Charlotte

Operations Controller

When we all work together with a direction and focus we do an excellent job and this is really fulfilling for me individually and makes me proud of my team and the effort they put in.

How long have you been with the company and what first attracted you?

I’ve been here 26 years and 6 months (Gosh that gives a clue to my age!). A friend of my Dad’s said it was a friendly, family company and a good employer who treated their staff well. He was right and that’s still a strong reason to work here.

What is a typical day like for you?

I am based at the Operations Control Centre, Clay Lane. Although I’m office based, I do travel across the business area to work with local operational teams and spend some time at the Hub, in Hatfield. It really helps to build closer relationships.

There’s no such thing as a typical day in my job. One day I could be to helping to plan a routine work programme and the next I could be involved in Incident Management or Support. I manage the 24-hour Shift Team so have to really understand the multiple aspects of the business to allow us to offer comprehensive 24-hour support – that’s a lot of details with a lot of information passing through our team. Challenging my team to develop, supporting them in the process and then seeing them flourish and meet their potential – it’s a real buzz.

Can you tell us about your career progression at Affinity Water?
I’ve been a Lab Tech, Operations Scientist, Process Scientist, Customer Service Agent, Shift Controller, Shift Operations Manager, Control Engineer and finally Operations Controller. The company sponsored me to do my A-levels, then a degree in Chemistry and later NVQs in Customer Experience and Water Treatment. More recently the company sponsored me to do my City and Guilds in Electrical Maintenance and Mechanical Maintenance. It took me a few years but I was given great opportunities, relevant training and brilliant support. Each new experience and challenge gave me opportunities to progress and I’m now part of the senior management team.

I have been delighted that, even in more recent years, when one might consider oneself to be at a certain stage in life, that I have actively been encouraged to lead and develop further. Bringing graduates into the OCC and supporting and encouraging them as they move through the business and continue to develop is a wonderful new experience for me.

What are you most proud of achieving since you have been here?

No one single thing really. Being respected by colleagues and peers is always welcome and I suppose that, as a woman, it is pleasing to be successful in a technical environment, but I judge myself by my own standards to a certain extent and can be my own harshest critic – what am I most proud of? Doing the job to the best of my ability and getting those around me to do the same.

I’m proud that The Operations Control Centre is hosting the Water-Control Room Forum. We are expecting around 40 delegates from across the UK and Ireland to visit us at The Hub for the day. We have arranged a series of presentations and “show and tell” events to share ideas, developments and best practice.