Looking Back on 2021: Employees Reflect on the Past Year at American Water

As we approach year’s end, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2022. But, before we jump into January, let’s take a moment to look back on all that has happened during this past year.

With this in mind, we asked a few employees to reflect upon their journey at American Water throughout 2021. Here’s what they had to say.

What was your favorite interaction with a customer this year?

Sherman Baxter, former Customer Advocacy Supervisor and current member of the operations team in Mechanicsburg, Pa, responded:

“Actually, my best interaction with a customer was one that I initially did not remember, and it was for something seemingly simple. This year, I received a Christmas card from a customer who, I realized, I had helped with an installment plan issue earlier in the year. On my end it was a short five-minute issue, but to the customer, it was a huge relief and they were very appreciative. It’s always nice to know that you really helped someone in need.”

 What were your professional goals going into 2021? Did you achieve them?

We prompted two newer members of the American Water team with this question. First, Usha Silwal, an engineer with Illinois American Water replied:

“I joined American Water in February 2021. Before that, as a newly graduated student I was actively looking for a role that emphasized the water and wastewater sector. I wanted to learn about water delivery, and through this role at Illinois American Water I have led more than 20 water delivery projects. I have become more familiar with the design and construction specifications for successful completion of these kind of projects. Also, project management was another area that I wanted to explore. In this role, I am constantly communicating with engineering consultants, contractors, inspectors and others to plan and successfully implement the projects.”

Fellow Illinois American Water engineer Binuri Samarawickrama responded:

“Having started work during the pandemic, one of my biggest goals for the year was to familiarize myself with the company’s day-to-day activities so that I could carry out my responsibilities more effectively. After working remotely for the larger part of the year, I wanted to make sure that I was able to learn more about safety to reach the high safety standards of American Water. I also wanted to become responsible for more projects going into 2022 to be a more vital part of the engineering group. I am happy to say that with the help of my colleagues in my engineering group I have been able to reach my goals, and I am excited to continue to grow.”

How has your department evolved over the past year? Did you reach any major milestones?

When asked this question, Katherine Bell, Senior Director of Internal Communications, said:

 “A major milestone for us was Safety Week in October. We use the week to educate our employees about how important it is we look out for one another, wearing the proper PPE and never taking shortcuts at work to do a job safely. Thanks to the awareness built around safety, we had only two injuries across our entire workforce in October. This is a good achievement, but even one injury is too many for us. We want everyone to go home safely at the end of the work day.”

Looking back at the past year, what are you most proud of when it came to your work at American Water and/or outside of the office?

In response, Illinois American Water External Affairs Specialist Kate Fidler, said:

“I would have to say I am most proud of the growth I have experienced over the past year. And, the support system at American Water has been extremely beneficial to this. I have been granted significant opportunities, which gave me the ability to grow as a professional and in my personal life. I am also proud of the work I’ve done to get where I am today. One example would be my writing skills. I look back at earlier this year and see the patience my supervisor gave to me when crafting key messaging. The engagement with various situations and scenarios has benefitted my exposure to the business. With my growth, I’ve learned to better appreciate the function I hold and the service we provide, because I’ve seen the role we play in people’s daily lives.”

Krista Citron, Engineering Project Manager for Kentucky American Water replied:

“When it comes to work, I am proud of Kentucky American Water’s successful completion of its first year of the Qualified Infrastructure Program (QIP) in June. This was a true team effort across Engineering, T&D, External Affairs, and more. We’re halfway into our second year now, and are already working on years three through five. This has been many months of dedicated planning efforts and I was very happy to see the results. Meanwhile, outside of the office, I am most proud of completing a bulk of my coursework towards an MBA thanks to American Water’s tuition reimbursement program. Now, I will graduate in May 2022!”

We are so proud of the hard work and dedication of all of our employees this past year. We can’t wait to see what 2022 will bring for each of them, at work and beyond!