If you walk into Padre Dam’s office on any given day, you might see a customer service representative talking to a customer on the phone or an engineer building plans on their computer. Outside it’s likely that a meter technician is tracking their work on a smartphone or a systems operator is communicating from the field via their laptop. No matter what the work is, almost all of it either takes place or is tracked on an electronic device.
Diane Johnson is one of Padre Dam’s Information Systems Technical Specialists and is responsible for the purchasing and setup of the District’s computers, phones and other tech hardware. She also manages the software used by Padre Dam staff. Not a single Padre Dam employee could complete their job without the technical support that she provides.
A year ago last March, when COVID-19 forced a portion of Padre Dam staff to begin temporarily working from home, Diane had to act fast. Almost overnight, many District employees began turning to her for technical assistance so that they could transition to a remote working setup.
Diane found herself working overtime to update old training laptops, allowing staff to seamlessly transition to working from home. Her hard work and creativity not only helped to keep Padre Dam staff safe, but also helped the District avoid a potential loss of productivity.
Diane is known for thinking of solutions that make people’s day-to-day jobs more efficient and for being frugal. She is always looking out for alternative software or systems that can improve on the way things are and add efficiencies.
“One of the best parts of my job is the opportunity to find creative solutions.” Diane said. “I spend a lot of my day solving problems, I love a challenge.”
Diane’s favorite part of her job is the people she works with. Because of her staff support role, she gets to work with nearly every person in the District. Through her work she has learned a lot about the variety of roles that are necessary to provide services. Before working at Padre Dam, she wasn't aware of how complex water systems are.
“Providing clean, safe drinking water is a lot like providing IT services.” Diane said. “In both cases, most people don’t even notice we’re doing it, because if we’re doing a good job people shouldn’t have to think about it.”