Our Industry person of the week is Kelli Lee! Kelli works for Hardin County Water District. Here’s what she had to share!
Q. How did you get started working in your field?
Kelli: I previously worked for a municipal software company, so I had a slight understanding of the utility world. Honestly, I was the random “Indeed.combrowser” that stumbled upon the open position at our water district. I valued the overall stability and constancy of working for a utility. I never anticipated the amount of passion and enthusiasm that I would gain from the “click to apply” button.
Q. What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Kelli: I love that each day is different from the day before. Every single day that I have work for Hardin County Water District No. 2, I learn something new. I really enjoy my family of professionals that I have had the opportunity to meet and grow with. Our White Mills Treatment Plant recently won the KY/TN KWWOA 2019 Treatment Plant of the Year award. Both of our treatment plants and distribution system won the Area Wide Optimization Program Award. For our White Mills Plant, this was the 10th consecutive year in the role. All of these awesome achievements really force me to push and become a more well-rounded employee. I have expanded my knowledge and skills in so many ways that I did not realize was possible. I am most proud of how I have been able to take each learning experience and really broaden my horizons. All these opportunities to learn allows me to become better manicured to really assist our District in any way that they need me.
Q. What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Kelli: I would say “jump in headfirst and soak everything in!”. Seriously, spend time in different departments, ask questions, and volunteer for random tasks and committees. We have an enormous amount of knowledge inside of our 80-person company. I am also the Co Vice Chair for our Kentucky Tennessee Young Professionals Committee. This opportunity has allowed me to meet so many remarkable individuals and network with utilities all over the country. Once you start to really grasp the magnitude of the water industry’s overall duty and think about how society would survive without their hard work. You just naturally start to develop a desire to spread the word on the importance of clean water.
Q. Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Kelli: In the Fall of 2019, Hardin County Water District No. 2 partnered with an Elementary School in Hardin County, KY. This elementary school noticed that several repeat visitors at the nurse’s office. They started to realize that most complaints revolved around lack of water consumption. Children experiencing headaches, digestive issues, or just simply too tired to focus and most of these issues all stemming from dehydration. They asked if our District ever spoke to schools on the importance of water to our bodies. We took that suggestion and start working with the school to develop a program called the “Hydration Campaign”. This program targeted the entire school, kindergarten through 5th grade. For months before this campaign, our District was present at their events with a big cooler of water. Even our mascot, Melton the Ice Cube, was a frequent school. Each class sat through a presentation that talked about how much water your body needs. We included tips on drinking more water. How your body uses water and signs of dehydration. We also touched on the journey that water takes from source to tap as well as the different career options that our District offers. The entire school visited our water treatment plant to see exactly where their water comes from. After they were equipped with the health knowledge and eager with their latest field trip information. We designated a week to hold a competition between classes on how much water they consumed. At the end of the week, the class that drank the most water won. We passed out bottles labeled with their name and classroom. The kids had an absolute ball. We sent a survey to teachers and parents asking if they noticed a difference from their child after the week of the competition. Our overall goal was truly for them to develop a habit or start to notice a difference in how they felt. The results were shocking and although there were a lot more bathroom breaks throughout the day, there was a noticeable difference. Not only did the kids gain a huge health benefit throughout this process. We now have a few kids with their career paths dialed in on the water industry! We did note a few tweaks and changes in the program but overall, we were very thrilled with the outcome.
THANK YOU, KELLI! WE LOOK FORWARD TO KEEPING UP WITH YOU THROUGH THE #PUMPTALK COMMUNITY!
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