The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities (IAMU) has announced that Sal LoBianco, MP&W General Manager, has been awarded IAMU’s 2018 Individual Achievement Award.
“I’m truly honored to be recognized by my peers in the IAMU,” said LoBianco. “Having spent my entire career as part of a municipal utility while working side by side with other member utilities, I always hoped that I was contributing in some small way to the success of others. From that standpoint, this award means very much to me.”
IAMU presents its Individual Achievement Award to “a utility employee who has contributed to the municipal utility he/she represents, has made a substantial contribution to municipal utilities, and has been widely recognized in the Association”. LoBianco’s long and successful career in public power certainly fits the bill.
“Sal has successfully operated one of the largest municipal utilities in the state of Iowa,” said Troy DeJoode, IAMU Executive Director. “He’s played a key role in innovative projects and initiatives that highlight a municipal utility’s tremendous value to its community, and we’re pleased to recognize his long and very successful career dedicated to public utilities.”
LoBianco has also been an active promoter of the utility within the Muscatine community as well as an active volunteer for the Muscatine community. He has been an active member of IAMU over the years, serving on its Legal & Regulatory Committee since 2009, its Board of Directors since 2010, and as Board Chair in 2013.
Sal has been employed in various positions at Muscatine Power and Water for 38 years and will be retiring as its General Manager in first quarter 2019. From his beginnings as a Mechanical Engineer in 1980, he worked his way through the ranks to become Assistant Operations Supervisor, then Maintenance and Technical Supervisor; Manager, Power Generation; Communications Utility Project Manager; Director, Telecommunications Development; and Director of Generation and Telecommunications before his promotion to GM in 2009.
Specific highlights of his considerable efforts include: coordination, start-up testing and operations of MP&W’s Unit 9 generating station; establishing a novel and unique partnership for the mutual benefit of the utility and one of its key customers by selling process steam; fostering good working relationships with other IAMU members as well as investor-owned utilities; and establishing one of the first municipal telecommunications utilities in the state of Iowa.
In the late 90s, as Communications Utility Project Manager, he was a driver for the creation of the MP&W Communications Utility, offering TV and high-speed internet services and a fiber-based Municipal Area Network. He recently spearheaded a major reinvestment in the Communications Utility, commencing the Fiber to the Home Project, to ensure MP&W will be well-positioned to provide excellent communications products/services for decades to come.
LoBianco has also implemented improvements and directed capital investments to the Water System for customers of MP&W, and he has championed a strong safety culture — leading to MP&W recently celebrating one year, incident free.
His legacy also includes his efforts to diversify the Utility’s Generation portfolio, driving an initiative that led to the procurement of renewable energy from the South Fork Wind Farm, modeling the ideal way for municipal utilities to take advantage of renewable tax incentives while providing a sustainable energy source for MP&W for the next 20 years.