This is the second in a 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’re asking a different employee a series of ten questions about his/her background, what he/she does at OCWA and some of the employee’s most interesting work experiences. September’s spotlight is on Jeremy K., who is OCWA’s principal plant operator at our Lake Ontario Water Treatment Plant:
What is your current position at OCWA?
I am the Principal Plant Operator at the Ontario Water Treatment Plant.
What other jobs have you held, both OCWA and non-OCWA positions?
I worked for an environmental company and a water softening company.
When did you join OCWA, and what brought you here?
I started at Onondaga County’s Metropolitan Water Board (MWB) in 1997 as an intern to complete my degree. MWB merged with OCWA in 2017.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Everyday is different and varies. I usually spend half the day in the office and the other half out and about in the field. I supervise the plant maintenance and operational staff. I get the privilege of working with all levels of OCWA staff.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that millions of gallons of water flow through the treatment plant daily and is safely distributed for both public and industrial consumption.
What has been your favorite project at OCWA?
My favorite project has been seeing the capital improvement project being finished up with the raw and clear water pump stations. We have replaced pumps and motors that were over 30 years old with newer and more efficient ones. We also have new variable speed motor drives that maximize our plant’s performance and reduce shutdown periods.
Before working at OCWA, what was the most interesting/unusual job you’ve ever had?
I spent a summer working in a county prison.
What three words best describe you?
Hungry, ready, and disciplined!
What is your educational background?
I have an Associates degree in environmental studies, and a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from SUNY Cobleskill. I also served six years in the US Marine Corps.
Why did you select the career you are in?
I have always liked water. I did an internship here that I really enjoyed. No one thinks about water being such an essential part of life and the behind the scenes process that goes into our clean water. There’s lots of engineering and science behind the complex process of water treatment that goes from an enormous lake to our kitchen faucets.