This is the fourth 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. November’s spotlight is on Sue A., who is a clerk in our Engineering Department.
1. What is your current position at OCWA?
I am a Clerk in the Engineering Department
2. What other jobs have you held, both OCWA and non-OCWA positions?
I worked in the OCWA Customer Service Department as a Customer Service Representative, taking calls from customers. I also, while in Customer Service, handled refunding overpaid accounts and collections of unpaid accounts.
I’ve also worked in the Liverpool School District in what is now the antiquated Word Processing Department at the District Office, as a BOCES Teaching Assistant, a Town of Van Buren Codes Enforcement Clerk and Water Department Clerk, a B’ville Enterprise owner, Walmart clerk, and a wooden stake production assistant at my Dad’s sawmill as a kid.
3. When did you join OCWA, and what brought you here?
I started January 2, 2003. I came to OCWA as part of the lease of the Town of Van Buren Water System by OCWA.
4. What does a typical day at work look like for you?
How can I help you? I deal with people who want to get water. I work with the Water System Designers and Engineers to produce paperwork to be sent to customers, developers and government agencies for individual water services, water main extensions, system betterment projects and construction projects. I also perform a lot of record keeping, filing and transferring old files to digital files. Additionally, I help answer internal questions about services and mapping, etc. The Engineering Department also processes contracts, rights-of-ways, as well as setting up accounts for new services, work with towns to prepare and inform new customers when new or existing systems are going to be operated by OCWA. I also get misdirected or uninformed callers to the proper department or agency.
5. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Helping people get access to fresh, clean water. Also, seeing projects from beginning to end, and generally helping our customers and OCWA.
6. What has been your favorite project at OCWA?
Producing the year-end reports that track the construction additions/retirements to the water system.
7. Before working at OCWA, what was the most interesting/unusual job you’ve ever had?
Unusual – making wooden stakes
Interesting – I worked for BOCES in the Occupational Training Center as a teacher assistant in the Office Practice classes. Working with those high school students reminded me of how things were when I was in high school and I learned how to reconcile conflicting viewpoints (drama) which is a big part of customer service (come to mutually-beneficial agreement between the customer and OCWA).
8. What three words best describe you?
Friendly, helpful and fun
9. What is your educational background?
I graduated from high school
10. Why did you select the career you are in?
I stayed at home to raise my two children and run our family’s construction business with my husband. I started working part time in town government in 1996 in the Codes Enforcement Office at the Town of Van Buren then full time in the Water Department which later brought me to OCWA.