Senior Plant Operator Michael Buhl and Senior Accountant Matthew Perea are South Coast Water District’s Top Performers of the Year. The distinction honors two employees that demonstrate above-and-beyond performance during the fiscal year.
"Michael’s integrity and positive attitude are infectious,” says his manager, Water Production Manager Steve Dishon. “He embodies the essence of the District’s Core Values every day."
Michael began his career in 2010 in the District’s Water Operations Department and now works in the Water Production Division. Michael says that his favorite part about his job is the variety of his responsibilities. He is involved with the operation of the Groundwater Recovery Facility, Aliso Creek Water Reclamation Facility, Poche Clean Beach Project, Salt Creek Ozone Treatment Facility, 10-Reservoir Management Systems for both South Coast Water District and the Joint Regional Water Supply System (JRWSS), and the groundwater-monitoring program. He is also the product champion for both the Computerized Maintenance Management System and the Water Information Management Systems.
This year, Michael earned an Electrical Instrumentation Technician certification from the California Water Environment Association, which enabled him to troubleshoot better and repair electrical instrumentation. "Michael never backs away from a challenge and has an unending quest for knowledge and new responsibilities," says Dishon.
The opportunity to apply his skills in service of a greater good is what inspired Matthew to pursue a career in the public sector. “Plus, there’s nothing like the satisfaction of when accounts reconcile! What can I say? It’s the accountant in me.”
Matthew has seized every opportunity to learn and grow since he joined the District in 2014, especially this year, says his manager, Controller Amy Doucet. “Matthew’s hard work and dedication helped the finance department move forward during a time of being short staffed,” Doucet says. “He stepped up and went beyond what was expected of his role, all while keeping a smile on his face. His positive attitude radiates across departments."
In addition to performing his senior accountant duties, Matthew’s accomplishments this year include assisting the District’s Chief Financial Officer with the development of a new format for budget preparation, performing payroll duties while the payroll position was vacant for six months, and assisting with accounts payable for both South Coast Water District and JRWSS. Matthew also trained new employees and consultants, reviewed invoices and reconciliations, and prepared month-end schedules, including the District’s Key Success Factors.
Previous Top Performer of the Year (formerly known as Star Performer of the Year) honorees include Jody Brennan, Kyle Gough, Eric Lenz, and Robin Rockey.