Meet the Ripples of Aqua Pennsylvania

At Aqua, we have three core values that guide us in everything that we do: integrity, respect, and the pursuit of excellence. From providing our customers with safe and reliable water to giving back to the communities we serve, we are proud to reinforce these ideals in the past, present, and future stages of our company.

In 2017, we launched the Ripple Effect, which is a cross-company campaign dedicated to illuminating the various ways that our employees make positive impacts on both their communities and each other. And because no volunteer effort is complete without its volunteers, we decided to put the spotlight on the people within the Ripple Effect—or the “ripples” themselves, if you will.

Let’s meet Lara, Kate, and Chad, three Aqua Pennsylvania employees whose participation in our Ripple Effect program has ranged from feeding the hungry to helping children in need.

United in fighting hunger

Earlier this month, we kicked off “Making A Difference, One Drop at A Time,” our third national fundraising campaign for United Way, after more than 40 years of participating in local campaigns throughout the company. In 2018, the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey presented Aqua with the “Game Changer Award” for efforts accomplished during our first national campaign.

We also participated in United Way’s United2Feed event in June, where along with volunteers from a variety of other companies, our total contribution of time and energy yielded 8,000 boxes of food (155,000 meals) sent to shelters and food pantries throughout the region. 

 

“I really appreciated the opportunity to volunteer at the United2Feed event,” said Administrative Assistant Lara Mraz, who participated in the event. “In the Greater Philadelphia region, one in five people faces hunger every day. I really enjoyed being a part of the process to give people the help we all sometimes need.”

This campaign wasn’t our first rodeo with our friends at United Way, either. We’ve participated in numerous United2Feed events, including 2017’s rendition, where 23 Aqua employees from various departments, along with volunteers from a variety of additional companies, helped to pack 12,000 boxes of food, resulting in 120,000 meals for 32,000 individuals.

United in helping kids succeed

Being able to impact the lives of members of our communities is a gift that we don’t take for granted. That’s why we feel honored to support Cradles to Crayons in their mission to make a positive mark in the lives of the 300,00 children who live in poverty in the Greater Philadelphia area.

This past June, 24 Aqua Pennsylvania employees stepped away from their usual routines to volunteer with the organization, including Executive Assistant Kate Boucher. As a mother herself, she found it extra meaningful to work for a cause dedicated to helping children in need.

 

 

“When planning our finance conference this year, I thought that it would be a good idea to include a volunteer day with Cradles to Crayons,” she said. “The day was a huge success! People from our finance teams across the country participated and really enjoyed spending a day helping the kids in this area.”

Another one of those volunteers was Chad Nardelli, manager, property accounting. “It was a very rewarding experience, and I’m happy I had the chance to do it,” he added. “Because of the few hours I had at Cradles to Crayons, I’m looking forward to future opportunities to volunteer.” 

From writing cards to encourage children on their first day of school to sorting donations of books and clothes, the whole group enjoyed spending time together while making an impact.

In addition to inspiring positive ripples in our communities, these experiences bring together all the individual “ripples” of our Aqua team to build trust and learn from one another. Though the impact of a few hours of volunteering seems small, our team is here to tell you that one small ripple is just the beginning of a much larger wave.

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Aqua employees volunteer their time during National Volunteer Month

April was National Volunteer Month, and Aqua employees all across the company took part.

Aqua recognizes the many benefits of volunteering and rolled out The Ripple Effect campaign in 2017 that helped solidify all the good the company and its employees do for each other, and in the communities it serves. Overseeing the effort is Kimberly Joyce, vice president of legislative, regulatory and external affairs, who explained that “The Ripple Effect represents Aqua’s continued commitment to reinforcing the ideals of our mission, vision and core values, now and in the future.”

Throughout the entire month of April, Aqua employees gathered together and participated in #NationalVolunteerMonth through various environmental improvement projects as well as several charitable giving opportunities. Check out their efforts!

(Above) Aqua Illinois employees cleared debris, removed buckthorn, and planted oak seedlings and perennial plants at two locations in Hawthorn Woods;  removed invasive honeysuckle, and shredded it for mulching paths at Camp Shaw-waw-nas-see in Manteno, volunteers; and participated in the Food for the Children backpack program, where they helped fill backpacks with nutritious food to benefit more than 300 children in the Danville school district.

 

 

(Above) Aqua Indiana employees took place in the annual Team Up 2 Clean Up event, organized with the focus of beautifying local parks and surrounding community properties.

 

(Above) Aqua North Carolina donated $2,500 to local food banks, and nearly 60 employees volunteered at various locations including Greensboro Urban Ministry Food Pantry (Aqua Kernersville), Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (Aqua Cary), Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina (Aqua Fayetteville) and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina (Aqua Denver).

 

(Above) Aqua New Jersey joined One Simple Wish in their efforts to spread love, hope and joy to children impacted by foster care, abuse and neglect. Volunteers helped pack “lovedby bags” for children, which are filled with arts and craft supplies, and added a personalized touch by decorating journals with drawings and inspirational words. They were also able to grant five wishes, which ranged from assisting with medical bills to groceries to new sneakers.

 

 

 

(Above) Aqua Ohio contributed $3,000 and several volunteer hours to multiple charitable organizations throughout its service territory, including Habit for Humanity, the American Red Cross, the Franklin County Food Bank and the Marion County Park District.

 

(Above) Aqua Pennsylvania participated in two clean up events at Brandywine Red Clay Alliance and the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy. For the Perkiomen event, they also provided funding, as well as bags and gloves for the volunteers, and assisted with tire recycling afterwards.


(Above) Aqua Virginia participated in two Habitat for Humanity events at Fluvanna County Habitat for Humanity and Hanover Habitat for Humanity.

 

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Ripple Effect brings volunteerism, work-life efforts into focus

Aqua is introducing a new campaign to bring into clearer focus all the good the company and its employees do for each other, and in the communities it serves.  The Ripple Effect will encompass volunteerism, the Aqua charitable trust, work-life balance and knowledge sharing, said Kimberly Joyce, vice president of legislative, regulatory and external affairs, who oversees the effort.

“At Aqua, we believe our mission, vision and core values shape us as an exceptional company,” Joyce said. “They enable us to go above and beyond, making a positive impact on water, the environment, our communities and our work together.”

Joyce said the Ripple Effect represents Aqua’s continued commitment to reinforcing these ideals, now and in the future.

Ripple Effect from volunteering

Aqua recognizes the value volunteer service has for both local organizations and employees. This year, following a pilot program in 2016, it has made a commitment to allow non-union employees eight hours of time to volunteer at company-sponsored events. Examples of those opportunities include planting trees, watershed clean ups, and working at local food banks.   

Aqua President and CEO Chris Franklin pointed out that there is just as much benefit to building camaraderie as there is for the recipients of the volunteerism work.

“When we put forth effort to make life better through the Ripple Effect, the outcome can be extremely rewarding,” he said. “We encourage all employees to participate, have fun, build newfound friendships and enjoy a shared sense of pride.”

Charitable trust’s Ripple Effect

Each year, Aqua’s charitable trust provides donations to organizations in the company’s eight states related to environmental stewardship and education, water and wastewater-related projects, emergency services such as fire departments and disaster relief, and community and economic development including arts and culture.

“When we donate dollars from our trust, we enrich lives throughout the communities we serve and advocate for the environment,” Joyce said. “Over the years, we have formed partnerships with impactful organizations such as the United Way. With our first companywide program this year, our employees raised $147,000. That shows the Ripple Effect we can have when we join together for a common good.”

Ripple Effect of work-life balance

Joyce says when Aqua helps its employees maintain a healthier lifestyle and enjoy flexibility, it improves the quality of work produced on behalf of the 3 million people it serves.

“With offerings like jump-start Fridays in the summer, wellness fairs and even local seasonal celebrations, we’re encouraging our team to find that balance we’re all seeking,” she said.

Knowledge-sharing Ripple Effect

From internships with Cristo Rey High School students to overseas travel with engineering majors, Aqua employees are sharing expertise and giving back to the next generation.   

Cristo Rey is a college-prep, high school in North Philadelphia that emphasizes helping students work towards college acceptance using work-study assignments in a variety of businesses like Aqua one day per week. Students learn about work skills from Aqua employees who coach and mentor these young men and women.

“It’s rewarding on both sides of the equation,” Joyce noted.

Another way Aqua employees share knowledge is by paring engineering students from Villanova University with the company’s professional engineers to tackle complex water supply problems in Central America.   

"Our partnership with Villanova University allows our employees to volunteer their time and expertise to help shape future engineers, while making a real difference for communities that need clean running water," Joyce said.

Other examples of knowledge sharing include participation in Junior Achievement, the world's largest organization dedicated to empowering high school students to own their economic success through programs focusing on work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.

“The senior team encourages employees to really embrace this effort, and be the drop that starts a Ripple Effect for the good of your team, our customers, and our communities,” Joyce said. 

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