On the fourth Sunday in July, our country recognizes outstanding parents, celebrates the teamwork in raising children, and supports the role of parental guidance in building a strong society through National Parents’ Day.
It is important to take notice of the vital role of parents, as well as the relationship and balance between home and being in the professional world. According to a study from Pew Research, around half of employed parents with children younger than 18 (53% of mothers and 51% of fathers) say being a working parent makes it harder for them to be a good parent.
At American Water, we’re proud to count parents across the nation as part of our team, from our headquarters in New Jersey all the way to California. Every day, we see the hard work and dedication they put forth for the company, but we never forget about the essential responsibility they’re performing at home. Each employee’s life is unique and deserves the right balance between work and home, including when kids are involved. That’s why we work hard to help ensure American Water provides a supportive and accommodating environment for all families.
In honor of this special day, we wanted to highlight some of our incredible parent employees, sharing their experiences at American Water, in their own words.
“I have worked for American Water for over 28 years. I always tell people that when I started my ‘baby’ was two years old. Now she works here. Overall, American Water is a great place to work because they TRULY care about our families—offering benefits like Paternity Leave, Family Sick Days and Exchange Time just to mention a few. When COVID shutdowns and isolations hit, we were all impacted and had to change our way of doing things. American Water understood and helped us through those days as well, with extra sick days to use in case of family illness. But, it goes beyond that. Two of my three children worked here during the summer as college interns. This gave them great work experience and helped with the cost of school. So, when I hear stories from friends about their work experience, I have to proudly tell them that American Water doesn’t just say they care about our families, they truly do. I encourage them to apply for a job and work for American Water, because it’s a large corporation that treats employees like a small family business.”
Sue Moynihan, Engineering Supervisor, Missouri American Water
Abagail Dickens, Operations Support Representative, West Virginia American Water
“As I was gathering my materials for Coatesville City’s Unity Day, my 13-year-old son helped me load the car. He saw the rubber ducks and the Income Assistance flyers I was packing and asked what a water company has to do with the event. I explained that in addition to providing water and wastewater to many towns, it is our job to give back to those communities. That we try to make each town a little better because we are there. Our employees live and work there too, so we want to support their causes, show up to help them celebrate, and support customers when they need a little extra help. I hope just a little bit of what we talked about sunk in. I think it did. Next time, I’ll take him to an event with me so he can see the smiles we put on customers’ faces…one duck at a time.”
Kara Rahn, Senior Manager, Government & External Affairs (Eastern PA), Pennsylvania American Water
“Adopting four kids in one year is tough. My wife Jess and I were able to do that and see our oldest graduate college the same year. We owe a great deal to American Water. Thank you from the Combs family for all your support!”
Dustin Combs, Field Service Representative, West Virginia American Water
“Being a parent at American Water means that you are partnering with a company that understands that family is important. My middle son is soon to be eighteen. I remember being pregnant and having a work baby shower. At the time, Meg was over at the call center. I remember her saying, “Enjoy. These are the moments we cherish.” Years later, my oldest was part of the intern program in Business Development with Jennifer Smith. To this day, she asks how he is doing. I thank American Water for not making me feel like I must choose my career or being a parent. I also see the advances being made for new mothers to nurse in the new room in our Missouri office. Thanks, American Water, for being a parenting partner.”
Nikki Pacific, Business Development Manager, Missouri American Water
“Being a working mother of two young children can at times be difficult but rewarding. American Water has provided me the flexibility to be part of my children’s milestones as they grow up, and have given me the feeling that my children come first.”
Lori McClain, Operations Support Representative, West Virginia American Water
I am a 14-year Corporate Communications employee at American Water, so American Water is all my kids know. They’ve gotten to hear about my job and meet my wonderful work family. They’ve gained an understanding of how precious a resource water is and how deeply “mom’s company” cares about the our neighbors and our employees. Now, as my son looks to attend college in the fall, he hopes to pursue a communications major, just like I did. I think that says something about the quality of the career I have been so honored to enjoy at American Water and the amazing people I am forever grateful to have met along this journey.
Katherine Bell, Senior Director, Internal Communications and Employee Engagement
“Well, I am both a parent and papaw—I have one beautiful daughter and three grandkids. And, there is no better experience than to invite the family over on a Saturday after a nice week of working at West Virginia American Water. We’ll have the grandkids over to enjoy the pool and I’ll make hotdogs, hamburgers and my BBQ chicken, which they love. What a blessing to enjoy the fun they have spending all day at my home.”
Jay Jordan, Field Operations Supervisor, West Virginia American Water
“As a mom of two girls, I’ve found that the values of American Water are aligned with the same values I work hard to instill in my own kids—safety, trust, high performance, environmental leadership, and teamwork. They take a great deal of interest in what I do at work and why it’s so important —even though telling friends their mom “works with water” generates a range of possibilities, from lifeguard to oceanographer. It’s great to have an opportunity to expose them to a company with such an essential mission and purpose, and for them to see how much I enjoy sharing the stories of employees and teams who deliver on our promises to customers.”
Lauren Slepian, Communications Director, American Water
“My two sons attend a middle school that depends on volunteers to coach all the sports teams. My supervisor, Rob Burton, allowed and encouraged me to help out coaching my boys’ soccer and golf teams in the past year as part of my community service. This required scheduling flexibility and understanding with Rob and the team here in West Virginia, and it deepened my appreciation of working for American Water. Maybe I provided some helpful teaching moments, but mostly I was the one who gained from the experience by getting to know many of my sons’ schoolmates and friends, learning about myself (and other things) from the kids I coached, enjoying the team atmosphere, making new friends with other parents, and laughing a lot. I believe it all helped make me a better father, person, and leader.”
Chris Carew, Vice President of Operations, West Virginia American Water
“Parenting is hard. No doubt about it. However, it’s the most rewarding when you consider the dynamics associated with the number of hats you have to ‘wear’ to reach the mountain top of raising ‘good people’ in this volatile world. There are no off days in parenting. Whenever the need arises, parenting must take place. The more children you have, the greater responsibility rests upon you. My happy Crow family now consists of six: myself, my kids and my wife, who is the anchor of the family. They have been crucial in my journey here at American Water. Luckily, from the onset of my employment to now, I have always felt family was important to Kentucky American Water. This was especially true during the COVID pandemic. The company’s flexibility was crucial to balancing work/home responsibilities.
These last few years have been pressing to say the least. I have never experienced this much change and death in my entire life. Culminating with the death of my oldest son, Allen, almost a year ago from the day. My work family was so supportive! From flowers, thoughtful calls and texts, attending Allen’s funeral, and the general care that was shown. Without this, as well as a spiritual anchor, I could have easily slipped into a depressive state.
It certainly lightens the stress when you have an employer who empathizes with changes and stressors of parenting. Not only that, but puts that empathy to work by implementing changes that address the concerns we have as parents. This was most vital during the pandemic, when you never knew what child would have a cough or runny nose, that you knew you would have to stay home to care for. Now this, my 20th year of being a parent, I still cherish the responsibility of forming good people with solid ethical standards.”
Shane Crow, Construction Inspector, Kentucky American Water
Parenting is the toughest job in the world, this job requires 24/7 attention but the impact can last many generations. I am always open to communicate with my two daughters about anything, even when they might make a mistake so they are comfortable telling me what happened to them and we can resolve together. I remember one day my younger daughter Esther went home told me she had a boyfriend when she was 2 years old, I smiled and was patient to hear all her excitement.
I feel kids can fulfill my dream when I didn’t have the opportunity when I was younger. I dreamt of playing piano in my elementary school, but the circumstances did not allow me. This summer my older daughter Christina got accepted to GSA (Governor school of Art) by playing piano, since she stayed at UK dorm I miss her for the beautiful music she plays everyday.
Since I started to work for American Water, they’ve gotten to hear about my job and met my wonderful work family. Both of them think our company is the best and would like to pursue their careers in the near future.
Bonny Chen, Capital Program Administrator, Kentucky American Water
We continue to be in awe of the hard work and dedication of our employees in their work, at home and in our communities. On this day, we salute all the incredible parents on our team for all that they do.