Get to know your local water service team…
Many of us turn on the tap without a thought. Even in the middle of the night, we draw a glass of water without flipping the light switch to check quality before drinking. At Illinois American Water, your local Peoria District team of 79 employees takes your trust in us and our role in the community seriously. Together, we have more than 2,150 years of experience and an average of 27 years of service.
Our business is water. It is the only job we do, and it’s what our employees specialize in. They are dedicated to making sure everyone has water when they need it, no matter what. Including times of 20-degree-below-zero weather with water flying everywhere, they work as safely and quickly as possible to restore water service to customers. At our plant, water service is monitored 24/7, 365 days a year including holidays.
We know it’s easy for those outside our industry to take water service for granted. It can also be easy to take our team’s dedication for granted. That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize just a few of my coworkers—your neighbors—who work tirelessly to ensure safe, reliable drinking water. Below are their personal thoughts on working at Illinois American Water.
A Committed Veteran
Juan Sanchez, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and 27-year Illinois American Water employee, sums up his commitment to customers as: “I serve my customers with the same passion as I served my country.”
Like many of his coworkers at the water treatment plant, Juan is a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399, and he says Illinois American Water is a good employer. “It’s a good place to work. They provide me with good benefits, and it’s a good atmosphere to work in.” He also appreciates the fact that the company emphasizes diversity. “This place does not discriminate,” he explains. “And, you know, diversity is a big thing in a company. You always will have diversity.”
Juan also speaks proudly about the management of the local water system. “They serve their customers very well, making sure that the drinking water customers get from their tap is safe at all times.” He says that high level of safety—combined with continuous water service—is why people can be confident in the local water service.
A Lifelong Volunteer
Carmela Johnson, a lifelong Peoria resident and Illinois American Water employee since 2009, agrees. When asked if she is proud to work for Illinois American Water, she answers, “Absolutely, because the company is honest in everything they do. They are straightforward with the service they provide, and I’m happy about that.”
She is also proud to contribute to such an important service. “As soon as you wake up in the morning, you expect that faucet to turn on. You expect your toilet to flush. You expect your shower to come on. Peorians know that as long as we provide that water, they are going to be happy with the service they receive.”
Carmela also helps lead the company’s efforts to give back to her community. In the past, she has volunteered to coordinate the local United Way and Water For People employee giving campaigns. “We care about others, so we try to reach out and provide sponsorships to organizations in the area,” she says. “I think that’s a great thing.”
A Production Expert
Kenny Gauf, production technician, has worked at the water treatment plant for 13 years and in the water industry for 26 years. He says he is proud to work at “one of the best companies in the industry.”
Prior to joining Illinois American Water, Kenny worked for a municipal-owned system, and he is direct when comparing the two. “I saw how they have to scrape by to get things done. Here, American Water invests money back into the system, and municipalities don’t do that. They wait until it’s broken or in disrepair.” He sums up the difference: “American Water is proactive, and municipalities are reactive.”
“You have to reinvest back into the water system to make sure it’s here for the next hundred years,” Kenny emphasizes. “It’s about being reliable. It’s about being sure that every time someone turns on a spigot, the water comes out, and that it’s good-quality water. If you don’t reinvest, you’re not going to have that.”
A Proud Servant
Dan Barrett, field service technician and a member of Laborers 165, also says he is “100-percent proud” to work for Illinois American Water. “I do enjoy working here. It does make you feel good when you can go out and help people, and you feel you can actually make a difference with customers.”
Last year, Dan organized a group of employees to visit Children’s Hospital of Illinois. “The company gave us an opportunity to go do something for the kids at the hospital, and also for the caregivers there, to thank them for the job they do,” he explains. “It’s something that was encouraged by the company, which was nice,” he says. “And I think all of the employees here are passionate about that.”
While space doesn’t allow us to feature every employee, I hope you get a sense of their pride in what they do and their commitment to you. Our employees truly are our greatest asset. iBi
Roger Goodson is senior manager of production and field services with Illinois American Water’s Northern Division.