Greg Galvin

Wastewater Treatment Facility Electrical/Instrumentation Supervisor

It is rare to have a boss who has confidence in your ability and is not a micro-manager. He gives me freedom to make the wastewater plant more sustainable and to update the technology used in our processes, which also keeps me involved in new methods and learning new systems.

Hopefully the public sees that their local treatment facility is caring for the planet through these and other green efforts.

I am Earth-conscious off the job as well. I was an early adopter of home solar in 2001 and also owned the first-year Honda Hybrid. So my sustainable living goes back a long time. I am known for living an energy efficient lifestyle and have a garden, fruit trees, composter, tank-less water heater, low flow water fixtures and so on.

I made a trek to Mount Everest several years ago. In three weeks of traversing through the Himalayas, I came across many innovative ways that the people interacted with their surroundings to make their lives easier, without depleting resources. The U.S. calls itself a first-world country. In many respects, places that we call second and third world are vastly ahead of us with respect to caring for the environment which we call home.

José Garcia

Street Maintenance Senior Service Worker

I grew up here in Santa Cruz and came to Public Works eight years ago after recovering from a serious health problem.

I had been working as a dispatcher when my first brain aneurysm struck ten years ago. With my second aneurysm, I was told I might not survive, but three incredible surgical procedures at Stanford have kept me healthy many years now. Knock on wood.

As part of Public Works’ Streets Crew, I enjoy being a senior worker and teaching new recruits everything I know about building sidewalks and fencing and asphalt and concrete. The best part of my work is being outdoors. The physical work keeps me in shape. Although, once on the job, I tripped over my own feet—the crew still gives me a hard time over this!

I enjoy spending time with my wife and five kids, two of whom are in law enforcement. My hobbies are old cars and taking care of my yard and motorcycle. I also love listening to Country-Western music—especially Shania Twain.

Laura Shaw

Parking Attendant

I love my job as Parking Attendant at the Municipal Wharf and downtown garages.

It has been a great fit for me over four years now and feels like a second home given the many friends I've made. I arrived here following in the footsteps of family members who enjoyed working for the City.

I do my best to resolve any customer issues and complaints, hopefully turning them into a more positive experience. I have to chuckle when tourist customers ask, “Where will this bridge take us?” upon entering the Wharf.

I moved to Santa Cruz from the state of Washington 11 years ago. My parents and my two grown children live nearby.

I try to keep my life as green as possible. Walking to work is part of this effort.

I have a secret passion: working on cars.

Seth Pringle

Solid Waste Worker

I drive a rear-load collection truck on City routes. I collect refuse and recyclables which I transport to the Resource Recovery Facility on Dimeo Lane. One of the best parts of my job is the incredible ocean view there on Dimeo.

Other responsibilities include making sure the collection vehicles are in proper working order and repairing and maintaining the refuse and recycling containers.

Craig Pearson

Superintendent of Resource Recovery

Born and bred here in Santa Cruz, I really care for our environment. Managing operations at the Resource Recovery Facility has been a perfect fit for me over 25 years now.

I am perhaps most proud that I helped to start our City’s commercial recycling program and that it continues to grow. And I’m happy with our new diversion area service which processes material that is then offered to the public for a minimal fee—redwood chips, base rock and so on.

The toughest part of the job is dealing with the hundreds of regulations that govern electronic and hazardous waste processing, recycling, resource recovery, green waste processing and landfill.

I live a green lifestyle at home with my wife and three sons. We compost, garden, use rain barrels and ride bikes.

My dog Buster is a light of my life. He was found abandoned at a foreclosed home in bad condition. With loving care he has since grown to eighty-five pounds and is completely spoiled. Buster loves the beach, walks and dog parks.

Jennie Munster

Quality Assurance/Quality Control Chemist

After leaving Santa Cruz to go to graduate school in New York, I wanted to come back and use my education to assist the City in any way possible. My education in studying groundwater contamination, wastewater and non-point sources of pollution complemented wastewater laboratory work. I've been at the Wastewater Treatment Facility since 2010.

The lab is here to serve the environmental needs of the community. It also serves the process control needs of the wastewater plant to maintain compliance with state and federal regulations. My main role is to manage the quality of data produced for these functions.

The lab is constantly changing to keep up with improved technology and new community needs. I have implemented methods for measuring nutrients, estrogens and caffeine in wastewater and environmental samples.

Being able to both work and live in the same city is important to me—especially given my two young children. I used to have time for rugby, rock climbing, jogs and yoga, but now my activities center around their needs with trips to the park, beach, local festivals and nature hikes. I’m excited to be able to introduce my passions to them when they are older and maybe find some new ones.

Adan Saldivar

Resource Recovery Worker II

I operate a Caterpillar at the Resource Recovery landfill. We are currently digging a new cell for a second landfill that must meet very particular state regulations.

I enjoy my work, although winter rain, wind and mud make this challenging.

Yet challenges are good for me. I recently completed a big one in my personal life: I changed my eating habits and in one year I lost 80 pounds!

You can say that I am a happy and positive person, very grateful for my 11 years with Public Works—even on that wet winter day when I slid halfway down the hill!

Art Lorenson

Senior Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

I grew up in the deep woods of northern Virginia—hiking, canoeing and camping.

From 1967-1971, I served in the U.S. Navy as a machinist mate in the engine room of a destroyer escort. Later, I ran a plumbing shop and worked as a form carpenter and concrete finisher on high-rise buildings. When all large construction projects in Virginia’s Fairfax County were shut down due to a sewer moratorium, I became a mechanic in the wastewater treatment industry.

Over 22 years now with Santa Cruz Public Works, I’ve worked my way up through Operator to Senior Operator at the Wastewater Treatment Facility. I oversee the operation, inspection and maintenance of equipment and facilities including adjusting that may be needed to maintain an efficient operation and meet regulatory requirements for effluent discharge.

Service to the City’s residents and guarding the environment are honorable goals that do more than just make you feel good.

My personal pleasures include the view of our coastline from an ocean perspective, a view of the whole Monterey Bay and watching whales from my balcony.

The music I listen to includes Harry Nilsson, Dire Straits and Mike Ortega who is a fellow Senior Operator at the WWTF.

Of course my favorite food is Chesapeake Bay blue crabs—something everyone should enjoy at least once in life!

Manuel Figueroa

Street Maintenance Service Worker

With seven years now on the Streets Crew, I’m known as the recycling buff. I recycle all my co-workers’ aluminum and plastic.

There have been challenging work days on the job—especially during the tsunami. There was also the time that someone drove their car into our concrete and we had to push them out!

I came to Public Works because I wanted to work for the City that I grew up in and love. I enjoy working outside and operating heavy equipment.

Every day I try to find something to laugh about and some time for making music— rap music that is!

Suzanne Healy

Environmental Projects Analyst

I've been at Public Works 15 years now and enjoy working on efforts to help improve the City and protect the environment.

My work addresses storm water issues, landfill environmental compliance and other environmental projects. I facilitate the City’s Storm Water Management Program and apply for permits and grants for a variety of environmental projects. You may sometimes find me at Neary Lagoon where I work on projects including sediment management.

I especially enjoy working with local non-profits doing river cleanups, volunteer watershed monitoring and public outreach on water pollution issues. I also do environmental education at special events—the annual Santa Cruz Earth Day event at the San Lorenzo River Benchlands is one of my favorites.

Santa Cruz is such a beautiful and vibrant place—I appreciate being able to work and live here.

Robert Solick

Principal Management Analyst/Emergency Operations Center Manager (recently retired)

Born and bred in Brooklyn, with world travels on hold, I moved to Public Works after a brief career at Child Protective Services. Over 20 years my responsibilities included human resources, finance, emergency management, public outreach and business analysis. My view has always been to turn workload challenges into opportunities and try to remember to remain positive.

Providing services to the Santa Cruz community has been meaningful and rewarding to me all these years. And, the relationships and friendships along the way have been the icing on the cake. As my favorite songwriter, Bob Dylan wrote, “Don't get up gentlemen. I'm only passing through!”—I am grateful to Public Works for this opportunity.

As my admiration for Dylan and his music is well known, guests at my 50th birthday party gave me one of the best surprises when I looked up, hearing them sing “Happy Birthday” in Dylan’s drawl while wearing masks of Mr. Dylan!

Four wonderful grandchildren and the rest of my family are the light of my life. We are a composting, rain-water-gathering, solar-powered clan.

Guadalupe Sanchez

Resource Recovery Supervisor, Corporate Yard

I started as a temp in Sanitation in 1998 and loved it immediately. My 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. schedule has allowed me to be active in my kids’ classrooms all through their school years. My son is now at Cabrillo and my daughter attends Santa Cruz High.

Today I am in Resource Recovery, where I oversee the details of street sweeping and solid waste, recycling and green waste pick-ups. This includes maintaining routes, dispatching drivers and customer service. I also work with contractors and home-owners to ensure that what we haul is recorded properly for green points and state requirements. I make sure that garbage is collected, customers have the correct service level, and streets and sidewalks are clean and clear.

You won’t believe how many times I've seen naked and half-naked people running out of their homes pushing garbage carts trying to make the pick-up! So I have to love Santa Cruz and enjoy being part of the day-to-day here helping the City to look good.

One of the best kept Public Works secrets is how very pretty our landfill is out on Dimeo Lane. It has a spectacular view which matches its exceptional operations.

I’m into “resource recovery” at home, too. I’m excited about my new compost bin. I re-use and recycle everything possible and I only purchase what I need.

On my days off you may find me hiking, dancing or cooking up a storm.

James Locatelli

Wastewater Collection Field Crew Leader

My career at the Wastewater Treatment Facility began in 1994. I plan, schedule, assign and review the work of wastewater collection and storm water maintenance staff. This includes the care of lines, mains, laterals, manholes and cleanouts to ensure compliance with established codes and the implementation of safety procedures and standards.

I train and supervise staff in the methods and equipment used to perform maintenance and construction of wastewater and storm water collection systems.

I assist in evaluating employee performance and counseling.

I also respond to operations, maintenance and repair emergency situations, as well as to concerns from the public.

Jay Thomas

Resource Recovery Facility Gate Attendant

I have been “keeper of the gate” at our Resource Recovery Facility for 23 years. I found this job through a Santa Cruz Sentinel ad in 1991 and have been happy here ever since. We are not a "dump" as we truly recover resources here!

I enjoy interfacing with customers. It’s gratifying to educate citizens on what they can recycle—especially the elementary school groups that visit. It’s fun putting the kids on our giant scale and letting them guess how much they weigh as a group. I also enjoy giving biscuit treats to our customers' canine companions.

My pastimes are the Giants, 49ers, grandkids, gardening and old-fashioned rock 'n' roll. 

Akin Babatola

Wastewater Lab Environmental Compliance Manager

My work overseeing Environmental Compliance and the Wastewater Lab is a dynamic frontier. The pace of cultural transition in wastewater environmental programs and regulations is exciting. Given the rapidly changing frontier of environmental science, much is in flux regarding environmental health, regulations and resource management. The changes require some egg-breaking, and that is always painful.

I came to Public Works 12 years ago pulled by the fervent idea that transformational changes could be successfully achieved with mutual benefit to the City of Santa Cruz and my career. Ever since, I have enthusiastically leveraged the opportunities of my position to answer bigger questions for the City’s water environment. I enjoy finding solutions that are outside of the box. Indeed, this is necessary as the various City environmental health challenges often exceed the dictates of our regulatory limitations.

Outside of the lab, I play competitive games like speed scrabble and online chess. And I play ping-pong with gusto.

I am African and have a precocious 12-year-old who is an athletically gifted girl who teeters between academic excellence at times and insouciance at other times.

I am greatly concerned over the plight of northern Nigeria, my native country, and the ineffective response everywhere to the medieval and violent opponents of western education in general and of women’s education in particular.

Noel Atilano

Solid Waste Worker

I am a U.S. Marine veteran who has worked for Public Works two years now. I appreciate the stability of the job despite the challenges of getting up super early. My shift begins at 4:30 a.m.

I am part of a team that works very hard to help keep the Santa Cruz streets clean. I take pride in collecting our citizens’ trash, recycling and green waste.

When not working, I enjoy building things with my young daughter. It pulls my heart strings to see her growing up so quickly.

Mary Arman

Operations Manager, Resource Recovery and Administrative Services (recently retired)

Now, 19 years after seeing an ad in the newspaper that looked like a perfect job for my background and diverse interests, I can say that it was. I managed Resource Recovery Operations (solid waste, recycling, street sweeping, waste reduction) and directed Administrative Services for Public Works until my retirement which began on December 30th. My work encompassed a wide scope—from getting the garbage picked up to putting together our $50 million budget to advising supervisors on how to handle disciplinary issues.

I’m a small town Oregon kid from a middle-class working family. I went to college in Colorado and then worked on the Oregon Coast for 17 years (land-use planner, parks and rec director, aquarium operations manager) before moving to Santa Cruz.

I chose a career in local government because I believe it is the only level of government that can respond to citizens, neighborhoods and communities at a personal level. I think that we, as employees of the City of Santa Cruz, deliver on that responsiveness daily. Local residents may not realize how much we affect their lives: multiple times every day, and almost always in a positive way!

I am passionate about the need to protect and preserve our natural environment— rivers, coral reefs, wilderness, wildlife. I enjoy scuba diving, whitewater kayaking and rafting, reading, walking, Afro-Caribbean music and peanut butter (crunchy!)

Tim Morton

Wastewater Collection Maintenance Technologist I

I started with Public Works in 2008, first working on the Streets Crew and eventually transferring to Wasterwater Collection where I am now a Maintenance Technologist I.

My responsibilities include a wide variety of tasks in the inspection, construction, maintenance and repair of wastewater collection and storm water systems to ensure safe and sanitary conditions for the City. This often includes operating specialized vehicles such as a Vactor truck and equipment such as air compressors, pneumatic hammers, concrete saws, pipe cutters, sprayers, compactors, forklifts and rollers.

I inspect and test lines in the collection systems visually or using closed-circuit television devices and other specialized testing equipment.

Siobhan O’Neill

Administrative Analyst

I have been with the City since 1986. My first four years were in Public Works. I then moved to the City Manager’s office where I worked for 10 years before returning to Public Works as Administrative Analyst for Operations.

The major focus of my position is managing and obtaining permits for flood control projects, both at the San Lorenzo River and Neary Lagoon. I confer with the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and numerous other entities and individuals to ensure all work is completed and compliant with regulations and time constraints.

In my free time I enjoy listening to the Blues, gardening and traveling.

Hoi Yu

Associate Engineer

I came to Public Works straight out of college—over seven years ago now. One of the reasons I wanted to work in the public sector was because I didn't want to dress up and go to work every day in an uncomfortable suit and even more uncomfortable shoes (!) But seriously, working for the citizens of Santa Cruz is important to me. It means being part of a progressive community that, despite differing opinions at times, wants what’s best for the City.

My work primarily focuses on engineering and regulatory compliance for the City landfill, but lately, I've had the opportunity to work on some paving and bridge projects.

The best part of my job is my co-workers. And I have to mention the delicious cakes one of our administrators bakes and shares with everyone.

I listen to a lot of Taiwanese pop in my spare time. And I really like playing board games with my friends. I also watch a lot of TV—which is how I learned languages and a bunch of useless, random facts.

I am moved when I see strangers being kind to one another. Like anger, kindness is contagious, so when we start being kinder to each other, maybe we can edge out the anger and aggression we see every day.

Chris Cave

Wastewater Collection/Flood Control Manager

I came to the Wastewater Treatment Facility in 1990 after serving as a Pavement Specialist/Equipment Operator in the U.S. Air Force. I provided support for air refueling and Titan II missile operations at McConnell Air Force Base.

I was propelled to Wastewater Collection by previous experience with civil engineering and my desire to serve the community. As a trainee, I surrounded myself with good mentors and worked my way to the management position I have now. I hope to be an example to those starting their career that you can succeed up the ladder with hard work and dedication.

The best part of my job is the team here at WWTF. I have a great division staff and enjoy my working relationships with everyone. The hardest part of my job is keeping up with ever-changing regulations and demands without increasing staff levels.

We are committed to providing the very best service and support to our Santa Cruz customers. Wastewater tends to be out of sight/out of mind and our goal is to keep it that way.

Cooking is a big hobby of mine. In fact, I catered for seven years with Old Texas BBQ Company. Ribs and tri-tip were our specialty that everyone loved.

I have been married for nine years with three step-daughters ages 22, 20 and 18. We have solar on our home and love our annual electric bill that is less than $250.

Leobardo Vierya

Parking Facilities Maintenance Assistant

I was born and raised in Watsonville and actually had never visited Santa Cruz until seven years ago when interviewing for my Public Works job that I found online.

I operate a sidewalk scrubber. The best part of this work is not being stuck in an office and encountering something new and unexpected every day.

The toughest part of my job is cleaning up some unsightly messes so it’s very gratifying when people walk by and thank me for my service.

I’m more than happy to answer any questions the public might have and welcome everyone to say "hello" if they bump into me on my route.

When not working, I enjoy hip-hop and rock music and love to eat breakfast food around the clock.

I’m also a big sports enthusiast and remain surprised that Brazil lost to Germany 1-7 in the World Cup!

Jason Ward

Wastewater Collection Technician II

Hard for me to believe, but it's been 23 years since I first was hired by the City of Santa Cruz and 15 years since I became a full-time employee.

The scope of the work in Wastewater Collection is what hooked me. I help repair and maintain the complicated City sewer system and the storm water system. The biggest challenge is safety—for myself, my co-workers and the community we serve. 

I grew up here in town, so helping the community stay safe and clean is especially meaningful to me.

When I'm not working, chances are you might find me on or near the water, or possibly enjoying my favorite meal at The Crow's Nest.

I look forward to 10 more years with the City. Then I plan to retire and sail to the South Pacific.

Cheryl Schmitt

Transportation Coordinator

I am the go-to person for all things "sustainable transportation." Anything having to do with bikes, pedestrians, transit, carpooling, car-sharing or electric vehicles usually winds up on my desk. This runs the gamut from getting a broken sidewalk fixed, to putting on an electric vehicle car show, to buying discounted bus passes for employees, to talking to the community about bike projects.

I came to Public Works 27 years ago after working for the cities of Seaside and Monterey as an engineering tech. My archaeology degree from Chico State had given me a base in drafting and surveying. I had also learned about building plans, well-drilling, bringing in electricity, and installing a septic tank upon designing a passive solar adobe house in New Mexico.

I now get to bring together my knowledge of the Santa Cruz community and our transportation needs and efforts with my ability as a writer and researcher. I write grant applications to fund transportation projects and programs. It’s always a great feeling when we get the funding!

I enjoy the world of transportation which can be controversial—there's no shortage of opinions in Santa Cruz on how to solve issues! People here care passionately about environmental, social justice and peace issues—concerns that much of the rest of the country is just waking up to. Transportation touches on all of these issues. I feel honored to be able to engage in these conversations and help find solutions as part of my profession.

On the personal front, I am a certified doula and trained in birth hypnotherapy. I have been a volunteer at a shelter for pregnant women. I practice drought tolerant gardening and enjoy ocean kayaking and hiking with the dog. I am on the Board of Trustees of the Center for Spiritual Living and have two grown daughters who live in Santa Cruz.

Michelle Courtroul

Laboratory Technician, Wastewater Treatment Facility

I grew up in Connecticut and made my way to California shortly after high school with dreams of going to college, living by the beach and the redwoods, and meeting great people.

This Public Works opportunity has allowed me to combine my laboratory technician experience with a degree in Environmental Studies and Biology. Every day I feel like I’m helping to keep Monterey Bay safe and clean.

I love the camaraderie among my co-workers at the Wastewater Treatment Facility. It feels like I’m working with an extended family—crazy uncles and all!

One thing that Public Works doesn’t know about me: I spent 10 years following the Grateful Dead on tour and going to college in between. It took me 10 years to get my bachelor’s degree, but I experienced the whole country and have some terrific memories.

Along with quilting, reading, biking and hiking, I spend a good deal of my down time sitting on my deck with an Arnold Palmer, a good book and a cat in my lap. Life is good.

Dave Meyers

Senior Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

The most challenging part of my job is the wastewater plant itself—it's a biological system with different moods during different seasons. There's a lot to learn and it takes experience. I was very lucky to get into the profession as an “operator in training” in 2004 and learn from people who had been here for a while.

Some of what I do is lead and direct plant operators overseeing hazardous material regulations and safety rules and regulations. I work with engines, pumps, sedimentation basins, aerated grit tanks, centrifuge equipment, co-generation equipment and more.

The people I work with are awesome. Top-notch from the top down. In maintenance, operations, lab, and collections, the people want to do the best they can.

When I'm not at the plant you might find me surfing, skateboarding, fishing or listening to Roots Reggae. And I'm in the process of getting rid of our front lawn. "Our" refers to my wife Amanda of 19 years and teenage sons, Elijah and Luke.

Marcelo Ogarrio

Resource Recovery Worker II

Up here atop the Resource Recovery Facility hill, I manage the green waste and diversion area. Over eight years now I’ve had the best view in town!

I feel good about my work helping to make this a greener planet. I am proud that 80 percent of our green waste is sent offsite for composting and the rest is used onsite or sold here as part of our mulch product. The reusable wood or lumber that I sort is also offered to the public at a modest fee, along with the redwood chips and tan wood chips that we create.

My biggest challenge is clearing the trash I find that customers have mixed into the green waste.

My funniest work day was literally getting stuck in thick mud after a torrential rain.

This is my third position with the City. Previously I worked at the Wharf and as a custodian.

I enjoy the outdoors both on and off the job. I run at least four times a week.

I have been married for 25 years and am proud of our five beautiful children.

Tina Larsen

Parking Facilities Maintenance Assistant

I was born and raised here in Santa Cruz, graduating from Santa Cruz High in 1981. I want to make a difference and hope to be part of the solution in making our City safer and cleaner.

I work in Parking Services where our focus is the maintenance of the City garages and parking lots. We also do garbage runs on Pacific Avenue, Cedar Street and Front Street once per day Monday through Saturday, and twice on Sunday. Many folks don’t realize that our crew works 365 days a year. We are on the job from 5 a.m. to 12 or 1 a.m. There’s a lot of work that happens so that Santa Cruz is clean and safe by 8 a.m.

I got the job four years ago when someone from Sanitation told me about a temp opening. At the time, the company I worked for no longer offered health benefits. I was seeking a position where I could provide insurance for my family. I applied and was fortunate enough to get hired.

The best part of my job is working with my co-workers who are very supportive. I look forward to coming to work and being part of this team despite occasional challenges working with the public when they are frustrated or in distress. I find that slowing down and returning to a duty later is often all it takes, but it can be hard work.

Off of the job, I am a seamstress and limit my work to performance costumes. My hobbies include wilderness camping and four-wheeling. I am also an avid target shooter. I am very concerned about our local homeless youth and have served as a licensed foster parent.

I have been married since 1993 to Paul and have one 20-year-old son, Caleb. My favorite music is anything my son is playing live! At home we run our lights off of solar. We compost, have a garden and raise chickens.

Chris Schneiter

Assistant Director of Public Works/City Engineer

Back in 1987, after working in Switzerland for four years, I was hunting for a job along the California coast. Public Works offered an interesting opportunity in Traffic Engineering. I really wanted to live and work in beautiful Santa Cruz, close to the ocean and San Francisco. It's a bit far from the Sierras, but I've adapted!

I enjoy solving the intricate puzzle of how to provide funding, permits and community buy-in for sound infrastructure improvements that are needed and desired in the community. I manage excellent staff and the challenging projects in the Engineering Division and other departments. I work closely with the Transportation and Operations managers on infrastructure improvements. Projects include everything Public Works.

Surprises have included finding a partial Native American skull on a project, the amazing people I've met as a result of the Arana Gulch Multi-Use Trail Project, and the incredible work that my fellow employees do daily along with the sense of humor they have when the going gets tough!

In my free time I like to bike ride, travel, camp and spend time with family and friends. Lately I'm listening to a lot of '80s rock that my teenager is sharing with me.

Laura Estep

Parking Attendant

I came to Public Works over ten years ago. In addition to my job here, I take care of elderly parents and work at Gilda’s restaurant. I love my jobs and my life in Santa Cruz. Even though I do not have much free time right now, I am happy!

As a Parking Attendant I enjoy assisting the public anyway I can, working at several different locations within Parking Services. I collect parking fees, sell monthly permits, welcome and greet the public, give directions and answer questions. I try to keep a positive attitude even when dealing with difficult or angry customers. I attempt to keep smiling and stay calm no matter what.

Customers see my sense of humor—especially at Halloween. I dress up with a dark wig and lots of makeup and false eyelashes. Customers always ask who I am and say they've never seen me before which always gives me a laugh!

At home I have several rescued animals: two cats, one dog, two rabbits and one bird.

I take sustainability messages to heart: our household recycles everything and we use plastic buckets during our showers to collect water for our plants.

Frank Espinosa, Sr.

Wastewater Collection Senior Maintenance Technologist

I started at the Wastewater Treatment Facility in 2010 where I direct wastewater collection and storm water systems maintenance crew and perform complex duties in the inspection, construction, maintenance and repair of the City’s wastewater collection and storm water systems.

I often enter into confined spaces such as manholes, vaults and tanks using appropriate safety procedures and apparatus and locate wastewater lines by reading maps, drawings and street markings.

I train employees in work methods, use of tools and equipment and relevant safety precautions.

I respond to operations, maintenance, and repair emergency situations as required and oversee the use of related safety equipment, such as respiratory personal protective gear.

Daniel Ambrose

Resource Recovery Worker

I have worked for the City of Santa Cruz for 30 years full-time—I can’t believe how the years have added up! Before Public Works, I was in the Parks and Recreation Department.

I enjoy operating the street sweeper. The best part of this work is my shift from 4:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. I get to experience “green and free” Santa Cruz as it wakes up five days a week.

I have horses and a donkey, enjoy Tex-Mex food and listen to Country and Western music when not working.

Filipina Warren

Office Supervisor

It’s sure never boring in the Public Works front office! We get some interesting phone calls from the public. I’ve had to explain more than once that the probability of finding a diamond ring that was mistakenly flushed down the toilet is slim to none.

Besides supervising front office staff, I provide administrative support and customer service to the various Public Works divisions and other City departments. This ranges from staff reports for City Council or Commissions, processing purchase orders and invoices, researching budget issues and knowing how to maneuver through Eden financial software, not to mention, putting out small fires.

I know what goes on behind the scenes to take care of the City, so I don’t take any of the work done by our employees for granted. I think that Public Works does a great job addressing issues that are brought to our attention. I’ve learned that sometimes there are quick fixes and other times it takes a bit longer.

As I enjoy being active, I bike ride with my son, trail run with my dog, and play roller derby with the Santa Cruz Derby Girls Seabright Sirens. I’m also a red belt one-stripe in taekwondo (almost a black belt) and have participated in Tough Mudder twice now. It’s a crazy 10-12 mile event with obstacles and, yes, a great deal of mud!

I love music. Right now I’m listening to Amp Live (Headphone Concerto album is really, really good), Disclosure, Bomba Estereo, Wiz Khalifa, Adrian Marcel … so I enjoy going to concerts and finding new music online. I also love dancing, reading, and finding treasures at thrift stores.

Andy Shatney

Energy Project Coordinator

I’m the new kid on the block here at Public Works where the best part of life is being able to help people. I do this through energy efficiency upgrades.

My work is about saving energy, saving money, providing well-maintained facilities and lowering the City’s carbon footprint. The greatest challenge is coordinating similar efforts among various groups citywide.

My specialty is lighting upgrades—the solar landscape is very exciting.

After hours, I spend time enjoying music, martial arts, writing, comedy, biking, hiking, working out and laughing.

Jess Davila

Street Maintenance Crew Leader

My most memorable day on the job as Streets Crew Leader was seeing President Bush come to town after the earthquake. Second to this was when I received a customer service award at the annual Public Works barbecue. And I greatly enjoyed my first years here when the old timers gathered for card games at lunch and told stories about their early experiences with the City.

I was drawn to Public Works 34 years ago because I wanted to work for the town I grew up in and enjoyed outdoor construction work. There’s always a full plate maintaining the streets and sidewalks and storm drains for the citizens of Santa Cruz. The challenge is completing jobs with minimal traffic delays and maximum safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

I have been involved in Santa Cruz projects both on and off the job such as moving the train at Harvey West Park that I played on as a kid, and filling in the pool at Pogonip. I helped out during the ‘82 flood, the ‘89 earthquake and several El Niño floods.

It means a lot to me to provide quality service to the town that’s been home to me, my wife and children.

Agnes Topp

Environmental Projects Analyst

Born and raised in France, I arrived at Public Works two years ago after graduating from college in Hawaii and working as an environmental consultant there.

I enjoy working on the City’s Storm Water Management Program. As Environmental Projects Analyst, I manage the execution of our Low Impact Development site design approach that uses techniques to slow and infiltrate storm water to mimic the natural hydrology. Keeping up with the rapidly changing field of water quality in California is both stimulating and challenging.

I'm gratified that my job connects me to nature which is an endless source of curiosity for me. I’m constantly amazed by its regenerative nature and its diversity here on the West Coast.

Many of my hobbies connect me to nature as well: hiking, surfing, stand-up paddle-boarding, drawing, painting, traveling.

Did I forget to mention horseback riding?!

Since buying a horse one year ago, this has become my greatest personal pastime. Actually, I didn’t want to buy a horse, it kind of "happened" to me after only six months of serious riding. Although I had wanted a horse my entire life, it seemed too surreal to have actually happened.

There’s no doubt that this horse makes me a better person.

Fred Stevens

Wastewater Treatment Facility Lead Mechanical Technician

My time at the Wastewater Treatment Facility is creeping up on 20 years. You know what brought me here? My car—just kidding! Rather, my military experience with the Navy where I worked in this kind of environment, so it’s been a good fit.

I perform fairly complex mechanical maintenance work on the wastewater treatment plant system and remote facilities. This includes ensuring adequate mechanical operation of the treatment and pumping facilities with much equipment troubleshooting.

I’ve enjoyed the variety of challenges that we have faced over the years; also the range of equipment we work on and my terrific co-workers. Most challenging of all has been learning how to be an effective leader.

I love living and working here with no commute over Highway 17 and avoidance of that North Bay rat race.