Veterans in Water: Garry Parker, CWEA Past President 2016

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Garry Parker, Associate Professor Water Supply Technology, Retired water executive, CWEA Past President 2016

Garry Parker, Associate Professor Water Supply Technology, San Bernardino Valley College & Mt San Jacinto College, CWEA Past President 2016
Tenure and certifications held: Plant Maintenance Technologist Grade 4, Electrical Instrumentation Technologist Grade 3
Branch/years of service: US Navy 9 years

What is your role?

I am a retired water executive from Encina Wastewater Authority where I served the industry as Director of General Services. At Encina my responsibilities included Mechanical Maintenance, Electrical Instrumentation, Fleet Services, Information Technology and Maintenance Planning. Currently, I am still active in the industry as an Associate Professor teaching Water Distribution, Water Math, and Resource Management.

Associate Professor teaching Water Distribution, Water Math, and Resource Management

What / who inspired you to work in water?

I always wanted to have a career that involved helping the public. I believe we, as water professionals, have a duty to do all that is within our ability to ensure the public receives an adequate amount of water as well as treatment that continues to maintain the highest level of water quality.

What fuels your passion for your work?

My passion is fueled by the need for qualified water professionals considering the massive number of retirees at hand. The group of our replacements need to be trained by qualified professionals that care about the public need. Encouraging professionals and new students has become my war cry or battle rhythm.

What is the biggest misperception about working in water?

I think the biggest misperception about working in water is that the career has a finite number of rewards. Many of the rewards experienced while working in the industry has come from the group effort needed to resolve problems in treatment and distribution. Knowing that your team can handle severely impactful problems is, in itself, rewarding. The industry is a well-paying career choice that will NEVER lose its significance for the public good.

Why should veterans join this field?

Veterans enjoy camaraderie and the protection of society. A career in water allows the veteran to experience what they are most familiar with…Duty, Honor, and defending society. Working in water assists the veteran in completing the character of life they are so familiar with and admire. Understanding how to work together for the common good is paramount in the life of veterans that seek the selfless work in the industry.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

Seeing the light turn on for those currently in the industry and new students seeking to join such a great industry provide me with the greatest satisfaction. I have mentored many professionals as they gain more responsibility and education. As we move ahead in finding methods to treat and distribute water, the learning process is never complete. There are always methods to improve upon our ability to return water to a safe state for public use and consumption.

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