It’s fundamental to our culture, and our employees do so with joy and enthusiasm.
The water industry calls to a certain kind of individual—someone who enjoys caring for others and giving back. Our employees know water service doesn’t take a day off for holidays or during extreme weather. In fact, this is usually when our team is the busiest. Our employees work around the clock to ensure water service to their neighbors and are dedicated to monitoring water quality 24/7, including holidays.
Making a Difference
The work our team performs is as complex as it is rewarding. Every day, our team makes a difference by providing a service necessary for life and critical to public health and safety.
Pam Ingersoll-Goede, water quality supervisor for the Peoria, Pekin and Lincoln service areas, says, “What I enjoy most about my job is knowing I am making a difference. It’s not just pulling in numbers and running instruments. It's actually about making a difference in people's lives by making sure their water is clean and safe. I don’t take that responsibility lightly.”
At Illinois American Water, our employees have more than a job. They have a purpose. It is no surprise many choose to contribute to the communities we serve in other meaningful ways. Our employees give back by volunteering their time, resources and expertise to neighborhood organizations, charitable activities, local boards and much more.
Pam is a merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts and helps local scouts earn badges in water conservation, environmental science and sustainability. She is also a volunteer for Junior Achievement of Central Illinois at Oak Grove East Elementary School in Bartonville, teaching first-graders about business and community. And during last year’s annual Illinois River Sweep, Pam and her family helped remove debris from the Illinois River.
But Pam is just one example of the many employees who give back. Juan Sanchez, production technician, volunteers with Boy Scouts Troop 88. Earlier this year, they helped provide free drinking water during the IHSA March Madness Experience. Steve Martin, field service technician, and his family help plan and coordinate the Susan G. Komen Shoot for the Cure. Ken Gauf, another production technician, coaches both of his sons and their traveling baseball teams. Dan Barrett, field service technician and a member of Laborers’ Local 165, leads the company’s annual AmerICANs in Action Month of Giving Program in September. The group raises funds and donates toys to the Children’s Hospital of Illinois.
Countless others volunteer at their neighborhood groups, churches and throughout the community. To support their efforts, American Water established the American Water Charitable Foundation (AWCF). The primary focus of the Foundation is to support employees in their own charitable endeavors, as well as provide support for disaster relief and funding for initiatives related to clean water, conservation, education and community sustainability. During the last four years, American Water employees have submitted 1,700 volunteer and matching gift applications on behalf of their chosen public charities. In recognition of those efforts, the Foundation has provided matching gifts of $462,000 to those same organizations, and thousands more for disaster relief.
The AWCF also supported the Illinois River Canoe and Kayak Trail, which was completed by union volunteers, including Illinois American Water employees. The sweat equity of skilled union workers was essential in creating the trail, which provides several scenic stations along the Illinois River for paddlers to use as launch points or rest stops. The water trail winds down from Henry to Pekin. The stations have flood-resistant benches and acknowledgment signs with attached eyelets for tethering small watercraft.
Grants and Giving
Building strong communities that are vibrant places to live, work and play is hard work… and one of the most important things Illinois American Water does. The company’s corporate giving program focuses on partnering with local organizations to positively impact the overall quality of life where our employees and neighbors live and work.
We offer Environmental Grants for innovative, community-based projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds. Since 2009, over $175,000 has been contributed to over 45 Illinois water protection projects. Our Firefighter Grant program allows us to support our local heroes with funds for personal protective gear, communications equipment, firefighter tools, training materials and more. To date, over 350 grants totaling over $342,000 has been awarded to firefighters across the state.
Illinois American Water also works to ensure our customers don’t have to experience an interruption in water service due to financial hardship. Our customer assistance program, H2O Help to Others, is funded by the company and customers who choose to make a voluntary contribution. The Salvation Army administers the program, which has provided about $434,000 across the state to 3,986 Illinois households over the past five years.
Giving back is fundamental to our culture, and our employees do so with joy and enthusiasm. Providing outstanding service—and helping make our communities better—is the Illinois American Water way. iBi
Roger Goodson is Senior Manager, Production and Field Services, Northern Division at Illinois American Water.