This employee spotlight features Flemming “O’Brien” Walls who just celebrated 40 years of working for Charlotte Water. O’Brien currently works as a Planner Scheduler in the Field Operations Division, and in this Q&A session, he shares with us what his career path has looked like over these past 40 years, and recognizes those who have helped to shape his career.
Tell us about yourself and how your career began with Charlotte Water?
I’m happily married, Debbie and I have five grown adults and seven adorable grandkids. We attend Millennium Temple Baptist Church where I serve as chair trustee. I graduated from West Charlotte High School back in 1979 and continued my education for two years at The Winston Salem State University. I joined the City of Charlotte Utilities Wastewater Collections Division on December 9, 1981, as a Laborer I. While there my parents advised me to always check the vacancy sheet, and with me knowing I was starting from the bottom, my motivation was to learn all that I could because I knew I aspired to be in management one day.
Can you provide an overview of your career path with Charlotte Water?
I quickly started climbing my career ladder. In 1983 I was promoted to Laborer II and transferred over to the Customer Service Division off of Patton Avenue. In 1988, I became a Water Service Technician, and then my next move was into the supervisory position in 1989 as a Crew Chief I. In 1996, I became a Crew Chief II Large Meter Maintenance Supervisor, where I supervised four of our two-men crews that were responsible for keeping our commercial water meters running accurately. In 1998 I became a Case Manager where I was responsible for two Water Quality Technicians and half of the county water quality, and high- and low-pressure complaints. Lastly, in 2004, I transitioned to my current position as a Planner Scheduler in Field Operations.
O’Brien Walls, in 1989 and 1996
What do you love the most about your job?
The enjoyment of working for CLTWater and the public, the camaraderie at CLTWater, the stability in this industry, and my personal growth.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve seen on the job?
The main break we had several years ago on Freedom Drive where the street buckled up for approximately a quarter of a mile; it looked like an earthquake had commenced.
What is your favorite memory of working with Charlotte Water?
My co-workers and managers; I have met a plethora of friends that have become family!
Throughout my tenure I’ve had several mentors and influential people that I would like to mention: Curtis Mingo, Jean McClain, Dowd Yandle, William Mason, Charles Pluchinsky, Angela Charles, Ed Dehlin, Claudette Beatty, Kelly Dixon, Marion Sanders, and David “Doc” St. Laurent.