Shelly Underwood is a Technical Assistance Provider for the Midwest Assistance Program (MAP) in Kansas. She has been with the organization for 2.5 years, starting in 2018.
Prior to MAP, Shelly spent 8+ years as a City Clerk for a rural community in Southeast Kansas. While working as City Clerk, she obtained her class 1 drinking water certification through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment; from then on she performed both clerical and operational duties for the city. She gained experience in grant writing, grant administration, municipal managerial and financial operations, performing rate analyses, developing municipal budgets, and a vast amount of knowledge pertaining to EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act Regulations.
When asked about her favorite part about working in the RCAP Network, Shelly responded, “It is tremendously rewarding to be apart of the RCAP family. Daily, we are allowed and encouraged to reach out to our rural communities offering a helping hand when they need it most. The majority of our rural communities are staffed with part-time employees who work an additional full-time job to financially provide for their families. Due to limited resources, whether its time, education, financial constraints, etc., many rural communities are deteriorating on a daily basis.”
Additionally, she goes on to speak about the best part of her job being, “the sincere appreciation expressed by City Clerks, Operators, Mayors, Board Members and others when we are able to assist them in accomplishing their long-term goal, which always feels just beyond their fingertips. Safe potable drinking water is one of the most basic staples of life and I feel is overlooked and underappreciated too much in this country. Rural communities are in dire need of assistance when it comes to both water and wastewater infrastructure repair and/or replacement.” Shelly said she was honored to be a small part in securing our quality of life for future years to come.
Shelly’s hope is to continue providing technical assistance for rural American communities throughout the Midwest, assisting them through the everyday struggles they are faced with. Whether it’s applying for loans and grant financial assistance through various state and federal agencies in an effort to replace their dilapidated water or wastewater infrastructure, or providing education and on-site operator training. Ultimately, her goal and desire is to assist in building human infrastructure which is necessary to achieve self-sustainability for our rural communities while revitalizing and securing our quality of life.
Thank you, Shelly, for all of the hard work and dedication you’ve shown to improve rural quality of life, starting at the tap.