San Diego County Water Authority Named a 2021 Top Workplace
November 22, 2021
The San Diego County Water Authority has been named a Top Workplace for 2021 by The San Diego Union-Tribune, capping a two-year effort by the agency to reshape its internal culture based on shared values. The newspaper’s honor roll is based solely on employee feedback through third-party surveys by Energage LLC, an employee engagement technology firm.
“Safe and reliable water supplies are delivered across the San Diego region every single day by a talented workforce that has been dedicated to public service for more than 75 years,” said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher. “It’s gratifying to see their efforts gain the recognition they deserve, but more importantly, among the residents and businesses throughout the San Diego region.”
Energage’s anonymous survey measures 15 culture drivers deemed critical to organizational success, including execution, and connection.
“During this very challenging time, Top Workplaces has proven to be a beacon of light for organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward.”
The Water Authority is recognized as a Top Workplace in the best mid-size companies category. It is the first time on the list for the agency, which sustains a $253 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility.
“Recognition as a Top Workplace is a credit to our employees, who have risen to generational challenges such as the pandemic along with the countless technical challenges we face every day,” said Water Authority General Manager Sandra L. Kerl. “Our people are at the core of our service to the San Diego region, and this honor is a tribute to our shared values that reflect who we are as an organization.”
Kerl joined the Water Authority as deputy general manager in November 2009 before being appointed by the Board of Directors to her current post in November 2019. She commissioned the first employee survey in the agency’s history the same year as a starting point for her larger effort to integrate different generations of employees, embrace the diversity of the agency’s workforce and empower all employees to reach their full potential.
Kerl said the agency’s evolving culture is a direct result of ongoing engagement with employees at all levels of the organization. A critical part of this effort has been working with employees to identify seven shared values that define the agency at its best. Those values include cultivating community, promoting collaboration, striving for excellence, and creating lasting solutions.
“Our changing culture continues to emphasize technical excellence and industry-leading innovation like we always have, but we also take the time to hear different perspectives and foster each other’s success,” said Kerl. “We value diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas, and we engage in tough conversations – and that approach will keep us strong no matter what the future holds.”
With more than 1,000 water and wastewater jobs expected to open across San Diego County in coming years, the industry offers many promising opportunities. For water and wastewater job postings across the region, go to www.sandiegowaterworks.org.