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29 May 2020

One of Coliban Water’s most knowledgeable and respected employees celebrated 40 years’ of service this month. 

John Wright started at the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission in 1980 and is currently Networks Manager for Lendlease Services, Coliban Water’s business partner for its networks and plant operations. 

Coliban Water Manager Customer Operations Steve Dunlop said our staff have been fortunate to be able to ‘call Wrighty’ when an incident or network issue arises or we need help with a project.

“John is the go-to person for issues on our network and has a vast knowledge of the 2,360 kilometres of water mains and 1,986 kilometres of sewer mains across our region. He is happy to share that knowledge and is a truly genuine person who puts relationships ahead of any situation. He brings a positive attitude to his work and a passion for what he does.

“Over the last 40 years, John has been a mentor and friend to numerous aspiring engineers and it’s been great to be able to acknowledge this and to show our appreciation.

“With the majority of our staff working from home due to current restrictions John’s celebration was held online with staff sharing stories,” said Mr Dunlop. 

When John Wright started at the State Rivers as a Water Networks Operator things were done a lot differently from how they are now.

“Changes in technology, especially communications and GIS mapping, have made a difference to how network teams operate and respond to issues, like burst water mains”, said Mr Wright. 

“When you were on-call after hours, customer calls to report issues would be diverted to your home phone. If I was out on a job my wife would answer and take down the details for the next job. There was no GIS mapping at that time so we would work from a large book of network plans. 

“We are more customer focussed now and have response times so customers aren’t without water for long periods of time,” said Mr Wright. 

“There have been many major incidents we’ve had to deal with from burst water mains closing the Calder Highway in Kangaroo Flat to the January 2011 floods wiping out large parts of the network. 

“We’re a lot more prepared to respond to incidents. It’s good to know you’re part of a team and have the back up support which takes the pressure off. 

“I have always enjoyed troubleshooting and working out better ways of doing things. I have history on my side and I enjoy sharing what I know with younger staff and giving them the feathers to fly. 

“I am very humbled and grateful to all my colleagues who have sent messages. It's a team effort at the end of the day and we're all only as good as the people around us,” said Mr Wright.

Lendlease Operations & Maintenance Service Delivery Manager Malcolm Anderson said: “John is a highly valued member of the Lendlease management team. His depth of knowledge gained over 40 years is unique and unlikely to be matched.”

Coliban Water Managing Director Damian Wells said: “John has a genuine desire to always strive for the best outcome no matter the circumstances. His contribution to service delivery excellence and our communities is highlighted by how highly he is respected and appreciated.”

Congratulations John, on achieving an incredible milestone!

Last updated on 29 May 2020
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