Richard Gullick, Director of Operations, Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority
Your job title is Director of Operations. What, in your own words, would you say you do?
I am responsible for the operations of the Water, Wastewater, Engineering, Maintenance, and Laboratory departments at the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, which supplies wholesale water and wastewater services to the City of Charlottesville and parts of Albemarle County. I work closely with the Authority’s leadership team, department managers, and staff to set priorities and optimize staff operations in order to best accomplish our mission in an efficient and economical manner.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best part of the job is contributing to the health and welfare of the Charlottesville and Albemarle County community, particularly through disinfection of the drinking water. Also gratifying is seeing staff reach their best potential at what they do, and in identifying and implementing successful and cost-conscious solutions to the wide variety of problems the water and wastewater business faces. Perhaps the most difficult part is not being able to implement those solutions as fast as I’d like to as a scientist, engineer, and public health professional.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
Essentially everyone in the urban Charlottesville area, as well as Crozet and Scottsville, uses the wholesale water and wastewater services of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority every day. Simply turn on the faucet or flush a toilet and you have used both of those services. Providing high quality drinking water is essential for public health, and wastewater collection and treatment is very important for both the environment and down river water users.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the RWSA?
I have only worked here for five months, but have been extremely impressed with the high level of professionalism of the staff. Helping to ensure that every glass of drinking water we produce is well-disinfected and highly palatable is very gratifying. Perhaps my biggest focus so far has been on finding solutions to the odor issues experienced at our Moores Creek Advanced Water Resource Recovery Facility (wastewater treatment plant). Eliminating the odors that migrate onto our neighbors’ properties will be very satisfying.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I am an avid West Coast Swing dancer, and once (for one song) sang lead for my favorite rock band, Chicago. I also play bass guitar, and am looking for a praise band to join in the Charlottesville area.