Florida Water Services team wins Top Ops statewide competition for fourth straight year

A team of Florida Water Services operators from Central Florida has won the statewide Top Ops Challenge at the Florida Water Resources conference for the fourth consecutive year.

ORLANDO, Fla., April 27, 2001 — A team of Florida Water Services operators from Central Florida has won the statewide "Top/Ops Challenge" at the Florida Water Resources conference for the fourth consecutive year.

By winning the statewide competition, Florida Water's team earned the chance to recapture the national championship it held in 1999. The national championship will be held at the American Water Works Association Conference in June in Washington, D.C.

The Florida Water team of operators includes Glenn Whitcomb and Jim Smith, Deltona, and Jim Hogan and Pete Roussell, serving the community of Palm Coast. The team was coached by Dave Denny, Central Region Manager, Deltona.

By winning the state contest, the team won the right to represent all Florida water utilities in the national championship.

"We are extremely proud of our team," said John Cirello, President and CEO, Florida Water Services. "Winning this challenge took a great deal of preparation and dedication on the part of each team member. Their effort reflects well on the level of professionalism and talent that our operators demonstrate every day on the job in making sure that our customers receive the finest service possible."

The "Top/Ops Challenge" tests the knowledge of plant operators from different utilities, both public and private, in a "College Bowl-" type match. Teams vie for the championship by answering a variety of questions related to plant operations, safety standards, maintenance and regulations. The team correctly answering the most questions advances through preliminary rounds to reach the championship match.

Florida Water Services (www.florida-water.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of ALLETE (NYSE: ALE - news; www.allete.com), has more than 30 years' experience serving Florida citizens and communities, such as the treatment and distribution of drinking water and the treatment of wastewater. More than 500,000 Floridians in 27 counties rely on Florida Water Services.

Florida Water's parent company, ALLETE Water Services, is also the holding company for Heater Utilities, North Carolina's largest investor-owned water and wastewater company; Georgia Water Services; U.S. Maintenance and Management; Instrumentation Services Inc.; and Americas' Water Services Corporation.

ALLETE is a multi-services company with corporate headquarters in Duluth, Minn. Holdings include the second largest wholesale automobile auction network in North America; the leading provider of independent auto dealer inventory financing; the largest investor-owned water utilities in Florida and North Carolina; significant real estate holdings in Florida; and a low-cost electric utility that serves some of the largest industrial customers in the United States.

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