PHENIX CITY — Troy University has tapped the former President of the Columbus Water Works, Billy Turner, to head the new Center for Water Resource Economics which will be housed at the University's new Phenix City riverfront campus.
Turner, who has more than 50 years of water resource management experience in both the public and private sectors, will guide the new center's research into the economic impact of water in the region as well as the issue of shared-water and the policies surrounding it.
“Our vision is that the Center for Water Resource Economics will become the predominant institution in the region dedicated to the use of economic tools in addressing water resource issues and in archiving important water resource information," Turner said.
Turner was announced as the center's founding director during an event on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the Chattahoochee River Club in Columbus.
The center will be part of the University's Sorrell College of Business. Dr. Judson Edwards, Dean of the College of Business, said Turner's expertise will help the center become a leading voice in water resource issues throughout the region.
“This new center has a great opportunity to make a difference not only with what's happening locally in the [Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint] system, but across the Southeast," Edwards said.
Turner began his career with the Tennessee Valley Authority and later worked in the pulp and paper industry, and then as a CEO of Water Utilities in Spartanburg, S.C. Turner served for 20 years as President of the Columbus Water Works. Upon retirement in 2009, Turner turned his attention to consulting and volunteer work, including the Chattahoochee River Restoration Project and the ACF Stakeholders Inc., an organization dedicated to the development of a sustainable water management plan for the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint Rivers.
The Center for Water Resource Economics will be a repository for documents related to water resource issues across the region and will study the impact of water policy, economic analysis of water system operations, water transportation, water-based recreation development and environmental economics. It joins other “Centers for Excellence" hosted by TROY through the College of Business, including the Johnson Center for Political Economy and the Center for International Business and Economic Development.
The Center for Water Resource Economics will be located inside TROY's new four-story academic building currently under construction on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Phenix City. The project is expected to be completed by February 2015.