When his boss called him over one recent afternoon, Cregg Beach thought he had done something wrong. He had gone to a different wastewater treatment plant for what he thought was a training session. His division director asked him to come outside and meet with someone. Beech’s first reaction was that he was in trouble. Instead, he was told that he was receiving this year’s Customer Service Award. “I was completely surprised,” Beach says. “It never entered my mind that I would have won an award.”
Beach is a Treatment Plant Operator IV with Public Utilities/Wastewater. In his four decades with the City, he has mentored and trained countless employees, including all current members of the Wastewater supervisory team.
Those who nominated Beach say he offers to help coworkers who are studying for their certification exams. Because there is no training course for the certification, Beach teaches the math formulas and how they are used to operate the wastewater plants. According to the nomination, Beach’s encouraging approach leaves coworkers feeling grateful and assured they can reach out to him for advice in the future.
Beach says he has gained valuable experience through his years of working for the City and believes it is his responsibility to pass that knowledge to newer employees. “I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to mentor newer employees,” he says. “It is rewarding to see employees develop confidence on the job and become knowledgeable operators and proud employees of the City of Gastonia.”
The nomination says Beach frequently steps up for additional tasks, even if it means working late or taking on more responsibility. One example was when he volunteered to run the Town of McAdenville’s aging wastewater treatment plant. That meant Beach took on the personal liability of running the plant that was “aged, difficult to operate and had a poor track record of compliance with legal requirements.” During heavy rain events, he proactively visited the plant, even on nights and weekends, to check its status.
He says his job’s biggest challenge is maintaining compliance with state regulations, which he says affect every aspect of operating a wastewater treatment plant. His favorite part of the job is his relationships with coworkers. His colleagues feel the same way, as his nomination describes Beach as humble, helpful and “invaluable to the division.” Rather than being in trouble, Beach can be assured that his coworkers think he provides what they call “the gold standard of customer service.”