City of Pawhuska Utilities Director Bill Bruce was recently selected to receive an award for meritorious service from the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma.

In presenting Bruce with the Hicks-Middleton Meritorious Service Award, MESO Executive Director Tom Rider pointed out that Bruce “has been an important part of city of Pawhuska’s success” for more than 25 years.

“His willingness to do whatever is necessary provides a shining example of true professionalism to anyone serving in a municipal utility,” Rider said of Bruce, one of two plant operators at the municipal light plant.

The position of utilities’ director requires Bruce to step into many roles in order to ensure that local citizens are served, the MESO official said. Bruce’s background in electric distribution — combined with his knowledge of water and wastewater operations — puts him in the unique position of being both a “doer” and a “teacher,” which allows Pawhuska’s younger workforce to develop and grow, Rider added.

One Sunday last February, Bruce was found to be out reading meters, just to make sure the billing goes out on time, according to the MESO director.

“Few citizens are aware of (Bruce’s) commitment to Pawhuska, as most of his efforts are behind the scenes – in alleyways and holes in the ground,” Rider said, adding that all local citizens and visitors benefit from his dedication.

Bruce’s commitment to his profession doesn’t stop at the city limits. In addition to the heavy workload in his home town, he also serves on the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority’s Energy Services, CUP Oversight, and Planning & Operations committees. Bruce also is the president-elect of Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma, Rider added.

The award is named for two of MESO’s original Board members, Marvin Hicks of Tahlequah and Al Middleton of Pryor, who had nearly 80 years of combined service to their communities.

MESO is a state association of municipally-owned electric utilities which provide electric service to more than 400,000 residents in 63 Oklahoma communities.