Vandiver retires as First Utility District chief


After 44 years of working for First Utility District in Counce, Larry
Vandiver retired on May 15 from his post as general manager, but said
last week that he’s not quitting the pulpit.
Vandiver, 70, has been pastor of The Church, in Nixon, for 15 years.
“I’ve been blessed,” he said.
Vandiver began his career with First Utility District as an operator at
the water plant, treating the water and doing tests to ensure it is
“good quality when it goes out,” he said. After more than nine years he
shifted to line maintenance as a foreman, and then on Sept. 1, 2010, was
named general manager, with responsibility “over everything here,”
including nine other employees.
“We had about 1,400 customers when Larry started,” observed First
Utility District Board President Stephen Ballard. “We have twice that
many now.”
Vandiver said that during his tenure he’s seen multiple improvements
come to First Utility District. Among them are two upgrades of the 
water treatment plant, upgrading to larger, stronger lines in areas, and
a $2.9 million extension of an intake line to “get better water” from
Pickwick Lake.
“This place is booming,” Vandiver said of the southwest Hardin County
area served by the water provider.
“We hate to lose Larry,” Ballard said. “He’s been a good manager – good
to his people.”
Ron Smith, the water treatment plant manager, has been promoted to
general manager.
The goal, Smith said, is
“to continue doing a good job for the customers.”
“We know Ron’s going to be a good one too,” Ballard said.