Lee Orton, J.D., President of Orton Management Association in Lincoln, Nebraska, will receive the Ross L. Oliver Award from the National Ground Water Association
(NGWA). The Ross L. Oliver Award is NGWA’s most prestigious award and is presented to those who have made outstanding contributions to the groundwater industry.
The award will be presented to Mr. Orton at Groundwater Week
in Las Vegas on December 5, 2019.
After graduating law school, Orton began his career in the natural resources and groundwater industry by developing the State Water Plan of Nebraska in 1969. Shortly after, he became the first Executive Director of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts
(NARD) where he successfully managed the merging of 153 local government groups into 24 natural resource districts.
After a decade with NARD, Orton began his private law practice where he played a pivotal role in Nebraska's well drilling industry. Working with the Nebraska Well Drillers Association
, Orton would draft and help pass a new law through the Nebraska Legislature which created a well professional’s license and a state level governing board to oversee the licensing process.
Orton would go on to become the first Executive Director of the Nebraska Well Drillers Association where he would be hired by the state government to draft new rules and regulations of well drilling licensure.
"Lee has dedicated himself to protecting and conserving groundwater throughout his distinguished career," said Jane Griffin of the Groundwater Foundation, who worked closely with Lee for several years when he served as a member of the Foundation's board of directors. "What has moved him above and beyond is his passion for his work on behalf of groundwater."
Orton has long proved to be an invaluable resource and advocate for the groundwater industry. He was instrumental in the formation of NGWA’s Government Affairs Committee as well as organizing the first Washington, D.C. Fly-In which allowed NGWA members to directly lobby their lawmakers.
Orton remains one of NGWA’s strongest advocates in state and federal government affairs.
|Orton received the Kremer Award in 2011.|
"Lee has the aptitude and demeanor to bring those from all water disciplines – surface and groundwater, contractors, scientist, engineers, consultants, etc. together with regulators and politicians to navigate the legislative processes at the state and federal level for the wise and beneficial use of the resource. He has (still is) dedicated his entire career to the beneficial management of our most precious natural resource, water!' stated nominator Thomas Downey, CWD/PI, President of Downey Drilling Inc.
in Nebraska and Past President of NGWA.
Orton also received the Maurice Kremer Groundwater Achievement Award
from the Groundwater Foundation in 2011.