Veterans In Water: Rhondi Emmanuel, Administrative Services Manager

Career Stories, Veterans in Water, Women in Water

Rhondi Emmanuel, Administrative Services Manager, Vallecitos Water District
Tenure and certifications held: 7 years; IPMA-SCP
Branch/years of service: USMC/9 years

What is your role?

As Administrative Services Manager, I’m responsible for multiple departments including human resources, public information/conservation, information technology, and risk management.

What / who inspired you to work in water?

To be honest, I never really thought about working in the water industry.  Since my military career, I’ve always worked for government agencies (special district, city, county) and my best experience was when working for a Special District, like Vallecitos. In my opinion, there is more camaraderie when working for a Special District because we share a common purpose.

What fuels your passion for your work?

As one of my main responsibilities is human resources, my fuel is being able to help employees.  I may not have chosen the water industry on purpose, but working in human resources is more fulfilling when you have the privilege of working with employees who are passionate about what they do.

What is the biggest mis-perception about working in water?

I think one of the biggest mis-perceptions is that the water industry is a job for unskilled people.  We have office employees with licenses and advanced degrees, field employees with extensive training and specialized certifications, and everything in between.  Even for field employees, there are a variety of disciplines depending on their interests.  They can start off working in a ‘ditch’ and some day advance to management (a.k.a. Ed Pedrazzi).  Depending on their desire, the opportunities are there for them.

Why should veterans join this field?

Veterans should consider water because it’s not just another government job.  It’s a career in a very important industry that affects every person, every day.  Veterans typically join the military because they want to make a difference.  They can absolutely do that working in water.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

The most rewarding aspect of my work is when I see an employee that I’ve helped become what they want to be and shine.  It sounds corny, but there are a few people who come to mind that when I first started here, their future was uncertain. Looking back, we (team Vallecitos) were able to point them in the right direction and give them the tools they needed to be successful. It’s an awesome feeling.

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