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Profiles in Public Service

We put out a call for City of Houston employees to share their public service stories; how long they've been with the city, how long in public service, why they choose public service and why it's important and advice to someone looking for a job in public service. Here are their Profiles in Public Service.

Profiles LG FBWhy is public service important to you?

I began my journey working for the City of Houston as a temporary employee in 2000 until 2002 when I was hired permanently. I was working with people who didn't know how to read, write, or even sign their names. Many would sign with only an X. I began reaching out to them and started tutoring some of the employees because not only did I witness the pain they were suffering, but I felt it too. The minute someone would share their secret that they couldn't read or write, I would tell them I was there to help them. I would say I am not going to do it for you I am going to show you how to do it yourself. Some would say they were too old to learn, and I would tell them that I was here to help. We would meet at the end of the shift.

After it was out that I was helping, I had six employees. When it was over, two dropped out because they didn't have the support from home. They were told they didn't need to know how to read and write. But I didn't give up on them; instead, I would show them the importance of knowing what they are signing and why until I was successful. All six were able to get their GED's and moved on. Some retired and others were promoted out. I knew God had a plan for me here at the City. Once I was hired on after two years I knew there were bigger fish to fry.

One day I was asked to return a phone call to one of our customers and it was an elderly lady on the phone crying her heart out. All I could offer was everything is going to be alright. I began to get on the phone and call around to the individuals that handles her concern. Once the manager went out to the location and assured me her problems were going to be taken care of, I felt at ease. But that was not the end of my journey with this homeowner. When I was told the job was complete I asked the manager to take me over to the homeowners home to make sure everything was okay. I went and surely this lady had such a smile on her face and said thank you. At that point, my work with the City began to be very delightful and rewarding. Working in Public Service has been very eventful and challenging.

There are a lot of people out there that just need to know everything is going to be okay. Sometimes we get so caught up with how we are being treated on these jobs and forget really what we are here for. So, I began to not only listen to the cries of our customers but our employees too. I have developed a lot of friendships with people I don't even know. Just the thought of helping someone spreads your name around and make you a resource to others and an asset to the City. I use to love telling customers everything is going to be alright, but I had some rough times with managers who didn't have a heart of gold. I made it a task to follow up with customers to make sure of what I promised. Just to see the smiles on their faces and the worry off their minds made me the happiest. I miss working with customers because I believe that there is so much love and compassion and the drive to make everything okay that I have to offer.

 

Why did you choose a career in Public Service?

I have a passion for helping people. The value in helping helpless people is knowing that you done your job not only as an employee but as a human being. 

What would you say to inspire someone to begin a career in public service?

If you look at your job as a gift from God and know that your job depends on someone's life you will make it in public service. The reward is not going to always be forms of accolades or have monetary value. My reward has been when I've reached the soul of someone and they tell me how much they appreciate me or even just a thank you is more valuable than anything.   

I have another passion and that's children. Elementary education is my next goal in life. My plans are to retire from the City really soon and began my journey into education. My family thinks that I am the chosen one that will make you or break you.

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Profiles GK FBWhy is public service important to you?

Service to others is important to me because I want to know, at the end of the day, I have contributed something positive to society. It is a way to change the world for the better.

Why did you choose a career in Public Service?

I want to know I have helped to keep people safe and they were able to go home to their families the same way they left in the morning, alive and in one piece. I have worked in the safety field for 33 years because safety is important to keeping families, communities and businesses strong, Houston Strong, so positive growth can take place. 

What would you say to inspire someone to begin a career in public service?

Service is important because helping others keeps our society advancing and improving. It makes you feel good because you forget your problems when focusing on others. The reward is something money cannot buy because the result and reward are priceless. Know yourself so you can know best how to serve.

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Profiles DP FBWhy is public service important to you?

Public Service is essential to me because it allows me to give back. I learned that you only climb up when you reach down to help someone else. I enjoy what I do because it supports the collective efforts of providing quality service to the citizens of Houston. 

Why did you choose a career in Public Service?

It's funny because I did not choose a career in Public Service, Public Service chose me! I became acquainted with working in public service during high school while enrolled in a vocational class. At that time, I discovered my passion for serving others, which has been one of my most significant rewards. I am grateful that my entire career has been in the public service arena.

What would you say to inspire someone to begin a career in public service?

A career in public service requires you to have a passion for serving and service. Selfish ambitions do not exist in public service; however, selflessness does! Gratification is the result you get when you put others first!

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Profiles JB FBWhy is public service important to you?

Working in public service is a gift that is acquired through the hard work and dedication of those who choose to uphold the values of the community through safety, honor, integrity and perseverance of community togetherness so that the building blocks of humankind can maintain a healthy growth towards the goal of sustainability by the men and women who provide the knowledge and commitment to bring these attributes to light. This is my view of public service. Not all men and women have this type of public service within them but, we all have a main purpose to be here.

Why did you choose a career in Public Service?

Because I believe in helping the community be a better entity in the future then what it was in the former.

What would you say to inspire someone to begin a career in public service?

The need to help people and the drive to become a better person while helping others.

My service includes volunteer firefighter (6 years), Army Veteran (4 years), Navy Veteran (10 years), Air National Guard Veteran (Air Force- 3 years), City of Houston Urban Park Ranger (9 years), Houston Police Department Community Service Inspector (14 years). During the time of my service includes becoming a veteran of the following - Desert Storm - US Army / Desert Shield - US Army / War on Terror - US Air Force / Operation Noble Eagle - US Navy. I know there are those who have done better than I and to them, I salute. God Bless the public servants of our great nation and the communities for which they serve.

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Profiles DG FBWhy is public service important to you?

I am fulfilled when City of Houston traffic has made your travel as safe and fast as possible. Being able to serve the public and living in this great city has been one of my greatest passions and accomplishments. I have worked on many big projects to help improve your daily commute and travel. I am blessed to serve the public and not just myself.  I have joked before and said, "I would have served for free if my wife would have allowed, but then I realized many would have requested that." In this industry, we don't do it for the money , we do it to leave a mark of excellence and accomplishments with great conviction. 

Why did you choose a career in Public Service?

I was in the electrical industry for many years and found the strain for stability in work and left me searching for health benefits and personal time off with my family. When I first started with the State of Texas Highway Department and Traffic, I realized it was a career and not just a job. Then the transfer to the City of Houston - PWE Traffic, I had found a home and was able to make my career into a legacy, where I could serve the citizens of the City of Houston along side my co-workers, in a team effort to make the city a safe place to travel. 

What would you say to inspire someone to begin a career in public service?

As a public servant, you may not be acknowledged very often and as the saying goes, "no good deed goes unpunished", but remember it is a good deed. You have to look for the accomplishments, though they may be big or small. Find self-gratification for goals achieved and lives that were saved by you and your team's decisions. And to remember you are a PUBLIC servant for the citizens and not YOURSELF. 

There are more public departments to serve in. There are many serving various tasks,  such as,  you could be on a firetruck rescuing someone from a fire, a policeman or woman saving lives, someone is picking up your garbage, your water is running and draining and your street lights are burning. The only lives that matter at that time, is to see your face.  For example, as of current,  the public information office has given updated  information for health and safety concerns for our citizens. The common thread here is People serving People.

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Profiles JP Why is public service important to you?

We believe public service is important because what we do ultimately affects everyone including myself. We work to serve the people of Houston by providing the safe drinking water that comes to people's homes by rehabilitating various water plants as well as underground wells throughout the Houston area. Safe drinking water is an important element for the daily life of every human on earth. We believe our small contributions for rehabilitating the water plants contribute to the safe drinking water for all citizens of Houston and surrounding communities.

Why did you choose a career in Public Service?

As an engineer, you must decide your career between money and public service. Some engineers chose a path to make more money so they can afford all life's necessities for themselves. Some chose a Public service sector to help citizens. I chose the latter because I believe that whatever you do today will impact the life of every citizen you serve. There is no better reward in life than helping fellow citizens.  When we see people have safe drinking water coming from the water plants we just rehabilitated, it gives us immense pleasure to see the smiling faces. A good example is during the freeze two months ago, when the water pressure was low and the City issued the boiling notice. The City worked hard to restore the water pressure and provide safe drinking water to all citizens.

What would you say to inspire someone to begin a career in public service?

I was fortunate to work with interns who were about to graduate from college. My advice to them was one thing: You must choose your career between the money or contribute your knowledge to society. If you are just coming to the City for money, then I would politely inform them to look at the private sector. But if you want to contribute your knowledge and passion, then this is the place where you will find satisfaction.

The following are the achievement I have accomplished during my time at the City:  Project of the Year for Leeland Laboratory Building-ACES -2019   Gold Medal Award for the Leeland Laboratory Building -ACES - 2020    Project of the Year for Ardmore Drinking Water Facility-APWA -2020 Project of the Year for Renovation and Upgrading of Southeast Water Plant-APWA-2020  Professional Manager of the Year -APWA- 2020   I was the lead construction manager for the City of Houston on the innovative Leeland Laboratory Building completed in 2019. The Leeland Laboratory Building consolidated the City of Houston's three (3) separate drinking water laboratories (located in water treatment facilities in the City's system) into one (1) overall analysis hub for the entire City. I led the renovation and repurposing of an existing property in the City of Houston's existing real estate inventory saving countless dollars as well as time to bring this state-of-the-art laboratory online and to the benefit of the fourth (4th) largest city in the United States.

I was also the lead construction manager for the City of Houston on the new award-winning Ardmore Drinking Water Operations Facility. Also completed in 2019, the 66,000 SF facility, on a 4.25-acre site, consists of a service center for maintenance and machine repair bays, parts storage, carpenter shop, instrumentation and meter repair shops, and advanced administrative areas with offices and workstations as well as state of the art conference and training rooms. The Ardmore Drinking Water Operations Facility consolidates the City of Houston's existing scattered administrative and maintenance shops into one dynamic and efficient operation located near the epicenter of the City in general. I oversaw and led the construction of this truly unique and inspiring administrative and repair facility that brings together both the blue collar and white collar disciplines of public works efforts to keep and maintain the highest standards of water and wastewater service for the residents, employees, and visitors of the City.

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Profiles MB FBWhy is public service important to you?

It's the best way to share my knowledge, skills, and experiences with others in a way that could benefit them.

Why did you choose a career in Public Service?

Having spent most of my life in the construction industry, I could see how lack of knowledge of construction codes and best  practices had a detrimental effect on contractors and the public alike. I felt that I could help more people come to a better understanding of critical life/safety issues in construction by becoming a Building Code Enforcement official instead of remaining a private contractor.

What would you say to inspire someone to begin a career in public service?

I would say, think about the things that upset you about everyday life in a city. Then think about the difference you could make in helping to solve some of those issues and improve the lives of your fellow citizens if you chose a career in public service.

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 Profiles DHWhat would you say to inspire someone to begin a career in public service?

Public Service is not for everyone. In general, those seeking fame or fortune may want to consider other careers. But for those with a servant's heart, who are most fulfilled by working to benefit others and your community, I believe you will find a satisfaction that almost no other type of work can offer.

 

Last modified on Monday, 03 May 2021 11:31