Chesney Wins NUCA’s Ditchdigger of the Year Award

The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) proudly awarded former chairman Fred Chesney their prestigious “Ditchdigger of the Year” Award, honoring his decades of industry experience and his years of work supporting NUCA’s programs. 

Fred Chesney of Centerline Utilities in Florida, shown here speaking at the 2017 NUCA Convention, was named the 2021 Ditchdigger of the Year.

“Fred has passionately dedicated his time, talent and treasure to promoting NUCA and the industry for more than 30 years,” said Doug Carlson, NUCA Chief Executive Officer. “With his many years of commitment, it would be next to impossible to list all of Fred’s contributions to advancing the underground utility industry over the years, but Fred has made his mark on this industry and our association.”

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Chesney has dedicated his entire life to the underground utility industry. Chesney earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in Building Construction Management before starting his business Centerline Utilities Inc. four years later. He founded Centerline in 1980 and continued to serve as the company’s president until his retirement last year.

Under Chesney’s management, Centerline became a well-respected underground utility contractor located in the South Florida area. The company joined the local chapter NUCA of South Florida (then known as the Utility Contractors Association of South Florida) in 1986 and has been involved since then on the local, state, and national levels.

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Chesney has been long involved in the industry’s associations, including on his local industry chapter. He served on that chapter’s board of directors beginning in 1989, and before assuming the chairman’s title for NUCA served as the national association’s Chairman-elect, Vice Chairman, and Secretary, and as a Contractor director since the early 2010s.

His industry accomplishments are numerous, proving his dedication to the utility contractors’ local and national associations over the last 40 years. Chesney’s Centerline Utility was named his local chapter’s Member Company of the Year in 2009 and 2010; Contractor of the Year in 2010, 2012, and 2014; and NUCA of Florida Contractor of the Year in 2016. He has been a major sponsor of his chapter’s events, actively recruits new member to the association, and has been an ever-present participant to NUCA’s Washington Summit lobbying events, national conventions, and industry meetings.

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Most recently, Chesney served as the past chairman of NUCA National in 2020-21. He led the organization through the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and through his leadership expanded the ranks of the National Association with his NUCA+1 membership growth initiative. His knowledge of this industry and loyalty to NUCA is unmatched.

This national award is awarded to a NUCA contractor member who has made a significant contribution to NUCA and the underground utility construction and excavation industry. The 2021 “Ditchdigger of the Year” Award was presented to Chairman Chesney at the association’s Annual Meeting held in March of this year in San Antonio, Texas.

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NUCA Ditchdiggers of the Year

1971 – Peter Ellis, Rockville, MD

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1972 – Joe D’Annunzio, Scotch Plains, NJ

1973 – Sam Luciano, Hazlet, NJ

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1974 – Fred Campagni, Cortland, NY

1975 – William Feather, Marlton, NJ

1976 – David Shevock, Dover, DE

1977 – Leonard Genghini, Elkins Park, PA

1978 – John Felton, Missoula, MT

1979 – Robert Griffith, Aldie, VA

1980 – Rick Egge, Woodinville, WA

1981 – D.A. Foster, Merifield, VA

1982 – Joe Corrado, New Castle, DE

1983 – Loretta Simmons, Rochester, NY

1984 – Vic DiGeronimo, Independence, OH

1985 – Leon Asadoorian, Salem, NH

1986 – Bill Burgett, Fredericktown, OH

1987 – Ben Luster, Tucson, AZ

1988 – Ed Cruz, Holmdel, NJ

1989 – Harold Ruf, Pleasant Grove, UT

1990 – Jay Matricciari, Baltimore, MD

1991 – Andy Mayta, Palm Harbor, FL

1992 – Gerry Kenny, Wheeling, IL

1993 – Harold Mueller, New Berlin, WI

1994 – Delaine Nelson, New Berlin, WI

1995 – Mark Harris, Lake Mary, FL

1996 – Richard Foster, Newtown, PA

1997 – Tom Henkels, New Berlin, WI

1998 – Mark Accetturo, Fairburn, GA

1999 – Jim Barron, Baltimore, MD

2000 – Jim Stutler, Denver, CO

2001 – Steve Theis, Rolling Meadows, IL

2002 – James King Jr., Conyers, GA

2003 – Greg Strudwick, Copell, TX

2004 – Lyle Schellenberg, Salem, OR

2005 – Terry Dillon, West Lafayette, IN

2006 – Cheryl Yoder, Jacksonville, FL

2007 – Larry Fortin, Las Vegas, NV

2008 – Jim Giannelli, Albuquerque, NM

2009 – Glenn Ely, Newtown, PA

2010 – Ryan Schmitt, Jacksonville, FL

2011 – Dan East, Dallas, TX

2012 – Ryan Schmitt, Jacksonville, FL

2013 – Jeff Rumer, Denver, CO

2014 – Florentino Gregorio, Washington, D.C.

2015 – Warren Graves, Roanoke, Texas

2016 – Bruce Wendorf, Punta Gorda, FL

2017 – Ryan Kinning, Pender, NE

2018 – Kara Habrock, Omaha, NE

2019 – Mark Fuglevand, Bellevue, WA

2020 – Dan Buckley, Chantilly, VA

2021 – Fred Chesney, Palm City, FL