It takes a lot of people doing a multitude of jobs to keep the water flowing in Denver. Some of those jobs are familiar to many of us: water treatment plant operators, reservoir caretakers, pipe replacement crews.
But welders? What does welding have to do with water?
As it turns out, quite a bit. Denver Water employs 10 welding professionals who support our field crews. When equipment breaks, they fix it. When someone doesn’t have the right tool for a complicated job, they create it.
And since April is National Welding Month, we thought we’d tip our hats to the torch-bearing metal-masters fabricating and fixing things at Denver Water.
Here’s a look at the men and women who make sparks fly:
Sean Gandolfo welds the bucket of a backhoe, which Denver Water crews use to access a network of buried pipe for maintenance and repair. Denver Water’s welding team makes weekly repairs to keep our fleet of more than 200 heavy equipment vehicles in service.
According to the United States Department of Labor, only 5.4 percent of welding, soldering and brazing workers are women. KC Strickland just celebrated 20 years as a welder at Denver Water. She is standing in front of a punch press, used for puncturing holes in metal and cutting steel and iron.
Joe Klene stands in front an operational forge located in the metal shop. “The machine is fantastic — we use it to heat steel to cherry red, so our blacksmith can hammer out tools for many of the different departments at Denver Water,” he said.
Buck Young has been a welder at Denver Water for 43 years. He stands with an angle grinder, a versatile tool used for cutting and polishing metal. In addition to welding, the Denver Water metal shop also fabricates custom tools, signs and gates used across the water system.
From fixing equipment to fabricating custom tools the skilled men and women in Denver Water’s metal shop completed more than 709 projects in 2016 — helping to ensure the water keeps flowing.