Each year, the North Texas Municipal Water District recognizes its employees who exemplify the organization’s core values of integrity, trust, respect, unity, safety, and teamwork. This annual award is given to an outstanding employee to commemorate and memorialize the 28 years of dedicated service of a former executive director, Carl W. Riehn. The District also began a new recognition program in 2020 for teams who go above and beyond routine tasks.
The winners were announced during the Holiday Party in December 2022 at Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas. A breakfast for finalists and winners will be hosted on January 27.
2022 Carl W. Riehn Employee of the Year – Finalists and Winners
Finalist – Water Plant Mechanic: Kevin Wiseman, Water Plant Mechanic, Water
Kevin delivers on Strategic Initiative #2 at the highest level, whether through PM or CM work. He manages District resources (equipment, infrastructure, etc.) with the utmost of pride. One area that stands out was this summer when residuals lagoons were full and challenging to maintain. Kevin took it upon himself to confer with Engineering concerning project drawings and was able to identify valve configurations not previously used. This level of going above and beyond made managing lagoon levels through the summer considerably more efficient.
Kevin has a way of looking at the “big picture.” His ability to see past just what is in front of him has made him instrumental in effective time management, allowing for more precise and timely work being carried out.
The District operates under a set of Core Values known as ITRUST, and Kevin has been described as an ideal employee representing all of these important principles.
Finalist – Lead Waste Water Plant Operator, Darrell Haynes, Wastewater – Rowlett Creek
Darrell is very much a team player, and he always completes work assignments that the other shifts were unable to complete. This was evident with the new MBR and the warranty tasks that must be completed each day. He also has trained the evening shift on the associated tasks and has improved their knowledge.
Darrell is always looking for better ways to improve the tasks to be able to accomplish more accurate assignments. An example would be how he modified the scrubber H2s logs and marked all the locations with yellow paint and labels in order for the operators to get more accurate readings.
He is always walking the plant to ensure that the equipment is in good working order and that there are no safety hazards. A good example of this would be when he discovered that the in-place eyewash station at the mag-ox station was inaccessible for use, so he moved it to a better location on his own.
Finalist – Support Services: Katy Locke, Project Controls Specialist, Engineering
Katy has gone above and beyond implementing changes for the engineering department on some of our processes.
Katy has been learning all of Engineering’s current operating processes to deliver the District’s Capital Improvement projects from Planning to Closeout and learning a new bidding process that will be implemented. She has worked extremely hard to know that system inside and out to assist our engineers with the transition.
She collaborated with staff on items this year regarding some of these process changes and did a great job in explaining the overall goals our managers have in mind. Katy understands what the end goal is and while getting a Project Manager’s critiques, still offered a great vision of our goals in the department.
Finalist and Winner – Solid Waste: Pete Myers, Fleet Maintenance Shop Foreman
Pete’s great attitude is second to none. He has maintained a positive attitude and remained flexible and adaptable in the changing work environment. He does whatever it takes to meet the customers’ needs.
Pete continues to come up with great ideas. Although he has a small shop, he makes the most of it and still finds a way to service hundreds of vehicles and equipment promptly.
NTMWD can always count on Pete to show up to work and always comes through during weather events to ensure our customer’s needs are taken care of.
Pete works safely and carefully. He recently received a Solid Waste Safety Pin for 19 years of being injury and accident-free at work!
2023 Team Award Finalists and Winner
Finalist: Operations Challenge Team
The Team trained diligently over the past 18 months to hone their skills and prepare for Regional Competition at Texas Water in April of 2022.
Championships do not happen by accident, they require an enormous amount of effort, sacrifice, and personal commitment. The team often arrived at work early (off the clock) or stayed late after a shift to facilitate training. However, an unanticipated outcome of these five individuals honing their skills was the impact and influence over non-team members. The dedication, training, and advancement of their knowledge, skills, and abilities began to rub-off on the employees around them, and indeed resulted in a cultural shift in performance. We often talk about work culture and professionalism and programs or policies that move us in that direction, but in the end, it is often small teams like the Centrifugal Force that have the greatest impact in moving cultural expectations!
Finalist: Water Conveyance Shutdown Field Ops
Water Conveyance System shutdowns are necessary to facilitate critical maintenance, repair, and reliable operation of water conveyance infrastructure. Shutdowns are a frequent year-round activity in a service area our size, and they become even more complex because we must do this work while continuing to serve water to over two million North Texans.
A typical shutdown requires a water conveyance system and maintenance personnel to participate at various levels. Each member of the team plays a critical role in shutdown planning, preparation, and execution for the success of shutdowns performing a wide variety of tasks such as operating multiple large valves in sequence, managing de-watering activities, monitoring air valves for proper function, communicating to members and customers and actively managing in-system storage tolerances.
Finalist and Winner: Shutdown Trailer
This team epitomizes the committment to continuous improvement to provide more reliable service in a cost efficient manner. The electrical maintenance program is extremely complex in that the team has to take facilities off the electrical grid and run them on a generator to perform certain maintenance. After dilligent review of the program, it was determined that it would be more efficient to conduct this maintenance from a portable trailer and control center. The equipment took over a year to design, procure parts and build, and the trailer was ready for service in November 2022.
This mobile Shutdown Trailer allows the electrical department to wire in a motor directly to the trailer and run the system utilizing a variable frequency drive. This will allow for multiple applications in both water and wastewater and can be utilized to assist member and customer cities in emergency situations safer, quicker, and more efficiently.