Matt Smith, Employee of the 3rd Quarter 2017

Posted on December 15, 2017

EOQ 2017

Matt Smith, Sewer Maintenance Superintendent, was recognized as the Employee of the 3rd Quarter of 2017!

“Compared to previous superintendents that I’ve worked for, Matt goes above and beyond what is expected of him. He is constantly reviewing plans prior to construction to be revised. Engineers are great at what they do but don’t have the mindset or experience of maintenance personnel and this is where Matt’s expertise come in. When he reviews plans he is viewing them as how one of the maintenance crew would work on the job and often points out things that may look great on paper but backwards in the field.

Another change Matt has brought when providing input on plan reviews is implementing a “bypass” if all else fails. Say the pump station or pipe fails and the well raises before repairs can be made, the bypass additions Matt has come up with gives the District another place to divert the sewage before it enters the environment. This has proven to be very important when dealing with today’s regulations on sanitary sewer overflows.

Matt’s brain is like a steel trap. He’s kind of like rain man. He remembers everything. I can call or text him in the middle of the night and ask him about an address or pipe in the Dominican neighborhood and he’ll say “Oh yeah, remember 12 years ago you and I were up there doing a repair and we diverted the pipe across the lady’s backyard to rod hole by the tree.” His memory also comes in handy during contract negotiations. Even though he is no longer in the union, he’ll point out stuff we negotiated 20 years ago and remind us not to give it up.

He has been instrumental in bringing SRSD into the 22nd century. Our crews take lap tops out into the field everyday. We can enter our daily activities as we complete them and it automatically updates the GIS tracking system. We can also click on any structure in the
District and see when the last time it was cleaned or had any maintenance done to it. This comes in handy for future maintenance, capital improvement projects, lawsuits, etc. These records are online and date back to 2006, right after Matt took the superintendent position.

Since he took the superintendent position the total amount of sanitary sewer overflows has declined. This says a lot considering the reporting regulations get tighter and tighter every year. Today if a gallon of water leaves the pipe the State wants to know about it. The way the crews maintain the gravity collection system has changed because of Matt’s attention to detail and how often certain parts of the City needs to be cleaned or what tools are best utilized for cleaning different pipes.

For someone who lives in North Santa Rosa, he takes very few sick days. Always on time and always willing to stay late meetings, after hours call outs or whatever. Anyone who commutes to Sonoma County can attest if you leave later than 3:00 pm you can easily add an hour to your normal commute.”

-An inspired colleague of Matt Smith

“Matt’s beginnings were in the field and he worked his way up to management. He takes his responsibilities very seriously; therefore, his advancement to management is not unexpected in his career path.

Matt is very good with customer service. He has a particular sense of humor that can be useful when addressing issues with a resident or contractor. He frequently receives complements from the residents and the public that comes to our office. He will provide them with the complete information necessary to assist them with their projects and questions, explaining in detail how the sewer system works.

Incredibly, Matt is thoroughly familiar with the San Rafael District sanitary sewer system. When there are issues, the history of the pump stations and pipeline are filed in his memory and provides the engineers and crew essential facts to aide in design and troubleshooting. When there are after hour calls, Kris Ozaki, Maintenance Supervisor, frequently consults with Matt, because Matt can quickly offer information and details to assist in resolving field issues.

Matt is always part of the team that reviews capital improvement plans and specifications, providing valuable engineering input. He may not have the engineering degree, but his depth of technical knowledge is impressive and invaluable as part of the design process.

Matt, frequently, utilize creative thinking, coming up with ideas that aides in the reduction of the number of sanitary sewer overflows by implementing more efficient cleaning methodology and program. Most managers are reactive, whereas Matt is proactive. When there is a pump station issue, he is able to provide an alternate scheme of pumping/ diverting the sewer flow to another location. Matt’s attention to details and understanding of the sewer system provides him the tools to solve field issues, preventing potential sewer accidents, and the optimum methods of maintenance and operation.”

-An inspired colleague of Matt Smith

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