26 | ROCKY MOUNTAIN WATER JANUARY 2017 OPERATIONS ment facility. Based on the schedule of cross training and rotation it was pos-sible for an operator to go for up to a year between rotations. The new surface water plant was more complex and required expertise in the treatment processes. It was clear that a select team of operators would be required to focus and develop an expertise in the new water plant. To achieve success, the operators working at the plant needed to be fully invested in their training and have a strong desire to perform the work. The department was divided into three operations teams. The teams were Water Treatment, Bridge Operations, and Wastewater Treatment. The Water Treatment team covered water treatment, wells and distribution. The Wastewater team covered the wastewater plant and collections. The Bridge Opera-tions team would float between water and wastewater and include versatile operators with a high level of compe-tency in all aspects of operations. The idea was introduced to the department and discussed with all operators. Each operator had the opportunity to choose his or her top two positions. The outcome was fantastic. Almost every operator received his or her first choice. Although the original idea of having every operator cross-trained on all tasks did not stick; it was the perfect setup for a transition to the three teams within the department. Operators selected their area of expertise, but understood the responsibilities of the other teams. The department continues to evolve and is considering a specific Collec-tions and Distribution Team within the Bridge Operations team. The outcome is unknown, but confidence is high of its success due to the highly skilled, well-rounded team involved in the change; as well as the support from management. During each organizational transition over the last decade, valuable lessons have been learned. Versatile skill sets, cross training, and cross-certification ease oper-ations and staffing challenges. This sort of change is not for everybody. The key is: communicate, communicate, and com-municate! Introduce ideas to staff as soon and as thoroughly as possible in order to get buy in and make transitions smooth. In the end, a clear vision and purpose for the organization must be understood and followed to achieve great success. Eric Pierce is the Water Resources Superintendent for Parker Water and Sani-tation District. He has been in the industry for over 30 years in all levels of operations. Travis Scurlock is a Water Resources Lead Opera-tor for Parker Water and Sanitation District. He has worked in operations for over 10 years and is an instructor in the Water Quality Management Program at Red Rocks Community College.
RMW January 2017
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