Gene Pumping Plant Switchyard
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
April 15, 2019
Teamwork Through Technology
Mobile technology continues to evolve at Metropolitan.
In a joint effort between Information Technology and Water Quality, technicians are testing water samples and collecting data using mobile devices, rather than a handwritten log. Two years after the pilot implementation, the program’s success serves as a model for other agencies and demonstrates the strength of collaboration.
“Mobile technology has been out there, but what was unique in this case was the ability to build this project across various departments and increase performance,” said Principal IT Analyst Win Gunadi , the initiative’s project manager. 
Previously, Met’s water quality technicians collected samples and recorded the data on paper, later transferring information to a computer system. A quality assurance officer followed up, comparing the handwritten log to the one entered digitally. Now, a handheld device captures data in the field, streamlining the process, increasing accuracy and making data available in real time.
Operations Application Team Manager Steve Ma accepted an Innovation Award on behalf of the project team at the 2018 Met Management Forum. And last October, the pair presented their approach at the California-Nevada American Water Works Association Fall Conference.
“We’re not focused on the technology first, we’re focused on the process,” Steve said. “We work with employees to get buy-in. We listen to their frustrations and use their feedback to come up with a solution.” The pair looks forward to collaborating with other groups to further advance the innovation process at Met.
A Snapshot of Workforce Excellence: This is Us
  • The average years of service for Metropolitan employees is 14 years.

  • Nearly one-third of Met employees have 20 years of service or more.

  • The voluntary turnover rate in 2018 was less than 1%.

Those are just a few facts in the new 'Succession Planning: Workforce Excellence' report that was presented to the board’s Organization Personnel and Technology committee last week.

Steve Lem made the first of what will be several presentations to the committee over the next few months about the plan.  Steve explained that this new document is a snapshot of our organization’s workforce, but also a blueprint to help make sure Metropolitan continues to attract top talent, offer effective training, education and mentoring programs to current employees, and adopt innovative approaches to future projects.

While much has been said about the nationwide trend of people changing jobs and employers many times during their careers, the profile of internal and external hiring at Metropolitan illustrates a different picture. 

Nearly 90% of all hires for entry and intermediate level positions are from outside of Metropolitan, but 82% of those hired for management and senior level staff jobs are current Met employees, evidence of a strong career ladder.

“When you come to work at Metropolitan,” says Assistant GM/Chief Administrative Officer Shane Chapman in the document, “you come for a career.” The full OP&T Committee presentation can be found here.
Security Relies on
Building Relationships
Greg Staar has been Metropolitan’s Director of Security for less than three months, but he’s already been to many of the offices and facilities - and is impressed by what he sees.

“My background is protecting critical infrastructure,” Greg explains. “I like to work in organizations where people have a sense of mission and understand the critical nature of what they do.” 

Before coming to Met, Greg was the police captain at LAX, which has its own police department and about 1,000 sworn officers and staff. There, he worked closely with Homeland Security and the airlines to ensure the safety of the airport and passengers.

“Those of us charged with security rely on relationships,” Greg says. Whether it’s help from other law enforcement agencies during a crisis, training exercises or an employee noticing something amiss, it’s all part of the job to keep offices and facilities safe.

Greg was a lieutenant at LAX when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. “It was strange to drive to the airport that morning and see no planes in the sky. It was so quiet,” he recalls. But that’s also when he saw the power of relationships and cooperation at its fullest, as other law enforcement agencies stepped forward to help protect LAX and the tens of thousands of travelers who were there that day.

Born and raised in Orange County, Greg has a business degree from USC, a J.D. from Western State University College of Law and is completing a M.S. in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership. He is married, has two daughters - one of whom lives in Slovakia - and two grandchildren. Greg also has his pilot’s license and looks forward to spending more time in the air.
New hires, transfers, promotions & retirements are posted here each month.
Next List: May 6    
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