubleshooting, start-up services, design/build/operate programs, and public works services.