Water Week Spotlight: Cam Coley, Public Information Specialist

With all of the hard work that we do at Charlotte Water, someone has to make sure we are informing the public about our work. We sat down with Senior Public Information Specialist, Cam Coley, to learn more about his role and how he makes sure that we are always keeping the public informed each day.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Cam has been working from his home office (aka, dining room/storage room/pantry). He starts his day around 6:30am, after his “alarm clocks” i.e., fours kids and a dog, make sure that he’s awake and on time for work. He starts the day off by checking his work phone to see if any crews are still working from the late night shift, which may have an impact on the morning rush hour traffic, or water service to customers who are also beginning their day. Before his first sip of coffee, Cam clears out any overnight emails, and informs customers of any outages or traffic alerts through our social media platforms.

Most days are similar, but you don’t always know what may happen next. Cam spends most hours working on communications for several construction projects and informing any residents of water outages in their area through Nextdoor. If there is an emergency water main break that needs attention then he will drop what he is doing to assist.

Some everyday tasks for Cam include:

  • Working with engineers on communications for 30+ construction projects
  • Assisting our repair crews with communicating repairs
  • Communicating wastewater spills in accordance with the Clean Water Act and Charlotte Water’s guidelines
  • Taking photos and videos of our staff
  • Respond to media inquiries

In his role, Cam also works with several different divisions at any given time to stay up to date on any information that needs to be communicated out to our customers. Not only is it important to communicate information out to the public, it is also important to educate the public as well, and continue to educate ourselves (we are customers too)!

Cam has been working for Charlotte Water since early 2001 (20 years!) and works with four other staff members on the Communications Team. The team is a small compared to other similar sized water utilities, but they all work hard to get the information out to our customers. The team’s different talents help to cover a lot of different tasks for internal and external communications.

Cam shares that his favorite part about his role is working on projects that improve our communication processes and notifications to customers. Things have come a long way over the years, but we are always working to improve and develop our communication methods to help meet customer’s expectations. Any opportunity to help a customer connect with the information they need is fun. Another favorite part is taking photos and videos of coworkers to help show the great work they do. Communicators are the ones who often speaking on behalf of the staff, and act as the “voices” of the organization, helping to tell our stories.

Here are a few of Cam’s favorite photos from over the years:

72-inch water pipe construction
Field operations crew flowing a hydrant as part of a repair on a very cold day
Capturing our wastewater treatment plant operators in action

One aspect that is his least favorite is having to communicate because of mistakes. Mistakes are always going to be inevitable, but they tend to be less painful if you drop whatever you are doing and focus on them. Many customers understand and appreciate our efforts when we admit a mistake and quickly resolve it.

Cam’s role allows him to bridge information about outages and projects between customers and Charlotte Water staff, which aligns with this year’s theme of “there when you need it.” Thank you to Cam and the Communications Team for all that you do to share information with our customers and staff!

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!