Drinking Water Week continues as we spotlight one of our “behind-the-scenes” staff members, Letitia Harvey, a Service Dispatcher. Letitia and her team play a critical role in communicating with staff across multiple divisions to ensure water is always there when you need it. We sat down with Letitia and discussed more about her important role with Charlotte Water.
For Dispatchers each day is different, because new and unique situations arise every day! At the beginning of her shift, Letitia receives a debriefing from the previous shift on any incidents or updates she needs to be aware of going into her day. She then logs into a variety of internal systems needed to perform her job throughout the day.
Dispatchers also have to use a two-way radio and phone to quickly communicate with crews and senior water technicians who are working out in the field. Dispatchers have to be very organized and in control of their devices at all times.
Letitia has worked for Charlotte Water as a Dispatcher for a little over two years, and received the Field Operations “Employee of the Year” award in 2020. Last year during the pandemic, Letitia and her team made the best of their situation, as they were not able to work from home. They really exemplified the theme of “there when you need it” because they had to take on additional responsibilities as needed while they were working in the office during the pandemic. The dispatch team has eight staff members, including their supervisor, Fred Moody, who always works with the team and helps out where needed.
Letitia also gave a shout out to Scott Clark, Chief of Operations, who never missed a day during the pandemic. Letitia shared that Scott reported to work every day with an optimistic outlook on safety pertaining to the pandemic, and he provided the Dispatch team with additional resources and support as needed. His presence was an added comfort during very trying times coping with the Pandemic, and they appreciated that they were “not alone” during the uncertain times. This example really solidifies the theme of “there when you need it.” Letitia shared how staff members work together in unity, no matter what curve ball is thrown in their path; they are “always there when you need us.”
Her favorite part about her job is problem solving. It is very rewarding being able to assist customers, who are many times in a panic when they call in about an issue or outage with their water. It is a good feeling knowing that you have the resources to help customers and make them feel at ease knowing that we can address and help the situation.
One rewarding experience that Letitia shared, was one Sunday, when calls go directly to Dispatch instead of coming through 311 first, there was a customer who was out of water for a prolonged period of time that day. The customer’s outage time had been extended, so they took a pitcher of water out to her so that the customer would have enough water to get through the remainder of the outage.
As a dispatcher, your day pretty much never stops; on a typical day they receive over a hundred calls. But for Letitia, that is a good thing. She thrives when she is busy and getting the job done. Her least favorite part about her job is the down time when things slow down, and the calls and emails take a pause. However, this is a good opportunity to catch up on any emails, which have to be monitored very closely.
Emails are another very critical part of a Dispatcher’s role, as many issues and requests come through email in addition to the many calls they receive. Everyone has a variety of issues that are coming in via email, and they must be prioritized accordingly. Letitia is also responsible for monitoring camera surveillance for Zone 2, monitoring the gates to control who enters their Zone. She also monitors the SCADA system which monitors when the treatment plants do their testing, and when they hear an alarm at the lift station.
Letitia enjoys staying busy, but also knows that self care is very important. She had the clever idea of creating a “Zen zone” at her desk, to take small breaks as needed to reset during the day.
Thank you Letitia for sharing with us more information about your role, and thank you for all that you and your team do for our community to keep water there when you need it!
Continue to follow along this week as we will share more “day in the life” stories of our staff members during National Drinking Water Week!