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Director, Utility Operations

Company: Aquarion
Location: Bridgeport
Posted on: May 3, 2021

Job Description:

Aquarion Water Company is the public water supply company for more than 625,000 people in 52 cities and towns throughout Connecticut, as well as serving customers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It is the largest investor-owned water utility in New England and among the seven largest in the U.S. Based in Bridgeport, CT, it has been in the public water supply business since 1857. Across its operations, Aquarion strives to act as a responsible steward of the environment and to assist the communities it serves in promoting sustainable practices. Aquarion Water Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eversource.

The Director reports to the Vice President of Operations and Utility Innovation.  This position is responsible for the overall performance and direction of the Utility Operations department within the company’s Connecticut subsidiary.  These responsibilities include operation and maintenance of nearly 3,000 miles of water mains, field service activities, meter reading, and cross connection tests and inspections.  The Director sets goals for the department, develops strategies to achieve those goals, and directs the development and implementation of programs/initiatives to support those strategies.  The Director develops, monitors, and controls budgets and spending, and ensures that resources are used cost effectively and productively, including by providing direction for the planning and scheduling functions within the department. The Director ensures that systems and processes are established, refined, and used to document activities, and monitor and report on departmental performance.  The Director ensures that employees receive proper training, and that work is performed in a safe manner at all times.  Responsibilities include emergency standby duty during non-business hours on a rotating basis.


PRINCIPAL RESPONSIBILITIES & ACTIVITIES:
•    Responsible for the following functions across the company’s CT subsidiary: 

    Distribution system operation and maintenance (both proactive and reactive) for distribution systems that consists of more than 3,000 miles of pipe.
    Field service activities, including customer meter exchange program and other customer meter and service work.
    Meter reading for approximately 200,000 accounts.
    Cross connection tests and inspections, including approximately 20,000 device tests and 8,000 facility inspections per year.

•    Ensures that employees are provided with and maintain a progressive occupational health and safety program, in accordance with Company policy.  This includes ensuring that defined safety practices are followed, identifying safety risks, and developing approaches to mitigate those safety risks. 

•    Sets goals for the department, develops strategies to achieve those goals (e.g. increase valve maintenance to improve system reliability), and directs the development and implementation of initiatives/programs that support the strategies. 

•    Prepares annual expense and capital budgets and monitors/controls expenses to ensure adherence to these budgets.  Seeks opportunities to control and reduce cost. This includes active management of contractor costs and overtime costs. 

•    Leads the Department to improved performance relative to service to our customers, productivity, cost efficiency, distribution system resiliency, regulatory compliance, and inter-departmental collaboration.  This responsibility includes identifying and prioritizing needs and opportunities, and leading efforts to evaluate and update work processes and systems to address these needs and capitalize on opportunities (e.g. implementation of work management software).

•    Ensures that staff is trained on the technical aspects of their role, that staff have the appropriate level of licensure, and that staff are encouraged to increase their level of licensure.  Ensures that employees are trained in the work processes and systems through which they perform their work.

•    Manages resources (employees, contractors, operating budget, and capital budget) to achieve departmental goals cost effectively.

•    Responsible for the company’s emergency response (particularly for main breaks), including ensuring that the company has the proper resources (e.g. contractors), and that the emergency response procedures are documented, updated, and adhered to. 

•    Directs the planning and scheduling of activities across all functions in the department, including the development and implementation of preventive maintenance programs (e.g. leak survey, valve maintenance, hydrant maintenance, and flushing).

•    Directs the communications with external stakeholders (e.g. customers, public officials, and local DPW staff) for both planned and emergency activities.  Fosters a collaborative relationship between departments, particularly with the Customer Service department.

•    Reports on departmental performance (e.g. goals, expenses, preventive maintenance, emergency response, productivity, etc…), including ensuring that systems (e.g. SAP) and processes are being leveraged to efficiently document work activities and develop reports.  Ensures that information is available to monitor departmental performance.

•    Ensures compliance with regulatory requirements, including for cross connection testing and inspections and customer meter replacement programs.

•    Participates on numerous committees including but not limited to the Product Quality, Nonrevenue Water, Customer Service Excellence, and  Standby Manager committees.

•    Ensures contractors adhere to AWC standards and specifications.

•    Ensures proactive and positive labor relations, providing a climate where employees are encouraged to express views and receive answers in a timely manner.

•    Continuously on emergency call during non-business hours and serve as standby Manager as scheduled during off-duty hours.

 

KNOW HOW:   
•    Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering, Construction, Business Management, or equivalent.
•    Minimum of 10 years experience in the utility environment.
•    Must have an in-depth knowledge of distribution systems, maintenance programs, and construction operations.
•     A Connecticut Class III Distribution System Operator certification is preferred.
•     Strong communication skills, both verbal and written are required.
•    The ability to analyze financial statements.
•     Ability to manage a professional staff and work effectively with associates, regulators, public officials, and senior management.

 

PROBLEM SOLVING:  
Situations and circumstances, both operational and administrative can be complex and non-recurring.  Professional, mature, independent judgment is required, both independently, and as a team in critical situations.

 

ACCOUNTABILITY:  
•    Reports directly to the Vice President of Operations and Utility Innovation. 
•    Direct the activities of 70 employees, including eight direct reports.
•    Fully responsible for controlling expenditures within established budgets for the department (approximately $12.5 million annually).
•    Accountable for department capital projects up to $10 million annually.
 

Aquarion Water Company is an equal opportunity employer, and we prohibit discrimination based on age, color, disability, marital or parental status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veteran status, or any other legally protected status in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.

Keywords: Aquarion, Bridgeport , Director, Utility Operations, Other , Bridgeport, Connecticut

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