How can you tell if your life is simply a series of coincidences, or a predetermined path leading to a greater purpose?
It depends on how you look at things.
When Chance Coe, a water quality lead at Denver Water, looks back, what appears to be a series of seemingly unrelated events were actually leading him down a path to a greater calling — providing people with safe, reliable drinking water.
“When I was in fourth grade, I remember I played a doctor in a school play,” Coe said. “My job was to test the water for the city because the water had been contaminated. I remember one of my lines to say was, ‘The water is now safe.’”
“Then as I got older, people would randomly tell me I looked like a guy who should be digging wells in an underdeveloped country to bring water to people. Or that they saw me doing these amazing projects that would help people in need. After a while, you start putting all those things together.”
Fast forward two decades, and Coe has responded to his calling, by helping Denver Water provide 1.5 million people with safe, reliable drinking water.
His job includes collecting water samples from mountain rivers and reservoirs and inspecting new pipes that are being installed in Denver Water’s distribution system. He has steadily progressed in his 3 1/2-year career at Denver Water, and firmly believes he is doing what he’s supposed to be doing with his life.
“I came to Colorado from Texas to attend Red Rocks Community College. They have a unique program in water quality management,” Coe said.
“All the people at Denver Water have been so supportive of me going to school while I’m working. They see that I’m not only improving myself, but I’m getting better at my job. I truly could not have done this all without the support from my work, my trust in God, and the incredible encouragement of my wife.”
Coe also took advantage of Denver Water’s tuition reimbursement program, earning his Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Water Quality Management Technology in May. He believes his degree and his time at Red Rocks will play a big part in continuing to answer his calling.
“The program provides opportunities with countries around the world, bringing water to people in need,” Coe said.
“I’ve learned that around 95% of those kinds of projects fail after one year because the people who maintain the projects don’t have the skills to keep the project sustainable. I want to pass along the things I’ve learned about water quality to these underdeveloped countries so they can sustain those projects for the long term.”
Coe has spent time in the West African country of Cote D’Ivoire and, through school projects, helped organizations in Ghana, working to bring water to people.
He says he’d love to go back there, or any other place in need of a clean, safe water supply, to share the knowledge that he’s gained.
But he’s not planning to leave Denver Water any time soon.
“I see a ton of purpose in being at Denver Water and in how important our work is for the good of our city,” said Coe.
“So many people here rely on us to deliver a safe, reliable water supply. And the fact that we want to be the best water utility in the nation says so much to me. With what I’ve done and where I’m at now, I know I’m on the right path for what I’m supposed to do with my life.”