Pat Fitzgerald started working for Platte Canyon in March 1974. Believe it or not, Pat started out as a maintenance operator cleaning sewers with just one other employee. In just two short years Pat’s hard work in the field payed off and he became the District Manager for Platte Canyon Water and Sanitation District.
Before Pat came to work for Platte Canyon he was a maintenance worker for Lakehurst Water and Sanitation District, just north of Platte Canyon District. His father worked for Lakehurst and Pat needed a job for the time being so he worked there for six months until he was offered a position with Platte Canyon. When asking Pat what he remembers about his first months with Platte Canyon, he said he will never forget learning how to drive the manual work truck. He had no idea how to drive stick shift, but also had no choice but to learn how to drive it, considering it was the only work truck the District had at that time. It was definitely something he won’t forget.
Pat has been with the district longer than anyone so when asked what the biggest change is he has seen through his time here, his answer was no surprise. He said the expansion all around has amazed him. From 300 customers to over 7,000 just in Platte Canyon District alone is astonishing.
Being the district manager Pat certainly has challenging moments, but the good definitely outweighs the bad. Pat is very proud of where the District is and what it represents. He feels very lucky to be a part of Platte Canyon. Some of his favorite things about being the District Manager at Platte Canyon is the freedom he is granted from the Board of Directors to operate without being micromanaged. He feels lucky to have such an honest and trustworthy relationship with the board members. He loves that he is involved with so many other districts and the partnerships and relationships he has made throughout the years is certainly a positive.
Pat did face challenges along the way in his 44 years at the District. Planning for growth was Pat’s biggest challenge he came face to face with. Being responsible in making sure water and wastewater is available was and still is one of Pats challenges. Being a government entity, Pat has to deal with regulations and amendments. Increasing of federal and state regulations undeniably make providing water much more difficult and far more costly. When the TABOR amendment passed almost 20 years ago, Pat struggled with the changes. TABOR was a restriction on taxes and it made it hard to generate revenue, especially for local water and wastewater Districts. Beyond the challenges Pat faced throughout the years he wouldn’t want to have it any other way. The challenges are what have made his career so rewarding.
He encourages anyone looking into water/wastewater careers to go for it! The opportunities are endless in a profession as such. From administrative to management to operations, there are multiple roles in this career choice. Pat says the great thing about water/wastewater is they will always be around. It is a critical public service and although it brings challenges it surely brings twice as many rewards.
While Pat tends to spend his time at work he does have some hobbies. Pat enjoys motorcycles and riding his Harley on his free time. He is an avid reader and enjoys history and non-fiction novels. He also adores spending as much time as he can with his three grandchildren. His daughter who lives in California has two children and his son who lives close by just welcomed a baby boy this January.
Pat has accomplished great things in his 44 years at the District and he will continue to provide public service to the wonderful customers of Platte Canyon. From all of us at Platte Canyon, we want to say Congratulations on your years here at Platte Canyon, Pat!