Aqua's Erin Feeney Recognized for Outstanding Mentorship

 

Congratulations are in order for Erin Feeney, a Financial Analyst in Rates and Planning at Aqua, who has been named the 2016 Volunteer of the Year by Junior Achievement of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Junior Achievement (JA) is the world's largest organization dedicated to empowering students to own their economic success through programs focusing on work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. The organization recognized Feeney for her service during the 2015-2016 school year and her outstanding dedication to furthering JA's mission.

 

Feeney was the lead volunteer for Impress, a student-run start-up company founded by local teen entrepreneurs. The company was composed of approximately 25 students from Haverford High School, Upper Darby High School, St. Joseph's Prep, Radnor High School, Phoenixville Area High School, Woodlynde School, Great Valley High School, Science Leadership Academy, and Central Bucks High School West. The student group took home top honors at the JA National Student Leadership Summit on June 22 in Washington D.C. after competing against 15 other finalist companies from JA chapters across the country.


 

Feeney led a team of nine Aqua volunteers who mentored the students weekly at Aqua's Bryn Mawr offices as they developed and executed a business plan to sell a variety of personalized press metal products. The students brainstormed ideas, raised capital, elected officers, and developed an annual report, marketing materials and a formal presentation about their company. 

"This year the mission of the competition was 'enjoy the journey,' and our talented group of student entrepreneurs did just that," said Feeney. "In 16 short weeks, the students started and successfully ran a profitable company with support from me and eight other Aqua volunteers. It was incredibly rewarding to watch these students mature and develop their business skills, both individually and as a team."

 


Feeney says she is honored to receive the award, but she wouldn't have had a successful year without her fellow volunteers and the passionate students on the team.

"My fellow volunteers also deserve a lot of credit, as well as the senior management team, who not only allowed us to use Aqua's facilities throughout the competition, but also supported the program and our efforts to mentor the students," Feeney explained. 

 

 Feeney with fellow volunteers Scott Szczygiel and Greg Galiffa.

Feeney's involvement with JA began four years ago when her mentor was involved with the program. She has been the lead volunteer for the last two years and has loved working with dedicated team members and groups of motivated students. 

"Aqua is proud to partner with Junior Achievement to provide mentorship and real-world business skills to local students," says Aqua Chief Financial Officer Dave Smeltzer. "We are especially proud of Erin and all of our employee volunteers, who have given up countless hours of their personal time to lend their business acumen to such a worthwhile organization." Smeltzer is a member of the JA of Southeastern Pennsylvania board of directors.


Congratulations to Erin Feeney on her well-deserved recognition!

  

 

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Tree Planting with Aqua at the Perkiomen Creek Watershed

Here at Aqua, we take pride in coming together with local conservationists and residents to improve water quality in an eco-friendly way.

 

 That’s why on Friday, Oct. 7, several Aqua employees, along with dozens of volunteers, showed up to plant native trees at the Perkiomen Creek Watershed, adjacent to our Green Lane reservoir. Aqua’s Watershed Specialist Robert Kahley, Chief Environmental Officer Chris Crockett, Manager - Water Resources Engineering Tony Fernandes, and Director of Environmental Compliance Deborah Watkins, were among the green-thumbed volunteers protecting our local water ecosystems through environmental stewardship.

 

 

In less than two hours, the volunteers planted 120 new trees, and by the end of the day, the number was up to an impressive 620. Think about it — that’s 620 new native trees, releasing fresh oxygen into the air that wasn’t there before. The trees may be short in height now, but their positive impact on the environment is nothing close to small.

Join us in thanking our stellar Aqua employees for their continued hard work, both for our customers and the world around us.  

 

 To learn more, visit: http://bit.ly/2e2Tw4d

 

 

 

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Customer Service Week Spotlight: Leslie Torres

Last but certainly not least, we have one final Customer Service Week interview to close out our week of celebrations. Today’s featured representative is Leslie Torres!

 

How long have you been with Aqua?
I have been with Aqua for 10 years as of September 18th! Double digits, baby!

What is it like to interact with Aqua’s customers? What makes them unique?
We never know what situation we are going to encounter when we answer a phone call. Aqua’s customers come from a diverse range of locations, which allows us to work with a large variety of different personalities. Our customers are unique because they’re so diverse from one another.

 

Has working in customer service improved your people skills outside of Aqua America? 
Absolutely! I now have a ton more patience than I did prior to working in customer service. Speaking with customers every day has also made me a better listener; I pay more attention to detail and am able to notice things I would have otherwise missed in the past. Additionally, working in this industry has made me far more flexible — I am better able to solve problems and adapt to seemingly difficult situations. 

Has working with Aqua’s customers impacted your life outside the workplace? How so?
I always run into customers outside of work! I have been stopped while grocery shopping or out to dinner with my family; I have found myself answering customer service questions outside of the workplace more often than I could have ever imagined.

 

Whenever I do encounter a customer outside of Aqua, I always treat them just as I would in the office: with kindness and respect.

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Customer Service Week Spotlight: Kelli Hodges

Continuing our Customer Service Week series, today we’d like to introduce you to Customer Service Representative Kelli Hodges! Let’s get to know her.

 

How long have you been with Aqua?

I started in a temporary position with Aqua back in July of 2009, and was hired on full-time in November of that year!

 

What is it like to interact with Aqua’s customers? What makes them unique?

Aqua customers are truly one of a kind. Dealing with an ever-present utility, I find that I am learning about the lives of people from all walks of life, an experience I find very rewarding.

What challenges have you overcome in order to provide quality customer service?

I have learned that it is sometimes necessary to pause, take a step back and give a customer the space to share their feelings, even if I have already determined the reason for their call. A lot of the time, customers need to express their emotions, and they use customer service representatives as an outlet to do just that.

 

We all need to be heard, and a major component to my role here at Aqua is ensuring that I’m listening to our customers’ needs and feelings, and driving home the fact that they know I’m here to support them.

What is the most rewarding thing about working in customer service?

The most rewarding thing about working in customer service is definitely helping customers find solutions and offering them options they didn’t even know they had. It may seem like such a minor thing for us, but we can make someone’s day and lift a huge weight off their shoulders with one short phone call. It’s an act I am very passionate about!

Has working with Aqua’s customers impacted your life outside the workplace? How so?

Absolutely. First and foremost, I have learned to develop a great deal of empathy and understanding in my relationships with others. Additionally, it is often the people we would least expect who may be having a hard time.

 

I believe that working in customer service has made me far more open-minded and sensitive of other peoples’ needs, thoughts and feelings.

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Customer Service Week Spotlight: Sarah Camargo

We’re on to day two of Customer Service Week here at Aqua! All week long, we’ll spotlight our exceptional customer service representatives, giving them a chance to share the ins and outs of their experiences. Today’s customer service representative spotlight falls on Sarah Camargo. Let’s get to know her!

 

How long have you been with Aqua? 

I’ve been with Aqua since November 2006, so nearly 10 years. Time flies!

What is it like to interact with Aqua’s customers? What makes them unique? 

There’s never a dull moment when interacting with our customers. Since we take calls from customers in various states, we encounter a wide range of personalities. You would think after working here for nearly 10 years that I would have heard it all, but that’s not the case. 

 

We get inquiries that range from water distribution to what our field technicians are working on, so I’m always happy to serve as a human encyclopedia for them!

What is the most rewarding thing about working in customer service?

I live for customer satisfaction. When we can help and lift an enormous weight off their shoulders, it makes our job incredibly fulfilling. 

 

Has working with Aqua’s customers impacted your life outside the workplace? How so?

I never want to speak over the phone anymore! Since I’m on the phone all day with customers or other Aqua employees, I try my hardest to never use it when handling personal matters. If I can do it online, I will. I tell my friends and family to text me rather than call, if possible. The rare times I do have to talk to somebody on the phone, I accidentally end the call with, “Thank you for calling Aqua!” 

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