Pride and Leadership in Public Power4 min read
The AMP Seven Hats Award was initiated in 1984 to recognize utility managers who serve smaller communities of less than 2,500 meters, and whose management duties extend well beyond the scope of a manager in a larger system.
Award recipients show skill in seven areas: planning and design, administration, public relations, field supervision, accounting, personnel or employee direction, and community leadership. The award is presented during the AMP/OMEA Annual Conference. Bruce Metz of Jackson Center is the recipient of the 2017 AMP Seven Hats Award.
“It was very humbling, I was in total disbelief,” stated Metz, recalling the moment Marc Gerken, AMP President and CEO, announced Metz as the Seven Hats Award winner.
“I was proud to see the many village workers there [at the conference awards banquet], that was really nice,” he added.
Metz has occupied his current position as village administrator for five years, but has served Jackson Center for nearly 40 years after joining as a member of the streets department. He is involved in all areas of the village and community – he has served in the streets and water and wastewater departments and frequently visits job sites to check on progress. He also actively participates in monthly safety meetings and quarterly electric-specific training activities. Training and consistent improvement is important to Metz. He has a core belief that, “You’re doing your best only when you’re trying to improve what you are doing.”
In the community, Metz assists the basketball programs at the Jackson Center middle and high schools, and served as a volunteer firefighter for 25 years – including nine years as chief of the fire department. He serves as a leader of the local Cub Scouts; serves as chairman of the Sons of the American Legion Board; is a member of the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency; and serves as chairman of the Local Emergency Planning Committee.
In nominating Metz for the award, Jackson Center Mayor Scott Klopfenstein noted, “Metz has a contagious work ethic that shows people to not only work hard, but to have fun doing it.”
Jackson Center has a population of 1,400 and is located in northeastern Shelby County, in west-central Ohio. Jackson Center, established in 1835, is located at the cross section of State Route 65 and State Route 274. Although located in a rural area, the village has a great deal of industry including Airstream, Plastipak Packaging, Lacal Equipment and EMI Corporation. Nearly 1,400 people commute daily to Jackson Center to work.
Guided by Metz’s leadership, Jackson Center was an early participant in AMP’s Efficiency Smart program – installing variable frequency drives on aeration equipment at the wastewater treatment plant in 2013. Currently, an AMP Solar Phase II site is being installed in Jackson Center, directly behind the Airstream manufacturing facility. The Village of Jackson Center will utilize approximately 20 percent of the power generated from the nearly nine acres of solar panels being installed and the remainder will be used by other Phase II participants. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
For the Metz family, Jackson Center pride is a family affair. Bruce’s wife, Kim Metz, is a Jackson Center leader and promoter as well. She not only leads the Jackson Center championship volleyball program as its coach, with more than 500 wins and back-to-back state championships (2015 and 2016 division IV state champions), but she also serves as assistant athletic director, assistant school treasurer and drives a school bus for the district. Many of her Jackson Center athletes over the years have stated that Coach Metz has not only taught them the game of volleyball, but she has taught them to believe in themselves and to always give 100 percent.
Metz explains his favorite part of the job is promoting the town. “I could start talking about Jackson Center and keep going on forever about all the great things we have going on here,” he said.
True to his Jackson Center pride and to who he is as a person, after receiving the coveted AMP award, Metz sent a thank you note to the Jackson Center team stating, “This award may have my name on it but it is for all of us in Jackson Center. I am only as good as the team I have surrounding me with the same visions and expectations for our Village to grow and prosper. I am truly honored to work and serve with every one of you.”
Jackson Center High School
Jackson Center High School, home of the orange and black Tigers, is a four-year public high school, which includes college preparatory and vocational curriculum. The building also includes grades 6, 7 and 8. Enrollment for the high school (grades 9, 10, 11 and 12) is approximately 200.
Jackson Center High School welcomed students to a new building on Aug. 29 – the first day of classes for the 2017-2018 school year. The 64,000 square-foot, $8.8 million project was approved by voters in November 2014. The new school has 16 classrooms, a media center, outdoor dining and science areas, increased integrated technology and USB ports throughout the building.
Airstream and Jackson Center
Airstream – the American iconic, aluminum travel trailers – is headquartered in Jackson Center. The company employs more than 800 people. Airstream began manufacturing travel trailers in Jackson Center in 1952. According to a Dayton Business Journal May 2017 updated article, Airstream makes upwards of 70 trailers a week. In that same article, Airstream president and CEO Bob Wheeler says of Jackson Center, “We have plenty of workforce here, and it’s worldclass and I wouldn’t ask for anything else.”