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.