For SA Water's Leigh Creek Senior Construction and Maintenance Worker Brad Alcorn, it was a love of his small outback community that forged a new career in the water industry.
Following the closure of the town's Flinders Power operations that left many people looking for work, Brad jumped at a local opening advertised by SA Water which presented the chance to keep his family part of the Leigh Creek community.
Now, just two years after joining the SA Water team, Brad's hard work has recently been recognised with South Australia's 2018 Operator of the Year Award by the Water Industry Operators Association (WIOA). The award recognises excellent performance, innovation and all-round attention to detail in the South Australian water industry.
"I wasn't really expecting to pick-up the award, but I'm extremely proud to be recognised for my work and the important role our team plays in the region," Brad said.
"After 16 years in my old job, being able to learn new skills, and undertake formal training to obtain a Certificate III in Water Operations has been extremely rewarding."
A member of the Customer Field Services team responsible for maintaining the network of water mains and pumps that deliver safe, clean water to towns like Leigh Creek, Copley and Lyndhurst, Brad's ambition led him to take on the additional responsibility of managing the Leigh Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Brad says the local two-person SA Water team is extremely tight-knit, which is not surprising given it's rounded out by his son Joel.
"Going to work every day and knowing the work I’m doing is important to the health and safety of the community I live and work in is extremely rewarding to me, and being able to work alongside my son is an added bonus," Brad said.
"I never wanted to leave Leigh Creek when the township's management was transitioned over from Flinders Power, so being able to stay in the region with a job I love has worked out perfectly."
Presented with the prize at WIOA's South Australian Wastewater Interest Day in Mount Barker, Brad will now join other WIOA award winners from across the country on a study trip to visit wastewater treatment plants in New Zealand later this year.
SA Water Manager of Customer Field Services Colin Bell said the award is testament to Brad's passion for the work he does and the local communities he serves.
"Brad is a skilled and highly-valued member of our team, and this recognition shows the positive impact he is making to both the business and customers in the Leigh Creek area," Colin said.
"This is the second time in three years this award has been won by a member of the SA Water team, and we’re very fortunate at SA Water to have so many highly-skilled, dedicated people like Brad working to provide world class water services across South Australia."
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