Employees Reflect on Long Careers at Marshfield Utilities

Jim Seefluth and Robert Olwell from Marshfield Utilities (MU) prepare to leave for Florida.

Submitted to OnFocus by Melissa Barnes, Marshfield Utilities – Every calendar year, one of the first things I do to prepare is to update reports in our employee database. Among other things, these reports help me determine who at MU will be celebrating 5 year incremental anniversaries each month.

It is also always interesting to look at the statistics in general. For the start of 2021 I noticed even though we had several newer employees, we still have half of our employee group with 10 years or more of service. I reached out to the 11 employees with 20+ years of service and asked them all some questions about their time at MU, here is what I found out.

While the individuals I spoke with have very different positions within the utility, they were in agreement about their favorite aspect of the job…..growth, always learning, and every day being unique. Perhaps it is because of the size of the organization and all of us needing to wear multiple hats or the fact that technology advancements have vastly changed how our industry works, but these things certainly keep us engaged (even after 39 years for one employee).

Another common thread I found was that MU employees have had the ability to grow and develop throughout their careers, which has helped to keep them engaged long-term. This has ranged from keeping up with industry trends and trainings, to furthering their education level.

For anyone who has tried it, it is not easy to work full-time, possibly juggle a household/family, and then fit in time for school. We have had several employees do just that and subsequently be promoted.

We have an employee who started while in high school as a co-op student and throughout her career she did just that; she balanced family, work, and school all the way up to a bachelor’s degree. Along the way she has worked in three different departments and is now a manager who always brings a wealth of knowledge to the table!

Another employee who started in the water department with an Associate degree worked for many years taking one class a semester to complete his Bachelor’s degree. Shortly after receiving his degree, he was promoted to an assistant manager position. Both of these employees showed great dedication and determination which helped them reach their goals.

The types of items that were given for why they enjoy working for MU varied. One enjoyed seeing the appreciation from our great customers during storm restoration work. Another stated that it was like their second family and that they are fortunate to work with people who are dedicated, engaged, and committed to making MU the best it can be.

There truly is a wide variety of types of positions at MU and therefor there are an equally wide variety of skills and knowledge needed for someone looking to get into a career at MU. We have roles that do not have a specific educational requirement, but rather require experience with activities like administrative skills, money handling, customer service, and basic computer skills.

Some roles are ones that require the person to have finished a 9 month course through a technical college before beginning an apprenticeship. Then the next 4 years they are learning on the job while also completing school work. We also have some positions that require specific degrees (both Associate’s and Bachelor’s) in accounting, engineering, or other business degrees.

Despite the wide variety of education requirements, there is one common characteristic that is required….a desire to serve the community. The customers we serve are not just “customers”, they are our neighbors, our family, and our friends. We are part of the community we serve and we take pride in our jobs.

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

News Desk
Author: News Desk

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