Joshua Oelrich pictured on left

CA Water Week: Veterans In Water, Joshua Oelrich, IEUA

Announcements, Veterans in Water

First and last name: Joshua Oelrich

Job title: Deputy Manager of Maintenance, Inland Empire Utilities Agency

Certifications held: Vibrations Analyst: ISO Category 1; Certified Reliability Leader (CRL); Certified Level 1 Machinery Lubrication Technician

Branch and years of service: Navy 2000-2006

1.     What is your role at the Agency? Deputy Manager of Maintenance – Under direction, plan, organize and manage one or more functional areas in the Maintenance Department including planning, predictive, preventive, and corrective maintenance and repair programs related to the Agency’s treatment plants, equipment, pumping facilities, distribution and transmission systems, and other facilities. I also provide professional advice to Management on the resources required to maintain and upgrade the Agency’s assets in a safe, reliable and cost-effective manner that meets all regulatory requirements.

2.     What / who inspired you to work in water? I started my career in the Navy when I was 19 years old, working within the nuclear program as a Machinist Mate. After the Navy, I got hired as a mechanic working in a refinery for ExxonMobil. I spent over a decade in the refinery and witnessed multiple times and events where public opinion about the oil industry was not well received, so I decided that I wanted to change careers and find a place that had more of a positive impact to the environment and community.

3.     What fuels your passion for your work? My passion is the people I work with, finding ways to streamline processes within the Maintenance department so that we are meeting the operational needs of the facility and minimizing the barriers the Maintenance staff have getting to those needs.

4.     What is the biggest mis-perception about working in water? The water industry is not always a clean environment with few hazards. There are times when you will have to deal with potential hazards such as confined spaces, rotating equipment, pinch points, and hazardous vapor. It is important to mitigate these items so those working can go home the same way they came in.

5.     Why should veterans join this field? It’s a team environment similar to what I experienced during my time in the Navy. There is a common goal we as a team are trying to accomplish for the environment and the community we serve.

6.     What is the most rewarding aspect of your work? I am able to make dozens of reports and presentations and find ways to minimize cost and maximize budget, but the most satisfying thing to hear as a manger is the positive impact you have made in someone’s work life quality.