Randy Jones, Assistant Manager, Water Department, Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority
Your job title is Assistant Manager for the water department. What, in your own words, would you say you do?
The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority’s Water Department treats all drinking water for the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County Service Authority. My job as Water Department Assistant Manager is to oversee all of the day-to-day operations at the RWSA Water Plants located in Albemarle County. The Observatory and South Rivanna Water Plants are operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The other three Water Plants are mostly 8 to 12 hour-a-day operations. I handle the personnel scheduling for all Water Plants and ensure that they have all the necessary material and equipment to produce high quality drinking water.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best part of my job is the people I work with. Most of our operators have many years of experience, and all are very good at their jobs. If there is a problem, it’s my job to make corrections, give suggestions or come in to the plant to make sure the water stays at a high quality. I am still fascinated after all these years with how the water treatment process works, and how our operators can produce excellent drinking water.
The most difficult part of my job is when equipment breaks down or there is a hurricane or other natural disaster. I did not know what a “Derecho” storm was until July 2012. During that event it was challenging to keep our generators running, but we were able to provide safe drinking water to our citizens without interruption. It stretches us but we find a way to always come through.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
Water is essential to life. The big three essential things for human beings are air, water, and food. If a community has excellent drinking water, it is a much better place to live. Roughly 100,000 people use the water we produce every day to bathe, wash clothes, cook, flush their toilets, and swim if they have a pool. Most of the water we produce is used for things other than drinking. But we treat all of it so that it is safe to drink. We believe that everyone should have access to safe, high-quality drinking water, and we produce as much as is needed at any given time, whether it’s snowing, raining, or a drought.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the RWSA?
The New Ragged Mountain Dam is an amazing work of engineering. I was not involved directly with the design but it is just fascinating to see the changes to the site and the finished product. RWSA Engineering staff leaders, Jennifer Whitaker, and Doug March, along with Tom Frederick deserve a lot of credit for having a vision, the intellect, and the courage to carry it through.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I was born in Charlottesville at Martha Jefferson Hospital in 1951. Except for a few years in Petersburg when I was young, and a few years at Virginia Tech, I have lived around Crozet my entire life. I live about a mile now from where I grew up. I have been married to a wonderful woman, Debbie, for 27 years and we have four marvelous children: Rachel, Jamey, Sarah, and Esther. My father, grandfather, and great grandfather are all buried in the area. Further, RWSA was formed on July 1, 1973, and I started working for the RWSA on September 10, 1973. My father was then Director of Finance for Albemarle County and Executive Director of the Albemarle County Service Authority and was one of the negotiators for the original Four Party Agreement which set up the RWSA.