‘Don’t be afraid to get dirty,’ retiree advises

George Somma retires after 43 years, ending a 113-year work history that began with his grandfather and father.

August 4, 2017 | By: Jessica Kirk
Michael Somma’s retirement notice
Michael Somma, George Somma’s grandfather, started with the Denver Union Water Company in 1904, and retired from Denver Water in 1954.

For George Michael Somma, Denver Water has been a family business for three generations.

He is the namesake of his dad, George Somma, and his grandfather, Michael Somma, both of whom had long and respected careers at Denver Water. His sister Roseann and brother Joe also worked at Denver Water as temporary employees throughout the years.

In July, the fleet senior mechanic retired after 43 years on the job.

“When I started working at Denver Water my dad told me to keep my eyes open, my mouth shut, my head down and to do my work,” Somma said. “I’ve mostly followed his advice and it’s the reason I’ve had such a long career.”

Michael Somma joined what was then the Denver Union Water Company in 1904. He retired from Denver Water in 1949. George Somma Sr. worked at Denver Water from 1954 to 1985 as a hydrant mechanic and then a hydrant foreman in Transmission & Distribution (T&D).

George Somma Sr.
George Somma Sr. worked at Denver Water from 1954 to 1985 as a hydrant mechanic and foreman in Transmission and Distribution.

Somma Jr. came on board in July 1974, working as a temporary employee on a grounds crew, then in T&D before becoming a mechanic in the auto shop. He spent the last two-and-a-half years in the heavy equipment shop.

“I think I’m most proud of the fact that I made it this long,” Somma said. “It was definitely worth it. I worked with a lot of good people. I don’t need to name them — they know who they are.”

His advice for new employees? “Don’t be afraid to get dirty. We deal in water and dirt and that makes mud,” he laughed.


George Somma, retired fleet senior mechanic
George Somma, fleet senior mechanic, retired in July. He was a third-generation employee; the Somma family worked at Denver Water for a total of 113 years.

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