Gilbert G. Barela

First Place
 Santa Ana River Basin Section

Gilbert has 17 years in maintenance with a background in Industrial Maintenance. He holds a Bachelor’s in Business Management, an MSML, and an MBA. He holds a Mech Tech Grade IV, Water Distribution/Treatment licenses, certs in Vibration, Oil, Project Management, and CMRP. Gilbert is part of the Emergency Medical Team, a Union Shop Steward, and is involved in the leadership development teams. He is a past Chair for the TCP and Director for the Executive Board. He is the SARBS ’14 and ’18 Mechanic of the Year. He served as a Liaison for the 5S and the Golden Empire Section, past TCP Vice Chair, Vice Chair II, and Southern Region Liaison. He has served as a Certification Test Prep Moderator and SME for Mechanical Technologies. He has been featured as a guest speaker for the Certification Information Webinars and has worked on the study guide & exam revalidation efforts.


The Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers (5S) is used by water environment associations (i.e., those working with sewage and sewage treatment) to honour those who have made a particular contribution to the industry.

Pennsylvania started the High Hat Society in 1937 and used the words "Sludge Shovelers Society" in its initiation ceremony. Later, this became known as the Ted Moses Sludge Shovelers Society. The second Chapter of the Five S Society was formed in Arizona in October 1940, the idea being conceived by A.W. "Dusty" Miller and F. Carlyle Roberts, Jr. There are chapters in many of the United States and in Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

5S chapters do not accept applications, but select potential members. Each inductee receives a badge in the form of a gold tie bar in the shape of a round-nosed shovel.

5S recognizes individuals active in protecting the water environment through participation in Local, State, and/or Federal sponsored activities. 

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