Mott retires after building on family legacy of city electrical service
Plaquemine Utility Director Frank Mott retired on July 31, ending more than 90 years and three generations of service in the city's electrical department, going back to his grandfather, Lloyd Hebert, who was a city lineman for his entire working career.
Mott's father, James R. Mott, was a foreman over the line crew, and retired as Assistant Supervisor of the Electrical Department after serving 29 years with the city. Frank Mott officially retired with 28 years of service, but had early career stints with the city that bring his years with the city to 35 years of service.
And, Frank Mott rose to positions of greater responsibility than his grandfather or his father. As Utility Director he was in charge of the city's electrical, water, natural gas and sewer systems, supervising between 21-25 people. He also was in charge of major improvement projects for the electrical system and the sewer system, both of which have already paid big benefits to the city.
MAJOR ELECTRICAL SYSTEM UPGRADES
He is most proud of the upgrades to the electrical system over the last four years, which have reduced outages by more than 70 percent! Among those projects, totaling some $6.6 million, were replacing the city's more than 40-year-old motor control center and replacing the almost 60-year-old substation transformer with a new 69 KV/115KV transformer.
Mott worked hard to "harden" the city's electrical lines to prevent outages in severe weather through aggressive pole replacement and tree trimming programs, which included installing more than 100 new steel and wood poles and numerous transformers. By reducing outages, the improvements also reduced overtime and improved response time to electrical issues.
At the same time Mott was overseeing these major electrical improvements, he was also overseeing the construction of the city's new wastewater treatment plant off La. Hwy. 1 south of Plaquemine, and the design and construction of five miles of iron poles and electrical wiring to provide power to the Iberville/Ochsner Medical Complex and the city's new wastewater treatment plant.
"That was a very busy and challenging time to have three major projects going on at once, but I enjoyed it," Mott said. "I have been fortunate that Mayor Gulotta and Mayor Reeves, along with the city Selectmen, trusted my judgment of what was needed and my ability to get the job done."
Besides the electrical system upgrades, Mott also oversaw the wastewater treatment plant construction, a $12 million project, and conversion of the W.W. Harleaux plant to a wastewater lift station, a $1 million project, all completed in the last four years.
EXPANDING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
Mott started his career as his father and grandfather did, as a lineman. He then was promoted to electrical maintenance, and was later put in charge of the Water Department after obtaining three water system certifications. He was again promoted to Assistant Utility Director under Ronnie Rockforte, and when Rockforte retired seven years ago, Mott took the director's position.
Of his most difficult times, Mott says recovery from Hurricane Gustav was the worst. "Power was out in some parts of the city for about five days," he said. "The damage to the electrical lines was incredible – it was like a bomb went off in St. Louis Subdivision. I didn't sleep for up to 75 hours – just cat naps in my truck."
Travis Bourgoyne, who had served as Assistant Utilities Director for the past year, was promoted as the new Utilities Director in June. While Mott has retired, he has offered to help the city with other projects, including increasing the capacity of the city's back-up water plant from 1,300 gallons a minute to 2,000 gallons a minute to accommodate the new subdivisions now coming on line in Plaquemine.
"Once these subdivisions are complete in a few years, they will add 400 homes to the city system. We need the additional capacity to handle that," he said.
"I want to thank Mayor Reeves, Mayor "Tony" Gulotta and the Selectmen for their support over the years," he said. "It's been a pleasure to serve the people of Plaquemine with them."
Contributed by City of Plaquemine