Aqua America CEO Chris Franklin Shares His Leadership Advice

 

July marked my first full year as CEO of Aqua America– and what a year it was! After serving in various roles over more than two decades within Aqua, the opportunity to be able to lead this great company has been the ultimate privilege and honor.

Looking back, this first year has been filled with wonderful experiences, unexpected challenges, exciting accomplishments, and most importantly, lessons learned. I wanted to share three of these key lessons because I believe they will not only make a difference in the way in which I’ll lead moving forward, but will also have a positive impact on the continued success of Aqua – and hopefully, by extension, to our customers, investors and the communities we serve.

1.     Time is often a leader’s biggest adversary.

Like so many people, I have often felt that there just isn’t enough time in the day for everything that needs to get done. Regardless of the industry you work in, time management is a crucial skill to develop and incredibly important if you want to become an effective leader. While I don’t pretend to have fully mastered this skill, it is something I work toward every day. It’s why, early on, I introduced a series of meeting guidelines at Aqua such as starting and ending on time, requiring agendas, and putting away mobile phones during meetings, which can serve as distractions. While these guidelines may seem simple, they go a long way toward increasing efficiency, respecting and saving associates’ time, and maximizing productivity in the workplace.

 

2.     Aim for both short-term wins and long-term success.

I came into my new role at Aqua with a long list of goals. While I’ve been fortunate to see many come to fruition in this first year thanks in large part to the invaluable support of my team, there is still much more I’m looking forward to accomplishing together. It can be easy to grow frustrated when the pace of progress doesn’t match the deadlines you’ve set or when obstacles occur along the way. However, I’ve learned that setting a series of goals helps keep us focused and more firmly on the path to success. Some are milestone goals that can be accomplished in a few short weeks and others lay the groundwork for supporting other long-term business objectives that will take a significant investment in time to achieve. For me, a major part of establishing this groundwork has been taking the time to build a strong senior leadership team with the right experience and skillsets to turn our goals into reality.

 

3.     A thoughtful balance between internal and external priorities is key.

In the utility industry, leaders must divide their time appropriately between internal and external stakeholders. Our employees remain among my highest priorities and I have spent an enormous amount of time working to improve the employee experience at Aqua – and there is much more to do. Additionally, it’s important to protect the strong reputation we have with regulators and legislators where we do business. As a result, I continue to spend a significant portion of my time in state capitals with our management team to commemorate the good things Aqua America is doing and also ask for support on issues where we need help. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a management team, throughout Aqua, that works to divide their time in a similar way. This is a very exciting time to be on the Aqua team.

I am very proud of Aqua’s associates and all we have accomplished together this past year. They have taught me a great deal about being a better leader and have only strengthened my resolve to grow Aqua into an even stronger company in the years to come.

 

By: Chris Franklin, CEO, Aqua America

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Water: The Real Olympic Superstar

The Olympic Games are one of the world’s oldest traditions. For thousands of years, athletes of all shapes, sizes, nations and creeds have come together to prove their prowess. However, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that many of the water-based competitions we know and love today joined the ranks. Now, as some of the most popular sporting events to watch, it’s hard to imagine the Olympics without them.

Since we're nearing the end of the Rio 2016 Olympics, we have a lot of questions on our mind. If you’re like us and want to know how many gallons of water a regulation-size pool holds, check out the fun facts below.

 

 Image via Pexels.com

Swimming:

  • When the swimming competition was founded in 1896, the only two stroke styles were freestyle and breaststroke.
  • Regulated pools weren’t around until 1908. Up to that point, the competitions took place in open water.

 

 Image via Pixabay.com 

Diving:

  • Diving was introduced at the 1904 St. Louis Olympic games. Springboard and platform events were added in 1908.

Water polo:

  • In the early days of European Water Polo, players would ride on barrels that resembled horses, and hit the ball with mallets. America had its own version more similar to rugby.
  • Water polo was introduced at the Olympics in 1900. At that time, it was only a men’s competition. It took until 2000 for women to have their own division.

Synchronized swimming:

  • Synchronized swimming is one of the newest Olympic sports, having debuted in the 1984 Los Angeles games.
  • Synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics are the only Olympic sports with no male equivalent team.

The pool:

  • Olympic pools hold about 660,000 gallons of water
  • Each pool is required to be 50 meters long and 25 meters wide in order to meet regulations.
  • The Rio swimming facility is gorgeous. (OK, this one is our opinion!)

The athletes:

  • If you follow the Olympics at all, you’ve most likely heard of Michael Phelps. Holding 18 gold, two silver and two bronze medals, he’s not only the best swimmer in the world, but also the most decorated Olympic athlete in history.
  • For women’s swimming, Jenny Thompson (now retired), holds 12 medals – eight of which are gold. She currently holds more medals than any other female swimmer in history.

Now that you’re an expert on everything water in the Olympics, you’re ready to cheer on your favorite team (USA of course). Show off your newfound knowledge to your friends and prepare your victory dance for when Phelps takes all the medals. We’ll be on the edge of our seats the entire time. How about you?

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130 Years of Aqua America

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