Helping others was nothing new for Felipe Carrillo when he joined the Santa Clara Water and Sewer Department five years ago. He had spent the past 11 years working at an at-risk youth center, teaching students construction and general trade skills.
So it’s little surprise that in his relatively short tenure at Santa Clara he’s developed a reputation for working with others, setting a good example, and helping colleagues succeed.
“I’ve always been a person who tries to help others,” he says.
His nominator, Garrett Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Sanitary Sewer, agrees.
“He always takes time to explain things and procedures to the less experienced staff,” Brown says.
“Felipe is very good at thinking three steps ahead, and it shows in his work. Many newer staff want to work with Felipe because of his ‘can do’ attitude and ever‑increasing knowledge base. Felipe is teaching his peers and newer staff how to think ahead and manage their time effectively.”
Carrillo’s helpful attitude carries over into his work as a water and sewer utility operator II.
He says both the challenge and reward in his job comes from responding to emergency calls that come in from residents. “The calls can come in at any time,” he says. “The reward is helping them out, being able to do something for them. That’s what I like about this job.”
He’s learned a lot on the job himself. “Growing up, you never think about what happens to water after it leaves your home,” he says. “This opens your eyes. You understand the value (of water and sewer),” he says.
He plans to stick with the clean water profession. His aspirations include working with CCTV, managing pump stations, and other important tasks. He has the right attitude to succeed, according to Brown.
“Felipe’s humor and good attitude make people gravitate towards him. He learns quickly and retains what he has learned. He has quickly become one of our best maintenance workers.”
Would you like to nominate someone as an Emerging Leader to be featured in the CWEA E-Bulletin and Clean Water? We accept applications on a rolling basis. Head over to our awards site and start nominating!