James Keller fulfilled some lifetime dreams when he was tapped to be the Treatment Plant Manager for Napa Sanitation District. “I wanted to move on to a new career, to find a new challenge,” explains James. “And moving to California? My whole family is excited about that!”
James Keller was hired by the District to fill the vacancy left by former plant manager Sharleen Maglione, who retired in December 2012 after 28 years with the District. Even with those big shoes to fill, the District was impressed with Keller’s qualifications. “We had over 20 people apply, and interviewed six very qualified applicants,” affirms Tim Healy, General Manager. “The District is lucky to have found someone with such strong qualifications.”
Prior to moving to Napa, Keller lived and worked in Buffalo, New York. Starting at the Buffalo Sewer Authority in 1981, he worked his way up through the ranks, from plant operator to Shift Superintendant and finally to Assistant Superintendant. The Buffalo treatment plant serves a population of 550,000 and has the capacity to treat 180 million gallons/day.
After a five year stint as the Assistant Chief Treatment Plant Supervisor with Erie County, Keller returned to the Buffalo Sewer Authority as Plant Superintendant (equivalent to plant manager). He returned to an agency that was dealing with aging infrastructure and rising costs. Keller immediately began implementing projects that improved the wastewater treatment process and also reduced energy costs.
“Because of the energy efficiency components to our projects, we also received funding support from the state,” explains Keller. “The money saved by reducing energy use was then rolled back into additional infrastructure improvements.” Keller also implemented projects to reduce water use at the treatment plant. His efforts ultimately shaved $4 million off the annual budget.
Although the Napa wastewater treatment plant is a smaller operation than the one he managed in Buffalo, Keller sees the challenge in learning a new system. He also acknowledges that with the smaller staff in Napa, his position here will have more responsibilities. “I’m impressed with the professionalism of the staff here, and their positive and progressive attitudes,” notes Keller.
Napa Sanitation District (NSD) provides wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal services to the residents and businesses in the City of Napa, Silverado Country Club, the Napa County Airport and several adjacent unincorporated areas. NSD also provides recycled water service to portions of southern Napa County. Covering 20 square miles, NSD has been serving the community since November 1945. For further information about the District, please see www.NapaSan.com.