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Water Utility Hero of the Week, Dana Gutierrez, Otay Water District

This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Dana Gutierrez, Otay Water District Customer Service Representative II, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week-Otay Water District-Essential Workers

Water Utility Hero of the Week, Dana Gutierrez, Otay Water District

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Dana Gutierrez, Otay Water District Customer Service Representative II, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Dana Gutierrez

Job/Agency: Otay Water District Customer Service Representative II

How did you become interested in working in the water industry?

After several years working in a call center environment, it was time for a change in my career path. I had read a posting in a local publication for a customer service position with Otay and decided to test my luck. I was fortunate. Although there is so much more to absorb in the water industry, I was able to bring my customer service skills to a whole new level. The staff was so friendly and knowledgeable that I had no problems intercepting the traditions and behaviors of the District.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

Soon after the pandemic began, our lobby shut down and all staff was sent to work from home. It has been a major adjustment, but our IT staff has done an excellent job in providing us with the equipment and tools needed to complete our daily responsibilities. We are on a rotating schedule now, with only 2-3 reps in our office at a time while the rest of us work from home. We can communicate with one another via text, email, phone, or a video chat.

How are you keeping safe?

Otay has done an excellent job in providing staff with safety aids and tips on how to endure this pandemic. We have temperature kiosks in which we must have a temp scan prior to reporting to the building. The District has also installed several hand sanitizing stations and provided masks and gloves to staff when dealing with the public. While at home, it’s a simple practice of follow the guidelines and recommendations of the CDC.

What are you most looking forward to after the crisis ends?

It would be nice to be normal again. Just being able to socialize with family and friends again without the partition.

The Water Utility Hero of the Week highlights essential work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic by employees of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies.

San Diego County Water Authority Member Agency Map

Water Utility Hero of the Week, Sandra Louis, San Diego County Water Authority

This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Sandra Louis, San Diego County Water Authority Receptionist, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week-Sandra Louis-Essential Workers

Water Utility Hero of the Week, Sandra Louis, San Diego County Water Authority

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Sandra Louis, San Diego County Water Authority Receptionist, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Sandra Louis

Job/Agency: San Diego County Water Authority Receptionist

How did you become interested in working in the water industry?

I just had my second baby in March 2006 and I tried to be a stay-at-home mom, but I was restless. I applied with Volt Temp Services and was sent to work in a temporary, one month job as a receptionist for the Water Authority.  My one month was extended for another six months. Then, I applied for the full-time staff receptionist position in December 2006 and got the job. So, I would say the water industry was interested in me.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

I miss my co-workers, since most of the Water Authority staff are working remotely. Our main office in Kearny Mesa is closed to the public and delivery drivers have to buzz me from the outside before dropping packages at the front door. New safety protocols are in place for staff coming to the office, including temperature checks before entering the building. One change is that all staff entering the building now have to sign-in with me at the front desk and check out when they leave. Another change is the front reception desk where I work is now surrounded by clear, plexiglass shield barriers, also part of our pandemic safety protocols.

Sandra Louis-Water Utility Hero of the Week-San Diego County Water Authority

The San Diego County Water Authority reception desk, where Sandra Louis works, is surrounded by clear, plexiglass shield barriers, part of the safety protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

How are you keeping safe?

Wearing my face mask, washing my hands a lot more, cleaning the work area, and checking my temperature before coming into the building.

What are you most looking forward to after the crisis ends?

Spending time with my elder aunties and uncles, going to church, and going to events.

The Water Utility Hero of the Week highlights essential work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic by the San Diego County Water Authority and employees of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies.

San Diego County Water Authority Member Agency Map

Water Utility Hero of the Week, Emily Fleming, Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Emily Fleming, Padre Dam Municipal Water District Customer Service Representative, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Wastewater Treatment Operator Featured As ‘Water Utility Hero’

Last week Escondido’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, Carrie Selby was featured as the Water Utility Hero of the Week by the San Diego County Water Authority SDCWA. Shelby was interviewed for the Water News Network and talked about her career and work life during the pandemic.

Emily Fleming-Padre Dam MWD-Water Utility Hero of the Week-Essential Workers

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Emily Fleming, Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Emily Fleming, Padre Dam Municipal Water District Customer Service Representative, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Emily Fleming

Job/Agency: Padre Dam Municipal Water District Customer Service Representative

How did you become interested in working in the water industry?

Nearly ten years ago, after a long and successful career in retail banking, I fell victim to a series of armed robberies over a two-year period. These violent encounters took a toll and made me seriously consider a career change. A conversation with an acquaintance led me to explore the possibility of working at Padre Dam. There was so much to learn about the water industry, however the staff and management at Padre Dam made me feel right at home and they were supportive during the entire process. Working with the public and providing the best customer service possible is second nature to me. I strive to make each encounter personal and informative.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

Not long after the pandemic started we began alternating work schedules in the Customer Service Department. Some people work from home, and we have a minimal staff at the administrative office. Our IT staff did a phenomenal job of ensuring we had everything we needed to work from home. To most of our customers, the transition has been seamless. We have worked out most of the bugs since then and now it has become second nature to our department.

How are you keeping safe?

My husband does all the grocery shopping for the family and I so appreciate that, it minimizes the exposure for me. Padre Dam meets all the safety requirements and more when I’m not working from home. We like to support the mom and pop shops so we order food to go now and then. Finally yet equally important, I wear my mask and wash my hands regularly to protect my friends and family.

What are you most looking forward to after the crisis ends?

I get emotional when I talk about this one. I became a grandmother on February 26, 2020, to a beautiful baby boy.  He was only 3 weeks old when the shutdowns started. Although his parents are great about sending pictures and videos, it is not quite the same. I am most looking forward to holding him, and watching him grow and play without the fear of getting sick. I cannot wait!

The Water Utility Hero of the Week highlights essential work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic by employees of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies.

San Diego County Water Authority Member Agency Map

Water Utility Hero of the Week, LaMont Foster, Santa Fe Irrigation District

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. LaMont Foster, Santa Fe Irrigation District Utility Worker I, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week-Santa Fe Irrigation District-LaMont Foster

Water Utility Hero of the Week: LaMont Foster, Santa Fe Irrigation District

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. LaMont Foster, Santa Fe Irrigation District Utility Worker I, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: LaMont Foster

Job/Agency: Santa Fe Irrigation District Utility Worker I

How did you become interested in working in the water industry?

I’ve had a few careers before working here at Santa Fe. After being laid off from a job I was at for more than 20 years, I was working as a bus driver for a school district. Someone had mentioned the water and wastewater internship managed by the San Diego County Water Authority. I applied and was accepted and worked with some great people at Otay and Helix and transitioned to a full-time job at SFID. I really enjoy working in the water industry. Water puts everyone on the same level. We all need it, and we all appreciate it even more when there is a problem getting it.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

We used to drive around in crews of two together, but we drive separately now. We are also moving around the building a little differently and changing reporting times so there are fewer people in one place at a time, but other than that, the work is the same. We respond to customer concerns, fix what needs to be fixed and keep our maintenance schedule.

How are you keeping safe?

I’ve got some high-risk people in my family, so I am doing what I can to limit my exposure to people and going places. Just me and the family at the house and I am always sure to mask up. It’s important.

What are you most looking forward to after the crisis ends?

My life isn’t all that much different, but I really look forward to taking my wife and son out for a nice meal and enjoying ourselves. Not be worried or anxious about the people around me. I am really looking forward to that.

The Water Utility Hero of the Week highlights essential work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic by employees of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies.

San Diego County Water Authority Member Agency Map

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Carrie Selby, City of Escondido

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the corona virus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Carrie Selby, City of Escondido Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.