Member Spotlight -- Bob Parks, Independence, Mo.
August 2, 2018

Bob ParksPosition and title: Production engineer, City of Independence Water Department

Educational background: Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, University of Missouri.

Job duties: Manage and execute capital improvement and large maintenance projects for the water production division of the water department; assist with day-to-day operations of the Courtney Bend Water Plant, a 48 MGD rated facility.
What is one of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on? An electrical inspection and maintenance project at the Courtney Bend Water Plant, because it required coming up with solutions to maintain operation of the plant equipment while simultaneously executing the work. I had to quickly become an expert on the electrical circuits of a facility that had been expanded six times in sixty years. A lot of questions had to be answered and processes thought out to ensure the project was successful.

What is one of your biggest accomplishments? Earning my engineering degree from Mizzou and my career success after coming from a town with a population of 500 and a high school class of 10. I wasn’t entirely prepared for a place like Mizzou and some freshman courses larger than the population of my town.
Hobbies and outside interests: I grew up on a farm and get back home often to help my father. I love that lifestyle; itBob Parks is a big part of the person I am today. I am a staunch believer in taking care of your health (you only get one body!), so most days I’m at the gym or exercising after work. I like being outside doing almost anything and if it’s sports I probably like it (especially college football).

How long have you been an AWWA member and how have you benefited from your membership? My three years as an AWWA member (including Young Professionals Chair and First-Year Trustee) have helped me to quickly learn the industry and benefit from others’ experiences, be it in a technical session or in a face-to-face conversation. It has been a big help in making me be better at my job. I enjoy contributing to the industry outside of my role at the Water Department and interacting with industry peers I might never meet otherwise who are generally top performers in the field.

What do you like about being an AWWA volunteer? Two of my current priorities with the Missouri Section are increasing student engagement and developing strategic relationships with other groups that have impact on source water. We held face-to-face meetings with agriculture producer representatives to propose developing a relationship/partnership and received positive feedback. I have a special interest in this initiative because I have the unique perspective of both the water and agriculture industries and believe there is value in partnerships between the two. 

(Photos courtesy of Bob Parks)