As part of CAP’s Know Your Water series, you will be meeting some of the employees who work each day to ensure Colorado River water flows through our 336-mile aqueduct to reach our municipal, agricultural, industrial and tribal customers.
Learn more about Alan Albrecht from our Purchasing Department via his words below and by watching this video.
Q: In a nutshell, what do you do for CAP?
A: I purchase goods and services for CAP. As a utility stretching 336 miles across the state, we have a large fleet of vehicles and equipment to operate and maintain the system, and I purchase all of the vehicles and most of the heavy equipment, including motor graders, dozers, and dump trucks, etc. I am also responsible for disposal some of CAP’s surplus property. Surplus property is property that has come to its end of use at CAP, pretty much anything that CAP owns but no longer needs. Like vehicles, tools, equipment, electronics, etc. It is sold, traded in toward another purchase, donated, recycled or cannibalized. I also purchase very unique services people may not associate with CAP such as diving services that are used for underwater inspections and repairs, maintenance agreements that are used for auto glass replacement, towing and inspections, and engineering services that are used for professional services such as water recovery site studies and preventive maintenance optimization.
Q: How did you get into this line of work?
A: I’ve been in materials management pretty much my whole career, and when I started at CAP I was able to transition my experience into the contracts and procurement department. My experience in material management started in warehousing, transportation, and inventory control where I was a supervisor of the materials team at Motorola Computer Group. I came to work at CAP in the warehouse as a warehouse worker, then moved quickly into inventory control. My previous experience enabled me to move into the Contracts and Procurement department, also known as Purchasing.
Q: How does the work you do on a daily basis affect our water supply?
A: I work with our suppliers to purchase goods and services to assist the operation and maintenance of CAP’s infrastructure. Some services supplement our maintenance crews’ work, like diving services where divers do underwater inspections and repairs to our system. I also purchase the vehicles and equipment the maintenance crews use to get to and complete their work. When our craftsmen do not have some of the specialty tools or equipment needed to complete the job, I will sometimes rent or purchase this equipment for them to complete the job. For example, once I purchased a weed harvester boat and shore conveyor for weed removal at Mark Wilmer Pumping Plant.
Q: What are some of the technical advances that allow you to do your job more effectively and efficiently?
A: Our IT department developed the current eBids system we use to post our solicitations to the CAP website. This system handles what used to be a very manual system and has automated a lot of it, which is a huge timesaver. We are now about to typically handle 15 to 20 formal solicitations a year, these solicitations take about three months from receipt of a requisition to the issue of a contract.
Q: What's the most challenging part of your work?
A: Our aqueduct and infrastructure is incredibly unique, but it is aging, which means replacement parts are not as readily available as they were when the equipment was originally installed. Finding replacement parts today is challenging because often, the manufacturers who built the equipment are out of business, or have been acquired by other companies, sometimes several times, and changed names. So finding those replacement parts can mean doing some creative shopping, often finding these parts in non-traditional places, like Amazon and EBay.
Q: What's the most gratifying part of your job?
A: The most gratifying part of my job is working with my internal customers and understanding their needs for goods or services, and putting together the contract for those purchases. Seeing it all come together and meeting their needs is a good feeling.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at CAP?
A: My favorite part about working at CAP is the people I work with. My coworkers at CAP definitely make coming to work enjoyable. It is nice working with truly talented individuals who take pride in their work, and work together to reach a common goal. In my department we help each other when someone is out of the office so they don’t come back to an overwhelming amount of work.