South Tahoe Public Utility District GM Richard Solbrig retires
After 28 years serving the community at South Tahoe Public Utility District, General Manager Richard Solbrig retired on Jan. 9.
Solbrig is succeeded by another veteran at the district, engineering manager John Thiel.
The STPUD Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution honoring Solbrig for his 28 years of service on Jan. 3. According to the resolution, Solbrig is known for listening to all points of view and cultivating a thoughtful, collaborative and respectful manner to guide the district toward doing the right thing. He has successfully created a culture of openness, respect, and fairness both within the district, and with partner agencies.
“I can’t express enough our gratitude. We all greatly appreciate your service,” Board President Randy Vogelgesang said during the presentation of the resolution.
Solbrig began his career at the district in 1990 and was promoted to general manager in 2003.
When asked about his biggest accomplishment, Solbrig answered: “The staff that is here at the District. The culture we created attracts top quality staff. The staff development program expands the horizon on what they already know and prepares them for positions they aspire to. I believe staff feels valued for their efforts, ideas and results. We can meet whatever challenges that come our way if we work as a team.”
Under his leadership STPUD has seen major improvements to South Lake Tahoe’s water, wastewater and recycled water systems. During the challenges of MTBE groundwater contamination, Solbrig fought to secure $69 million from the polluters to ensure our community had access to safe, clean drinking water.
By continually adapting to new regulations and community needs through process improvements and high performance wastewater treatment, the district has won numerous awards under his leadership, including the National Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Year Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency, both in 1994 and in 2001.
Solbrig guided the district to become one of only a handful of agencies in the world that recycles 100 percent of the liquid and solids from the wastewater treatment process. From implementing the recycled water reservoir and agricultural reuse systems in Alpine County to implementing hydro-electric production from the export line, Solbrig has been an avid steward of the community’s resources and the environment.
“He cared for the environment, both South Lake Tahoe and Alpine County, and he cared for the community,” said Don Jardine, Alpine County supervisor and Lahontan Regional Water Board vice chair. “He is certainly the most approachable person that I’ve worked with. It’s a great loss for the district, but I wish him the very best.”
This article was provided by South Tahoe Public Utility District.