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McNeil joins Stanley Consultants to boost consulting, design services in Arizona water market

untitled.pngPhoenix – Stanley Consultants, a worldwide provider of engineering, environmental and construction services, has hired longtime municipal water utility executive David McNeil to spearhead client services in Arizona.

McNeil will serve Stanley Consultants as client service manager for the Arizona market and select other clients. McNeil served 19 years at City of Tempe Water Utilities, including a position as acting deputy public works director. Having also provided executive leadership for an investor-owned group of utilities, McNeil brings both public and private utility experience to the role.

McNeil said he will improve Stanley Consultants’ visibility in the industry, including at conferences and other events.

“I recognize that some consultants in the Arizona market have a robust presence in industry circles and some don’t. Stanley Consultants hasn’t had a lot of visibility. Our Water Market Leader Guy Carpenter has a vision for moving us from having a sustainable market presence to being more of a leader,” McNeil said.

Although the pandemic has put a crimp on “getting in the room,” McNeil participates in virtual happy hours and meetings and said he’s getting a lot of face time on the computer screen.

“I’ve been in municipal and private utilities for over 20 years and at regulatory agencies 6 years before that,” McNeil said. “What I’ve found is that establishing solid and trusting relationships with industry and utility partners is the foundation for success.”

McNeil will concentrate on consulting and design services for utilities, and team with fellow client service manager Jay Horak, who will focus on construction management.

“David is one of those rare individuals who understand the water quality and quantity regulatory structure all of our clients in Arizona have to work within,” Carpenter said. “He knows what keeps our clients up at night, understands municipal and investor-owned utility concerns and business practices and is an excellent communicator.”

McNeil identified three major issues his clients wrestle with: An aging infrastructure, attracting and retaining talent in both technological and operational roles and deploying innovative technologies.

“While there’s a dire need for infrastructure repair and replacement, there’s also a growing interest and involvement from ratepayers to keep rates affordable. Utilities are having to be savvier about spacing investments strategically in order to achieve sustainable infrastructure goals,” he said.

McNeil also sites labor shortages as a growing utility challenge that takes foresight to overcome.

“Our industry has been talking about the impending baby boomer retirements for years, but future staffing often takes a back seat to more present issues. Well here we are today putting high-paying operator jobs on the street and only getting one or two qualified applicants.”

McNeil cites new benefit structures, technological innovations, organizational restructurings and industry-wide outreach to promote the water trades as the most obvious remedies.

Not only will utilities need technological innovation but also program management and regulatory innovation. Technology requires investment and long-term commitment. Getting momentum at a political level to commit to tech that might take 10 years to deploy is challenging, McNeil said. However, technology can help bridge some of the gaps in the labor market, and deploying infrastructure more efficiently helps save costs in the long run.

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About Stanley Consultants: Stanley Consultants provides program management, planning, engineering, environmental and construction services worldwide. Recognized for its commitment to client service and a passion to make a difference, Stanley Consultants brings global knowledge, experience and capabilities to serve federal, municipal and industrial clients in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Since 1913, Stanley Consultants has successfully completed more than 25,000 engagements in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and in 110 countries. For more information on Stanley Consultants, please visit http://www.stanleyconsultants.com.

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