Interview with Daniel Marquez
Production & Treatment Operator for Valley County Water District
Why do you “work for water?” What do you love about the job?
I do take significant delight in doing my part to clean up the environment. Also, this industry has forced me to think more practically, because of the trouble-shooting that has to be done on an everyday basis. I am now more mechanically inclined.
Tell us about how your educational path led you to this career.
At the time I started in the water industry, I was an administrative assistant because I was an English major, and the project manager was Persian, which created some problems for her when she would write correspondence, so she hired me to proofread.
What does a typical day on the job look like?
It really depends on what shift I am on. When I’m on the Production route I record water production, and residuals at our reservoirs, check our booster stations, wells, displacement pumps, and PR valves and make repairs and adjustments as necessary. At our plant, I also record production, maintain a residual, and make sure it continues running through the SCADA.
What skills and training from your Marine career transferred into your current career? Tell us a little about your life as a Marine.
I was an infantry Marine. I took from that chapter in my life discipline, teamwork, and the ability to lead a group of people to accomplish a goal. Those skills translate well in the kind of work I do today.
What is important about the work you do today?
The work I do protects people from waterborne disease. It’s important that I’m there at the treatment plant, making sure the water is clean and safe to drink at the tap. Water has been here long before I was here, and it will be here long after I am gone. If I can do my part to create a better living for my children and others’ children, then that’s important to me.
Tell us about some of the more tangible benefits of working in water.
The goal is to do something that you love, AND get paid doing it. People will always need water to drink, to bath, to put out fires, and to flush toilets. In that respect, the water industry is pretty much recession proof. Most water utilities offer competitive health, dental and vision plans. They provide a good retirement.
Why should others consider working in the water sector?
In the next ten years or so, when the baby boomers begin to retire, there will be a HUGE void that will need to be filled. Now is the time to get the education and certification needed to fill that void.