Learn about the work and the skilled workers that keep EBMUD's water and wastewater systems flowing. Follow us on Twitter @ebmud to see our regular employee profiles.
Steven, Senior Mechanic
Committing to quality.
Steven supervises and manages the workload of 16 mechanics that maintain EBMUD’s extensive fleet of heavy equipment. How extensive? EBMUD has approximately 1200 vehicles, and half are larger than a pickup truck (like construction vehicles and dump trucks). Steven puts it this way: “Anything with dual wheels in the back, that’s in my shop.”
Steven has been with EBMUD for 14 years and a supervisor for 12 of those years. It can be a challenge to manage so many staff in multiple locations, from Oakland, to Stockton, to the Pardee reservoir in the Sierra foothills. But what makes it easier is this: “We hire great talent – the cream of the crop. We don’t take shortcuts. We fix what needs to be fixed, and as a result, our vehicles are less likely to break down when they're needed on a water main break.”
Steven says EBMUD provides many tools for staff to learn new skills. He's a graduate of EBMUD’s leadership academy, a member of the Public Fleet Supervisors Association, and belongs to the District’s toastmasters club.
“There are many things that you can do here to better yourself—both your career and personally.”
Scott, Water Conservation Representative
Mastering the art of water efficiency.
Scott has dedicated his career to helping individuals, companies and landscape professionals become better stewards of a precious resource: water.
As an experienced landscape architect, 18 years ago he designed a water efficient landscape and irrigation plan for an East Bay homeowners association who installed significant upgrades to improve their outdoor water use and got an EBMUD rebate for their efforts. “It may be easy to glue pipes together, but it’s challenging to create an efficient design.” He appreciated the District’s efforts to spur on conservation – and that’s when he decided to work for EBMUD.
Now, Scott leads an EBMUD partnership with landscape industry professionals who share the same passion: engaging and teaching others about water efficiency. He reviews plans for new construction to ensure they meet strict guidelines and leads workshops for do-it-yourselfers and professionals on drip irrigation and irrigation scheduling. “Water conserving landscapes benefit us in more ways than saving water. They can add habitat, improve air and water quality plus save energy.”
Scott never tires of looking for a better way.
“I want to connect with people to share what I know, to learn together, and to help the environment.”
Louis, Paving Crew Foreman
Smoothing the way.Louis directs a paving crew of seven people, strategically planning the routing and scheduling of paving so East Bay residents can drive, bike, and walk over streets where pipe repairs or main breaks have recently taken place.
Louis occasionally drives over areas that he helped pave 25 years ago when he was first hired as a laborer with EBMUD. He shows the still-intact paving to his wife and children “like we’re on a field trip.” He’s happiest when working outdoors and in the field, where he interacts with EBMUD customers and the general public. Those interactions are almost universally positive: “People say thank you for fixing the street and the sidewalk.”
Louis says the best things about working for EBMUD are the friendships he’s built with people working at all levels of the organization. He points out that most of the paving foremen started out together as laborers, then rakers, before making foreman. He enjoys seeing his younger staff advance to the next level positions.
“It’s the greatest experience seeing people develop and grow.”
Tony, Manager of Facility Maintenance & Construction
Jumping in with both feetTony manages a division of 160 tradespeople: carpenters, electrical technicians, instrument technicians, machinists, painters, gardeners, facility specialists, and janitors. The group maintains the operations of District facilities – keeping them reliable and operational and getting them back online quickly and efficiently when they fail. He welcomes the daily challenges – “I don’t call them problems” – because with well-qualified staff and the right equipment, EBMUD is able to take on and manage the wide variety of challenges that come with providing water to 1.4 million people.
Tony came to EBMUD from General Electric 15 years ago as an assistant engineer in EBMUD’s electrical design group. He admits he had heard some negative things about public employees, but was quickly impressed by his EBMUD colleagues – “great people who love their jobs” – in operations, engineering, field work, and throughout the organization.
“I jumped in with both feet and never looked back.”
Mackenzie, Plant Maintenance Worker II
Improving the “underground forest.”
Mackenzie is in her first year at EBMUD and is already moving on up. Originally hired out of Oakland’s Laney College as a machinist and welder, she’s now apprenticing with experienced wastewater workers on her way to achieving a journeyman level in the trades.
Mackenzie is fascinated by what she calls the “underground forest” – the pipes and pumping systems that make the East Bay’s wastewater plant work. She still does a lot of welding to fix or modify equipment, but also spends her days learning how to improve (and in some cases overhaul) the valves and chemical systems in wastewater pumping stations and wet weather stations throughout the Bay Area.
Mackenzie is learning firsthand about how wastewater solids are removed, treated and reused— including the process to convert waste into energy. She lives near the wastewater plant and now feels more connected to the town she calls home.
“There’s a whole city under the city that no one ever sees – it makes me think about space very differently.”
Laura, Manager of Pipeline Construction & Equipment
Solving problems every day.
Laura spends her days managing EBMUD’s pipeline construction crews, ensuring pipeline replacements and road restorations stay on track. With 4,200 miles of pipe in the EBMUD water distribution system, Laura’s team – which includes plumbers, pavers, heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, and equipment maintenance techs – is always on the move.
Laura’s job is a juggling act that comes with construction work: managing nine crews, keeping materials and equipment fully utilized and moving, and addressing challenges that crop up. (Can’t get 40-foot pipe on a truck up that street? How about by helicopter?) She also ensures our work is coordinated with the cities, counties, other agencies, and public that are nearby.
Laura believes in her crews and knows that EBMUD can always find a solution that works for all and is in the best interest of our customers.