4. Listen to your customers. Sometimes
they are not only right, but they also
can have breakthrough ideas.
5. Sampling customer opinion is fraught
with problems. A plurality or bare ma-jority
means that half of your custom-ers
may hate what you plan to do.
6. Really listen to your critics no matter
how obnoxious you think they are.
7. Have a comprehensive customer
complaint database that identifies
where, when and what kind. Analyze
complaints for patterns.
8. A utility that changes its water supply
or drastically changes treatment
must invite expert opinions on the
downstream consequences and
then do the technical and public
information work to ensure success.
9. If you detect management silos in
your organization, break them down
or they will break you. If necessary,
start firing and transferring people
until they get the message.
10. If you are not out in the field with
your employees learning what they
do and what their problems are, find
another line of work.
34 SOURCE winter 2020
11. If you do not take care of crumbling
infrastructure, it will come back to
haunt you. March on city hall and
12. Do not lie to your customers or the
policy makers. Lies will break you.
13. Communicate with your staff, cus-tomers
and policy makers. Commu-nicate
some more. Communicate un-til
they get tired of hearing from you.
14. Always give the credit to someone
15. Hire people who are smarter than you
16. Be honorable.
17. Be courageous and do what is right.
18. Show up at every major pipeline
break or service interruption; not just
for the photo op. Get into the trench.
Walk the pipe.
19. Redundancies in water supplies and
treatment processes are gifts that
never stop giving.
20. Celebrate success.
Since 1994 when CAP water direct
delivery was shut down, many water
utilities have had corrosion problems
when they changed treatment and/or
water sources (e.g., Flint, Michigan and
now Newark, New Jersey). From a detailed
understanding of the debacle and ensuing
success of TW, other water utilities can
learn from these management failures and
successes and avoid catastrophic public
relations problems and potential public
authors’ note: We can only tell
a portion of the story here. For more
information and stories about how this
all happened, get the book: Tucson Water
Turnaround: Crisis to Success published by
AWWA in February 2020. S
Michael J. McGuire is an
author, water historian and
water utility leader and
Marie S. Pearthree is the retired
deputy general manager of
the Central Arizona Project
and former deputy director
of the City of Tucson Water