Emerging Leader: Ivan Pedraza, Redlands Wastewater Treatment Plant

Jim Force, Emerging Leaders, Members in the News

A social media post has led to a successful career in the clean water profession for Ivan Pedraza. Pedraza started his career in wastewater after seeing a post on Facebook that said the East Bay Municipal Utility District was looking for a laboratory assistant.

Even though it was only for an internship, it was a start. After learning more about biology and microbiology at another laboratory, and finishing his degree at California State University, San Bernardino, he joined the City of Redlands staff.

“That’s when I started delving deeper into wet chemistry and microbiology,” he said.

Today Pedraza is a Laboratory Technician 3 at the Redlands Wastewater Treatment plant, a position he has held for the past three and a half years.

Redland’s Laboratory Manager, Jungjoon Park, says Pedraza has worked to improve his skills and knowledge, but he has also helped his colleagues.

“I firmly believe this is where you find authentic leadership,” Park said. “A person who is not seeking his own advancement but also uplifts his coworkers. He truly understands the enjoyment of seeing others’ improvement and being part of their career paths.”

Park is his mentor, Pedraza says. “Park guided me and urged me to take the initiative and be more open. His guidance has determined where I am now.”

Pedraza’s more than a technician. He cares about his facility and especially the lab staff around him. “It’s my first time in a leadership position, but not as a boss, more as a colleague,” he said.

During COVID-19, one of Pedraza’s main concerns was that everyone feels okay and that the lab is running well. “I want to make sure the workload is evenly distributed and that the atmosphere in the lab is positive,” he said.

Park says the past two years have taken Pedraza out of his comfort zone but have made him a better analyst, coworker, leader, and employee. He feels Pedraza is approachable and very attentive to his coworkers.

Pedraza says his goals are to build on his experience and continue to improve. He’s pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Sciences at California State University, Los Angeles, to become a laboratory manager.