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. Michelle McMahon, Olivenhain Municipal Water District IT Coordinator, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.
Water Utility Hero of the Week: Michelle McMahon
Job/Agency: Olivenhain Municipal Water District IT Coordinator
How did you become interested in working in the water industry?
I worked long hours in a previous career, feeling unappreciated, and heard that OMWD was a great place to work. Best professional change I ever made! I feel that my work has a positive impact within OMWD. What I do matters to the people I support and the ratepayers we serve. It has been good for my work/life balance.
How has your job changed during the pandemic?
Things got crazier. Then it calmed down as it settled into the new normal. Equipment became difficult to purchase. Deliveries, especially those coming from China (computers and their components), took what felt like a lifetime. Purchasing, programming, deploying equipment, and training end-users were a priority. Everything was (and still is) sanitized repeatedly. Remote support has become prominent, even for users located on-site. End users are more understanding of what it takes to make their computers, cell phones, tablets, and desk phones working properly.
How are you keeping safe?
I have acquired a collection of nearly 100 personal masks and a dozen OMWD masks! I have hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes easily accessible. OMWD has placed these items throughout for everyone’s use. I try to help people remotely from my computer whenever possible. I disinfect my workspace each day and other workstations with every support call.
What are you most looking forward to after the crisis ends?
I look forward to the new normal. I am curious what the “new normal” will be. This really is an unprecedented time. I think it will be a hybrid of “before the pandemic” and “during the pandemic” for some time, perhaps years. I look forward to spending time with friends, sharing their joy of finally returning to work, and being free to get my hair or nails done whenever I would like!
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.