Trejo shares strategic goals as new VP

Trejo shares strategic goals as new VP
Posted on 01/20/2023
Gilbert Trejo, (left) Vice President of Operations and Technical Services, frequently serves as a media spokesperson for El Paso Water.

Gilbert Trejo has created a list of ambitious goals as El Paso Water’s newly named Vice President of Operations and Technical Services and intends to deliver on each one.

Throughout his nine years in service at the utility, Trejo has held two key leadership positions: Chief Technical Officer and Interim Chief Operations Officer for Production and Treatment. Over the years, Trejo has also emerged as one of the nation’s renowned water reuse experts, serving as president and remains as a current board member for the WateReuse Association since 2015.  

On his list

Chief among his objectives is one he believes EPWater can take from Amazon’s blockbuster playbook – an obsession with customer service.

“Our culture should be to be obsessed with customer service,” said Trejo, adding increasing customer satisfaction and confidence is integral to the utility’s strategic plan. “We are public servants, with a Public Service Board, and we provide the most essential service in the city. Because of that, we should be obsessed with customer service. Our customers deserve it.”

Trejo said he recently discussed with President and CEO John Balliew the need for the utility to change its approach to customer service.

“It’s everybody’s business and not just a department,” Trejo said. “Customer service should be a way of life around here.”

Aside from workplace culture, Trejo also wants to ensure the security of EPWater’s Capital Improvements Program, calling it the utility’s lifeblood. The Public Service Board recently approved the utility’s record water and wastewater capital improvement budget to boost reliability and water supply.

Trejo (fourth from left) is shown with his parents, President/CEO John Balliew and members of City Council after Mayor Oscar Leeser (far right) proclaimed Feb. 15, 2022, as Gilbert Trejo Day. “That means making sure that our system is growing, fixing what needs to be fixed, the old infrastructure – replacing it, rehabbing it,” said Trejo of capital improvement. “It’s critical because it’s one of the biggest impacts on what sets the rates for our ratepayers. We have got to make sure we get projects done on time.”

By the same token, water supply projects also need shepherding because they tend to take a long time and can be complex, he said.

Trejo’s goal list also includes:

  • Taking a more active role in the utility’s strategic plan: “Specific to this is building internal capacities and building more staff,” said Trejo, who proactively recruits for the utility. “Building internal capacity also means our own capabilities, getting folks trained, experienced, promoted, cross-training and giving them the full utility experience.”
  • Asset management implementation: “This process change is going to revolutionize this utility and maximize our operations and maintenance workflows. Asset management is the way we track all our assets: our equipment, machinery, trucks, buildings – everything that is of value to us. Working together in unison with all departments to modify and optimize our workflows to best manage our assets is highest on my priority list.”

Connecting with employees

As he oversees multiple departments and hundreds of employees, Trejo looks forward to establishing future connections.

“I want employees to know that I care about them and that their voice matters,” he said.

Trejo said he and Marcela Navarrete, Vice President of Strategic, Financial and Management Services, are working closely with Balliew to better align communication across the utility. The hope is that management will carry forth the same strategic messaging to their employees.

“Everyone is important at El Paso Water,” Trejo said. “I think the only way we are going to satisfy our customers with our services is if employees are satisfied with what we are doing at the utility and how we treat them.”

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