Veterans in Water, Manuel Moreno, IEUA

Veterans in Water

First and last name: Manuel Moreno 

Title: Operations Supervisor

Tenure and certifications held: Wastewater Treatment V, Potable Treatment II, Advanced Water Treatment III, Certified Reliability Leader (CRL)

Branch and years of service:  Air Force 4 years active duty

What is your role?
As an Operations Supervisor at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, I’m responsible for plant and lift station operations, safety and compliance, maintenance activities, and planning and maintaining the operating budget. I collaborate with multiple groups on plant shutdowns to accommodate engineering construction projects, maintenance activities, and asset management condition assessments. Most importantly, I provide support and guidance to Operators and foster a positive work environment.

What / who inspired you to work in water?
After doing some research, I learned Operators in the water industry made $2,500-$3,500 per month (1990’s) and they were never laid off. The military guaranteed this job, so I signed up.

What fuels your passion for your work?
My passion is to provide the highest quality treatment and work with Operators to have a positive impact on their careers and lives. I want to make the Agency a better place to work, so I do what’s right for the Agency, the Operations Unit, department, and my facility. It doesn’t matter who I report to as people come and go, but the Agency and the public will always be here. Therefore I stay true to the Agency and focused on the things that have a positive impact on my co-workers, the facility, Agency, and the public.

What is the biggest mis-perception about working in water?
One of the biggest misperceptions about working in water is that recycled water is unsafe. Most people don’t know that reclaimed water goes through a rigorous process to make the water suitable for reuse. The regulations are as stringent as potable water.

Why should veterans join this field?
Veterans should join this field because the industry needs more people with integrity, ambitious standards who can work under pressure, and people who understand and are committed to service before self.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
The most rewarding aspect of my work is working with the Operators and being a part of the future generation of water through coaching volunteers and operators in training, as I get to witness many of them start their full-time career as Operators. They will always remember their internship and first job in the industry and I want them to be well prepared and to have a great experience.