This is the first in a new series of monthly articles by OCWA–Central New York’s Water Authority–highlighting some of our dedicated employees and the important jobs they perform on behalf of the over 500,000 people the Authority serves throughout Central New York. Each month we’ll ask a designated employee a series of ten (10) set questions about their background, what they do at OCWA and some of their most interesting work experiences. Our first spotlight is on Geoff M., who is OCWA’s deputy executive director and chief operating officer:
- What is your current position at OCWA?
I am the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer in the administration department at OCWA. I am responsible for the management of the overall water system operations including managing OCWA’s two water treatment plants, as well as monitoring water quality, distribution and maintenance, facilities, and engineering departments.
- What other jobs have you held, both OCWA and non-OCWA positions?
I started out at Stearns and Wheler doing consulting work for OCWA and other municipalities and private companies. My first project with OCWA was in 1992 working on the Sylvan Beach Water System.
- When did you join OCWA and what brought you here?
I started at OCWA in 2006. I came here through working on projects (with Stearns and Wheler), it just seemed like everyone said it was a great place to work with a great reputation, great teamwork and atmosphere. It is also nice being able to help everyone locally. I previously worked for a lot of projects and communities all over New York State but it is nice to help the residents and economy of Central New York.
- What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Checking the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, which is a computer control system, for overall system operation, check the two water treatment plant operations, check in with operations, distribution, see if there are any issues in the water system with functioning, follow-up on activities that occurred overnight. I also check on finances and department variances for the month and assist department managers with management and planning.
- What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Providing water to new customers in areas that have poor water quality or haven’t had public water. Also, when people make a comment about how nice it is to have reliable high-quality water.
- What has been your favorite project at OCWA?
The Otisco Lake water treatment plant improvement project was probably my favorite. It was a large project, the treatment plant worked great, but the project made it better, it replaced equipment that needed maintenance and improved long term water quality for the system.
- Before working at OCWA, what was the most unusual/ interesting job you’ve ever had?
I worked a summer job cleaning the storm drains underneath the Syracuse airport with just a shovel and a wheelbarrow.
- What three words best describe you?
Serious, conscientious, and caring
- What is your educational background?
I graduated from Clarkson University with degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Industrial Distribution, which is a combination of engineering and business management.
- Why did you select the career you are in?
My father was an engineer in the construction business and built water tanks, water pump stations, and water and sewer systems, so I saw what he did and followed along the same lines.