Thoughts

A place for education, information, and insights about the water industry.

Topics: utility culture

The Retirement Wave is Coming: How will you manage?

August 13, 2019
| By Ali Barsamian
Our lives run on water. It is hard to imagine a day without a steady flow and luckily, in America it is rare we have to consider the possibility. For that security, we must be thankful for the hard-working water utility professionals that spend their days ensuring we have continued access to safe and reliable drinking water. These professionals play a vital role in protecting public health. And for this reason, maintaining a consistent and reliable workforce is incredibly crucial. Thus, a substantial wave of impending retirements in an industry facing recruiting challenges should be cause for concern.
 
It is projected that in the next 10 years, 37 percent of the water utility workers will retire . This is a substantial percentage of the workforce needing to be replenished.  As a result, utility senior management must be prepared to do one of two things: do more with less and/or implement programs that will help them to attract and
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Topics: Customer Stories

Changing a Risk-Averse Culture

February 6, 2018
| By Ella Kobelt

How do you shift a risk-averse culture to adopt new thinking? In a recent WaterSide Chat, WaterSmart featured three industry leaderswho have earned reputations for being innovators in the water industry: Patricia Mulroy, Ed Archuleta, and George Hawkins. While they ran very different utilities facing their own unique challenges, each leader tackled change and attributed their achievements to collaborative management approaches internally, while emphasizing the value of forming partnerships externally.

When Hawkins first started with DC Water (he recently retired as General Manager and CEO), the organization faced low customer satisfaction and virtually no stakeholder support. He recognized the importance of communication between customers, staff, engineers, and local politicians. Hawkins set out to change company communications and took on his employees’ priorities as his own. As Hawkins put it, “they had to understand, change

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