By Aqua President and CEO Chris Franklin
At Aqua, we are on a mission to protect and provide earth’s most essential resource. We provide 85 billion gallons of water to more than 3 million people each year, and we then return it to our rivers and streams using the highest environmental standards. Our company’s employees understand the importance of the services we provide, and the great responsibility that accompanies our work.
As a company, we are guided by three main pillars: our mission, our vision and our core values. Last year, we set out on a process to better define our core values, the principles that embody the character of our company and inspire our work together. These values are inherently embedded within our business practices and our behavior so I looked at this as a discovery quest.
We used an extremely inclusive process to determine these tenets. Guided by Aqua’s mission and vision, our Aqua Ambassador employee engagement team worked with members of the company to understand the key concepts that are most highly valued by employees. We then distilled the concepts into an employee survey in which our staff described the Aqua culture, told us what was important to them in their personal and work lives and shared the values that they believe guide our company.
I was honestly impressed with what we uncovered through this enlightening process, and am proud of the core values that we have developed to help guide our work in a more formal way. They are: integrity, respect and the pursuit of excellence to be the best we can be for our customers, shareholders and communities.
“Integrity” and “honesty” are words that were repeated by employees to describe both themselves and how they view Aqua. Our team views integrity as being honest and transparent with coworkers, customers, and shareholders. It means being careful and trustworthy to those in both their work and personal lives and displaying good character through thoughtful actions and decisions. This focus on integrity helps us to provide the best possible customer experience, day in and day out, and helps to promote a positive work environment at Aqua.
Given the nature of our business, respect is embedded into so much that we do. Our employees show this respect by being committed to one another; by respecting the work-life balance that all employees deserve; by showing our customers excellent service and committing to the communities we serve by protecting the environment and earth’s water supply through infrastructure investments, community outreach and sustainable business practices.
Pursuit of Excellence
As employees and as a company, our pursuit of excellence is unyielding. Our employees grow as professionals to continually meet the tremendous responsibility of providing water to our communities, and we demonstrate the highest level of care with each customer by always being knowledgeable and by treating them with a level of service that we would provide to one of our own family members. As a company, we make safety a priority by properly training and providing tools to employees to make sure that they are aware of risks, working responsibly and following safe practices. And finally, we all work together to reach Aqua’s responsible and strategic growth objectives and demonstrate our commitment to shareholder value.
By safeguarding these core values of integrity, respect and the pursuit of excellence, Aqua continues to make important contributions to each community we serve. We do this each day when we ensure public safety through our commitment to firefighters; when we help communities become attractive for economic development and job growth; when we protect our watersheds, lakes and streams; and when we provide necessary infrastructure for clean, safe drinking water.
I am grateful for the many Aqua employees who helped us to define these core values, and I enjoy working side by side with them each day to make sure we are living these values to the benefit of each other, our customers, our shareholders and the communities we serve.