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A Look at Rick Dovey's Career as President of the ACUA

Jun 14, 2023


Rick Dovey will be retiring from his renowned career as President of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) after 33 years of service.

Rick Dovey is responsible for shaping ACUA into an award-winning, nationally recognized organization noted for its excellence in innovation, efficiency, and environmental stewardship.

Under Dovey’s visionary leadership, the ACUA has initiated several renewable energy and sustainability projects that have saved the ACUA and its ratepayers more than $25 million dollars and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 111,200 metric tons.

Projects include the construction of New Jersey’s first commercial wind farm that powers ACUA’s wastewater treatment facility in Atlantic City, South Jersey’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) station that fuels ACUA’s fleet of collection vehicles, a 500-kw solar project, and a renewable energy storage battery.

ACUA's Wastewater Treatment Facility in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In addition to these pioneering projects, the ACUA is currently embarking on a landfill gas to natural gas pipeline project with South Jersey Industries, a U.S. Department of Energy funded green hydrogen energy project that will use treated wastewater and renewable energy to create hydrogen power, and a community solar project funded by the NJBPU that will send power generated from solar panels on the landfill to residents served by the Pleasantville Housing Authority.

The ACUA is known for providing the regional community with exceptional solid waste, recycling, and wastewater management services. Its reputation for excellence transcends these essential services thanks to Dovey’s foresight to provide shared services to the community. Most notably, its regional trash and recycling collection system serves 24 municipalities throughout three counties.

Dovey’s investment in community relations and public education has contributed to the growth of recycling and sustainability in New Jersey. Thousands of guests from around the world visit the ACUA each year to learn about its renewable energy projects, wastewater, and solid waste facilities.

This dedication to the community is demonstrated most prominently during the ACUA’s annual Earth Day Festival, the largest and longest running in South Jersey.

ACUA's 31st Annual Earth Day Festival.

Dovey has served in leadership roles at numerous organizations, including the Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees, Stockton University Foundation Board of Directors, the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, the Cape Atlantic Conservation District, the Coastal Conservancy, the NJ Association of Conservation Districts, and others throughout his career.

Prior to joining ACUA, Dovey led the Atlantic County Regional Planning and Development Department and previously served as Manager of the Rutland County Solid Waste District in Vermont.

Dovey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies from Stockton University. He will officially retire from ACUA on July 1, 2023.

Dovey’s career has had a substantial impact in the South Jersey area and on the New Jersey environmental community. His dedication and accomplishments will serve as guidepost for environmental authorities for years to come.

Highlights and Reflections on 33 Years

Blank-800-x-500.pngRick Dovey is a gradute of Stockton University and is decorated with leadership roles at numerous environmental and community organizations.

Reflecting on his career, Dovey said the essential functions ACUA performs are the ones he is most proud of. 

“ACUA has successfully tackled two large environmental issues in this region – polluted waterways, and polluted groundwater. Our infrastructure and our systems have reversed this,” said Dovey.

“So much of what we do at the ACUA affects the community, and every step of the way we’ve worked to educate the public on recycling, water, and other environmental issues. Everyone has a role in protecting the environment, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done to spread that message,” he added.

Over the years of his career, Dovey has seen many changes across both the solid waste and wastewater sectors, and he believes the most exciting things are still to come.

“ACUA has always been on the leading edge of technologies that we need to effectively do our jobs," said Dovey.

"Looking ahead, it is exciting to see the advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics that are going to improve recycling, and we are not going to be stuck landfilling waste as we have been. I'm sure the ACUA and Atlantic County will be the leading force of this."

“On the wastewater side, we will recycle the effluent that we're putting into the ocean when the time and economics come together. It's a resource that can be recycled and returned to the environment,” he added.

Ultimately, Dovey says serving as President of the ACUA has taught him how much he depends on the staff and people he works with to make real change. 

“The employees of ACUA are a big inspiration, and seeing their willingness to evolve, learn and grow has been a true gift.”