Mark Keller – WCW Member Profile

Working-in-Water-logoWCW Member Profile – Mark Keller

Mark KellerName: Mark Keller
Position: Manager, District Operations
Organization: SaskWater
Born and Raised: On the family farm near Wilkie Saskatchewan

Education/Training

Received my Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, and hold a Class 4 Operator Certification in Water and Wastewater Treatment

History in the industry and as a WCW member

I received my Bachelors degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan in 1983.  I have since enjoyed a successful 28 year career with the City of Saskatoon Utility and Infrastructure Services Departments as a Project Manager, Water Treatment Plant Superintendent, Water Treatment Plant Manager, Water & Wastewater Treatment Branch Manager and Manager, Vehicle and Equipment Services. I joined Associated Engineering’s Water/Environmental Group (Saskatoon office) in January 2012 as a Senior Project Manager and in July 2013 I joined SaskWater as Manager, District Operations where I continue to serve in this capacity.

I am an active member of the AWWA, and WCW. I have been involved in the WCW local Conference Planning Committee since 1984 in the capacity of Operations Chairman, Conference Presenter, Publicity and Audio Visual Chairman. I was appointed to Vice President of Western Canada Water in September 2008 completing my four year term as Past President in September 2012, during my term I served as WCW Saskatchewan Provincial Council Chair and continue to serve on the committee as a member at large.  I have coordinated numerous AWWA teleconferences and webcasts and served on the Western Canada Water and Wastewater Cross Connection Control Committee for numerous years.

Typical day

At the present time my focus is mainly on the development of treatment process operation manuals. As is the case for many utilities refined documentation of the operation of water treatment systems is limited therefore SaskWater has made a concerted effort to improve its system documentation. Based on my extensive experience in water treatment operations, and related system documentation, I have been tasked with the development and/or improvement of water system documentation for our client and corporate owned facilities. This involves gathering background information on the water treatment systems, coordinating site meetings with operational staff, gathering operating data along with site photos, incorporating the gathered data into the format of an operation manual, reviewing the draft manual with the operation personnel, and providing them with a working copy of the manual to be used on-site for ongoing noted improvements or changes made to the operational process. This work combined with the refinement and/or documentation of standard operating procedures will serve as excellent reference material for the training of new staff, and a consistent and clear direction on how the treatment system is intended to be operated.

Main challenges

I’m getting old, LOL There have been significant changes in the way we approach water treatment solutions in the last few decades so keeping abreast of technology can be challenging. It’s a world full of all forms of communication so the longer you are in a job the more you learn and more you have to filter in relation to the urgency and importance of the information. Developing a good personal filing system along with a supportive corporate system is crucial to balancing work priorities and being able to efficiently retrieve the necessary information and complete tasks.

Career Highlights

Career Highlights: I received the H.G. Lindsten Award in 1999 for my many years of service as a WCW Committee member and in 2014 I received the George Warren Fuller Award for “distinguished service to the water supply field”.

Advice

Be passionate about what you do, it infectious. Develop your network; be willing to give of yourself. Much of what we do and/or are able to do comes down to relationships, invest in them.

Time away from work

I have numerous interests from sports to wood working to fishing but what I treasure most is spending time with my wife, my 4 kids, our grandchildren and our network of family and friends.

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