| Frequent Flyer: Utility Manager in Colorado chaired 6,000-member Cal-Nevada Section
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Frequent Flyer: Utility Manager in Colorado chaired 6,000-member Cal-Nevada Section


Kirk Medina 

Job and Employer:  District Manager, Stratmoor Hills Water District, Colorado Springs, Co.

AWWA role: My term as Cal-Nevada Section Chair ended last week. I joined my first committee 15 years ago to justify going to conferences, and have been committed to the Section ever since. This experience is the highlight of my career!

How did it happen that you simultaneously ran a utility in Colorado and chaired the Cal-Nevada Section? The opportunity to move to Colorado came up while I was Chair Elect of the Cal-Nevada Section.  I assured the Section that I wanted to fulfill my commitment and they held me to it. I will always appreciate their willingness to work with me.


How did you manage that? Let me just say that I now know what California and Nevada airports have direct flights to Colorado Springs. I miss the four-hour drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. 

What was your biggest challenge to chairing AWWA’s largest Section? Communication!  With as many volunteer leaders as we have contributing to our success, it's nearly impossible to reach out to all of them on a regular basis.  To improve in this area, we have incorporated a monthly Committee Chair call into our schedule, and our Trustees work hard to provide excellent leadership training.  We are especially proud of our flagship publication, SOURCE, that goes out to all of our members.  We also have amazing staff that keeps us moving in the right direction. 

Was it overwhelming having two big jobs – district manager of your utility, and chair of the Cal-Nevada Section? I don't think so, particularly because my employer is so supportive.  I like to distinguish the difference between the two as one being my job, the other... my career.

What is your biggest accomplishment?  I’m not sure it was my biggest accomplishment, but I was very proud of passing my Class A Water Treatment examination on my first try in the 1970s, with little more to study from than a New York Manual for Water Treatment Plant Operators and AWWA Journals.  I recall obtaining a copy of the first edition of AWWA’s “Basic Science Concepts and Applications” just in time for the exam.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Learning to supervise employees.  I discovered that not everyone thinks like me, and that diversity makes us stronger.

What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
The start-up of a new water treatment plant in Henderson, Nev.

Why did you decide to go into the water field?
 I stumbled into my career right out of high school.  The Pueblo (Colorado) Board of Water Works was looking for a water treatment plant operator to work the night shift.  The only experience I had was working the nights.  They hired me, and I have loved this profession ever since. 

Hobbies and outside interests:
 Riding dirt bikes, fly fishing, and being a proud parent of a 21-year old daughter.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?  I was raised by a steel worker, so I figured I would do the same.  I remember my father encouraging me to quit my job at the water works when openings came up at the steel mill.  I told him that I preferred working in the water industry.  A year later, the steel mill was shut down.  As I got older, he would often tell me how happy he was that I stayed in water.

Hobbies and outside interests:  Riding dirt bikes, fly fishing, and being a proud parent of a 21-year old daughter.

What’s your motto in life?
 Hard work always pays off… eventually!


     

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