Emerging Leader: Marvin Gonzalez, Field Service Superintendent

Roni Gehkle, Clean Water Magazine Editor, Emerging Leaders, Veterans in Water

Marvin-GonzalezMarvin Gonzalez has been nominated for and received awards in the past, but none of them predicted his future success as accurately as his most recent nomination. Last autumn, a coworker at Leucadia Wastewater District nominated Gonzalez for the CWEA Emerging Leaders program. Little did they know that Gonzalez would soon be promoted to Field Service Superintendent, taking on new leadership responsibilities.

“My hard work is not dependent on getting something out of it,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a real blessing to receive this promotion.”

For 18 years, Gonzalez has been employed at the Leucadia Wastewater District, starting as a field service technician in training. Within six years, he climbed up the ranks and assumed his first leadership role. In his last role as field service supervisor, his colleagues already recognized his leadership abilities.

“Marvin is an extremely skilled and talented supervisor,” said Robin Morishita, director of technical services at Leucadia. “He possesses an innate ability to sense when an individual’s attitude and performance is changing. And, more importantly, if it is an adverse change, he possesses the courage to confront the individual to address the issue.” According to Morishita, dealing with performance issues before they turn into disciplinary problems is beneficial for both the individual and the district. This helps maintain the high level of performance of the field services team.

Morishita acknowledged Gonzalez’s exceptional leadership abilities that exceeded his job responsibilities. During a joint training session with the local firefighter department, Gonzalez was informed that the fire department didn’t have a confined space rescue team due to budget cuts. He took the initiative to locate a private company that could offer the necessary services. As a result of Gonzalez’s efforts, the fire department was able to hire dependable confined space rescue services whenever required.

Gonzalez, like many in the wastewater industry, did not plan to work in this field initially. After leaving the Marine Corps, he held various jobs until he met a friend at the gym who informed him about a stable job opportunity in the industry.

“He said to me, think about how many times you wash your hands, shower, flush the toilet,” Gonzalez said, remembering the conservation. “He told me this was a stable career and gave me a book to check out.”

After becoming intrigued by the science involved, Gonzalez decided to take courses at the local community college. During his time there, he met the superintendent of Leucadia, who happened to be one of his instructors. The superintendent informed him about a job opening in the district, where Gonzalez has been working ever since. Today he is a certified CWEA Collection Systems Maintenance Grade 4.

Although he is still new to his role as a superintendent, Gonzalez is already envisioning a long-term commitment to his position and striving to enhance the District’s field services department to its fullest potential.

Recognize accomplished water professionals who are making a significant, positive impact on California’s water by nominating them for an Emerging Leader feature in CWEA’s Clean Water Magazine. Details here >