Vermont Rural Water is governed by a five-person board of directors composed of representatives from member systems who are elected to serve three-year terms.

This year, three candidates are running for two seats. John Lazelle is seeking reelection; Anne Awad and Raymond Counter are new candidates. (Dick Desautels is leaving the board after many years of service.) Click each candidate’s name below to read their qualifications and statement.

Voting is open until April 26, 2023. Water and wastewater system members of Vermont Rural Water may vote once. Non-members and Associate members are not eligible to vote.


Anne Awad

System: Wallingford Fire District #1 (Highland Water Supply Assn)

Former co-owner of Amherst (MA) Environmental Testing Laboratory
Commissioner of South Hadley (MA) Electric Department (Chair for 3 years)
Selectboard, Amherst, for 9 years (Chair for 6)
President/CEO of community health center, 12 years (write and oversee federal grant monies of 10-20 million per year)
Regional director for MA Dept of Public Health (write and manage state and federal grant programs), 28 years

I would be honored to serve on the Board of VRWA. The Association has been very helpful to our aging small subsystem in Wallingford (which I serve as President). I would like to support statewide work to improve existing systems and encourage development of other systems. I am committed to safe drinking water for all and to the prudent use of water. Conservation of our water resources will be crucial for Vermont’s future.

Raymond Counter

System: Brandon Fire District #1

Water Superintendent since 1997 for Brandon Fire District #1
Awards he has received:
Tony Torchia Special Recognition Award, 2016
Water Facility Excellence Award, 2016
Water Operator Excellence Award, 2012
VT House of Representatives & VT Executive Department – Class II Water System Recognition, 2012
Governor’s Award For Environmental Excellence – Groundwater Source Protection Plan, 2014
Medium System Award – Exemplary Source Water Protection, 2013
Certificate of Achievement – Managing a Public Water System, 2000

Ray has been a dedicated and active member of the water community. He has overseen 8+ million-dollar infrastructure projects since 2016. Has been an active member in Vermont Rural Water for many years. He is also an active member of VT WARN.

John Lazelle

System: Town of Wilmington Wastewater

35 years Wastewater Operator (Grade 5)
12 years Water Operator (Class 3)
VRWA Board of Director 2019 – present
Volunteer Firefighter for 28 years

I would very much appreciate your vote for me to continue to serve you on the VRWA board of directors. I have been on the board since 2019, represented VRWA at the 2020 Washington, DC rally and at the WaterPro Conference in 2021. I am truly proud to be a part of this great association as both a member and a director. One of our industry’s greatest challenges is workforce development and retention and I will work with my fellow board members and the VRWA staff to do all that we can to assist our members on this subject and all other important issues that may arise in the future. Thank you!