Veterans in Water: Rick Justice, City of Stockton

Members in the News, Veterans in Water
Introducing Rick Justice, a seasoned expert in water management serving as the Program Manager within the City of Stockton’s Stormwater Division. Rick attributes his commitment to the water sector to his unwavering work ethic and continuous professional advancement.

Certifications held:
  • Environmental Compliance Inspector – Grade IV
  • Certified Professional in Municipal Stormwater Management (CPMSM)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Dual MBA in Business Administration and Accounting & Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences
  • Associate of Arts in Natural Sciences
Branch and years of service:
  • U.S. Marine Corps – 4 years (1992-1996)
What is your role at the agency?

Throughout my professional journey, I have advanced from a Lab Analyst to an Environmental Compliance Inspector, specializing first in pretreatment and then in stormwater. Currently, I hold the position of Program Manager in the Stormwater Division for the City of Stockton. In this capacity, I have a pivotal role in the agency. I am actively contributing to the development and implementation of stormwater management programs, policies, and procedures. This involves overseeing various aspects of stormwater-related projects, such as comprehensive planning, budgeting, scheduling, and ensuring their successful completion. Additionally, I lead cross-functional teams, promoting coordination and collaboration in our stormwater management efforts while fostering partnerships and resource sharing.

What / who inspired you to work in water?

The captivating beauty and vital importance of water, coupled with first-hand experiences witnessing the dire conditions of waterways in third-world countries, have been the driving forces behind my decision to work in this field. The shock of seeing polluted and contaminated water sources—which are essential for life—ignited a deep sense of purpose within me. It became clear that I wanted to be part of the solution, ensuring access to clean water for all. This realization has fueled my passion to make a positive impact and create a brighter future for communities and the environment through my work in the water sector.

What fuels your passion for your work?

The relentless pursuit of environmental conservation and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact fuels my passion for my work.

I am driven by the belief that every action, no matter how small, can contribute to a healthier planet and improved quality of life for future generations. The challenges and complexities of the field ignite my curiosity and drive me to find innovative solutions. Knowing that my efforts can make a positive difference in preserving our natural resources and creating sustainable communities fuels my passion every day.

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

One common misconception about working in water is that it involves mundane tasks. In reality, the water industry presents diverse challenges and opportunities. These include resource management, environmental stewardship, and ensuring access to clean water. It requires a range of skills and offers dynamic and fulfilling work that plays a vital role in safeguarding this precious resource for the future.

Why should veterans join this field?

Veterans should consider joining the water industry for several compelling reasons. Firstly, the skills and experiences gained during military service, such as leadership, problem-solving, and adaptability, align well with the industry’s demands. Secondly, the water sector offers meaningful work that directly contributes to the well-being of communities and the environment. Additionally, there are ample opportunities for career growth, training, and advancement within the industry. Lastly, the water sector values the strong work ethic, discipline, and dedication that veterans bring, making it a natural transition for them to continue serving the public in a different capacity.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

The most rewarding aspect of my work is the opportunity to drive positive change and make a tangible impact. Specifically, I find great satisfaction in identifying areas of improvement and leading cross-functional teams to collaborate and implement more efficient processes. Being able to see the results of these efforts, such as increased productivity, cost savings, and improved outcomes, is truly fulfilling. It’s incredibly rewarding to witness the positive transformation and know that my contributions have made a difference in the organization’s success.