Photo above: From boating to managing BJWSA, Ed Saxon knows his water (pictured with his wife Melanie).
True to his engineering education (he completed both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of South Carolina), Ed was thorough and articulate as he answered questions thrown at him from The Island News. The folks who are served by Beaufort Jasper Water and Sewer Authority can rest assured they are in good hands with Ed as General Manager.
Born and raised in Columbia, Ed joined BJWSA in 1989 as Chief Engineer. Prior to the move back to his home state, Ed worked all over the United States in both the petrochemical and nuclear fields. He eventually moved into sales, which kept him on the road 60 percent of the time. South Carolina was calling him home and Beaufort was the city that won him over. After serving as BJWSA Chief Engineer for 24 years, Ed was named GM in 2013.
According to Ed, “I was always interested in math and science and knew I wanted to be an engineer. I chose mechanical engineering because it touched most engineering disciplines. I was involved in plant operations and management during my time with DuPont and had the opportunity to get back into that field when I took the Chief Engineer job at BJWSA.”
BJWSA is a two-county special purpose district that provides water and sewer services to residents of Beaufort and Jasper counties with annual revenues of $50.6 million.
“At BJWSA, we consider ourselves public health professionals and we provide a critical life sustaining element—safe drinking water,” says Ed. “My personal philosophy mirrors BJWSA’s philosophy: always get it right the first time.”
Even though he’s a native South Carolinian, Ed says he loves Beaufort so much that when he sees his mother he fusses at her for not giving birth to him in Beaufort. “I love to hear the stories the native Beaufortonians tell (don’t know which ones are true) about growing up here,” he says.
Currently serving as the President of the South Carolina Water Quality Association, Ed is also a member of the Sea Island Rotary and serves as a Lector and Building Committee member at St. Peter’s Church, in addition to other clubs and organizations. His previous community service includes serving as the 2001 Water Festival Commodore (“The greatest festival ever,” he says), with which he still remains involved and lots of volunteer hours at the United Way.
He and his wife, Melanie, are the parents of three grown children and the proud grandparents of granddaughter Bailey. Ed and Melanie met in 1973 when he was in the U.S. Air Force and she was attending nursing school at the Mississippi State College for Women. They’ve been married 41 years.
Ed enjoys golfing, fishing and boating and says he recently celebrated the second happiest day in a boat owner’s life. “I sold the boat,” he laughs. “I’m looking for something a little smaller to put on the lift at my dock.”
He and Melanie will spend Christmas in Hawaii to visit their granddaughter (and their son and daughter-in-law, too, of course). He plans to work for three more years with “170 of the best employees in the world,” and then retire. He looks forward to volunteering and enjoying the city he loves – and maybe playing a bit with his two adorable dogs. Beaufort was indeed lucky to get the perfect engineer to look after BJWSA.