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Rebirth of MSD of Greater Cincinnati—Strategic Planning as a Prime Mover

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During the decade of the 1990's, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD-GC) underwent a great many changes driven by both internal and external factors. Certainly, all wastewater utilities had been forced to respond to competitive pressures, regulatory mandates and ever more demanding federal directives. But at MSD-GC, major internal conflicts and continual replacement of one Director with another were making it even more difficult for the organization to handle the issues facing it. MSDGC had lost its status as a proactive, national leader in utilities management, to become a reactive permit holder with little or no strategic direction.

This paper demonstrates how the District utilized a dynamic strategic planning process to move out of ‘react’ mode and resume its role as a national leader. While strategic planning is not a new concept, the active inclusion of stakeholder input as a prime move, in a utility, is. Many speak of the value of stakeholders' views, but few have used this group as effectively as MSD-GC has. This enhanced approach to strategic planning has not only driven significant organizational changes in planning, engineering and customer service, but has also resulted in restructured capital improvement processes and more meaningful training for MSD's 650 environmental professionals.

The use of a comprehensive, step-by-step strategic planning process, spearheaded by the inclusion of both internal and external stakeholder feedback, has allowed the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati to turn a very important corner. Due to this rigorous effort, MSD has once again a clear direction for the future and is regaining its position as a national leader among public utilities in the United States.

The process described in this paper can be used by other utilities to enhance their operations and further their pursuit of excellence in protecting water quality and the public health.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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