Waterwork – Winter 2019
The Chair’s Corner

Despite the demands of our regular jobs and the pull of the holidays, BAYWORK has been hard at work.  I am always amazed at the talent and passion that our signatories have for making things happen for the current and future workforce in our industry.

BAYWORK’s engine are the men and women that carve out a bit of their time each month to be part of a committee, attend an event, draft bylaws, respond to unexpected issues, and are all about solving problems and getting things done.  We also couldn’t do what we do without our wonderful consultants like Kory Louckes-Powell from As Needed Services and Allen Wong from AGS who are dedicated to helping us complete our initiatives.

In addition to the many accomplishments reflected in this quarter’s newsletter, please note that our executive and subcommittees have been hard at work developing metrics, bylaws changes, and a proposed fee schedule to present at our Annual Signatory Meeting in June 2019.  Our business manager, Michael Kushner, has been doing a great job herding us to make progress on these sometimes complex discussions.

There is much to look forward to in 2019, so please enjoy this second edition of our newsletter and I will take this opportunity to wish you and your families a joyous holiday and prosperous new year!

– Ingrid Bella – BAYWORK Chair (SCVWD)

5th Annual Training Buffet – A Feast of Information

BAYWORK held its annual Training Buffet on November 14, 2018 at East Bay Municipal Utility District, attracting a record-breaking number of participants! From Insights in Infrastructure Engineering to Interviewing Skills and Techniques, the buffet shared cutting edge information, tools and resources that set industry professionals up for success in their careers. The event was free to BAYWORK members and most sessions offered continuing education credits.

“I liked the classes that offered concrete tips on passing your certification exams – it’s a great way for me to build my career,” said Jason Gordon, a Water Service Inspector for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). He also enjoyed learning about innovative technologies at other utilities.

Guest presenter Frank Loethen travelled from Gwinnett County, Georgia to present his agency’s competency model framework. This session was followed by a panel discussion on competency models with executives from the SFPUC, Ross Valley Sanitary District and the City of San Jose. Among the many topics covered was a workshop on Algal Blooms, an issue that is expected to worsen with climate change. In all, 17 sessions were offered, including discussions on resource recovery, new groundwater projects and managing culture change.

If you are interested in attending, presenting or suggesting a course for next year, reach out to Robert Scott, Staff Preparedness Committee Chair, at rscott@valleywater.org.

 – Elinor Buchen (SFPUC)


On September 12, 2018 BAYWORK held one of its fabulous Workshops on Wheels (WOW). WOW is an opportunity for water and wastewater staff to spend a day learning about innovative processes and practices through visiting different plants. Participants learned about the operator cross-training program at the City of Tracy Wastewater Treatment Plant. At the City of Stockton we toured the new, highly automated water treatment plant that includes a membrane treatment process. Our visit to the City of Manteca’s Water Quality Control Facility included a new FOG (fats, oils and grease) receiving facility and a process that will convert biogas into transportation quality methane to power the city’s entire fleet of garbage trucks. Next up was the City of Modesto’s Water Quality Control Facility where the highlight was an advanced tertiary treatment plant that has allowed Modesto to be one of the first such plants to discharge recycled wastewater into a federal waterway. Fifty-four participants from 12 agencies plus the State Water Resources Control Board attended the event. According to one participant, “my favorite part of the WOW was getting to see the different treatment plants. I also like networking with like-minded professionals.” Another said the trip was most useful to see “different approaches to common issues.” BAYWORK appreciates the four agencies that hosted our event. The next WOW will be held this spring – stay tuned for dates and location.

– Michael Kushner, BAYWORK Manager

BAYWORK Shines at EPA Workforce Convening

The EPA held a convening for workforce development in Alexandria, VA on November 13 – 15, 2018. National subject matter experts in the water industry discussed an array of topics through presentations and small group discussions. The agenda included: Strategic Workforce Planning at Utilities, Workforce Initiatives in Related Sectors, Workforce Recruitment and Candidate Development, Workforce Retention, Workforce Competence, Building Community Partnerships, and Building an Action Agenda.

Some BAYWORK signatories were present along with JVS, a key partner for BAYWORK. It was a great networking opportunity with high energy conversations throughout the whole event. BAYWORK was mentioned continuously by others; some presenters even had BAYWORK slides in their PowerPoint decks. Many are interested in replicating the BAYWORK Regional Collaborative in various areas around our nation. BAYWORK is the national model for regional collaboration!

– Catherine Curtis, BAYWORK Co-Chair
(SFPUC Workforce Reliability Manager)

“Honoring Our Veterans” CAREER FAIR

BAYWORK, Las Positas College, Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) and CWEA came together on November 7, 2018 to offer our veterans a very successful Water and Wastewater Career Fair as part of the college’s Honoring Our Veterans Day. Participating agencies included SFPUC, Alameda County Water District, EBMUD, City of San Jose, American Water, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Zone 7, City of Livermore, Dublin/San Ramon Service District and the Office of Water Programs from CSU Sacramento. The event included the landing of a Huey helicopter and addresses from honorees, as well as a panel of veterans from BAYWORK agencies explaining their transition from the military into careers in our industry. I was personally moved by the stories of these men and women who have given so much for our country!

Over 75 registrants, both veterans and the general public, explored water and wastewater careers and current job offerings at our agencies. The event was so successful that the City of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Water District plan to host a similar event in the South Bay soon. Stay tuned! We will be reaching out to South Bay agencies, so let us know if you would like to participate in the next Career Fair for Veterans.

– Pamela Astarte, M.Ed., Workforce Analyst and Education Liaison (SFPUC)

Upcoming BAYWORK Events
February 27BAYWORK Career Fair(High Schools in a.m./ Public in p.m.)Laney College
February 28BAYWORK Operator Certification Prep ClassesEBMUD
March 20BAYWORK Pump and Pump Systems WorkshopNapa
April 4th, 11th, 18th, 25thRoss Valley Sanitary District Cross- Training (BAYWORK members only)RVSD- San Rafael
April 24th, 2019Training A-la-cartePetaluma
May 7th, 8th, 9thNapaSan Cross-Training (BAYWORK members only)NapaSan
May 15, 16Town of Windsor Cross-Training (BAYWORK members only)Windsor
June 12, 13Town of Windsor Cross-Training (BAYWORK members only)Windsor
June 19, 29Town of Windsor Cross-Training (BAYWORK members only)Windsor
Other Events and Classes

Fundamentals of Water Quality and Wastewater Technology – 3 units – Evergreen College

When: Monday evenings, February 25 – May 20, 2019 from 5:00pm – 9:05pm

Where: San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility, 700 Los Esteros Rd., San José, CA

For questions or more information, please email ESD-HR@sanjoseca.gov.

For more training opportunities visit our website at https://baywork.org/training-bulletin-board/

BAYWORK is a collaborative of water and wastewater utilities in the greater Bay Area working together to ensure operational reliability by addressing the industry’s workforce needs.

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