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.
Today, learn more about Sara Ainsworth from Information Technology via her words and by watching her video .
Q: In a nutshell, what do you do for CAP?
A: I’m a Project Manager in the Information Technology Department which basically means I wear a lot of hats to make “dreams come true.” I help others develop that big idea for a project, organize project activities, lead diverse teams, communicate with colleagues and vendors and manage project budgets and contracts.
Q: How did you get into this line of work?
A: I worked at a local sign company and was always fascinated with computers. So I decided to reboot my career and earned a Bachelors in Information Technology at DeVry University. Then my IT career started with humble beginnings as a Support Technician at Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and at CAP. I enjoy working with people and have a natural knack for organizing, so I found myself earning a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certificate six years ago and haven’t looked back.
Q: How does the work you do on a daily basis affect our water supply?
A: Wow, where do I start? I’ve led many project teams that have changed how we do business today with technology. The latest ones that come to my mind include the Water Management System (WMS) where we track water schedules and deliveries in a central database and Mobile Inspections where employees are using mobile devices to collect information for many different inspections across our canal system. Lately, we’re exploring business efficiencies with technology by advancing our current data analytics and system integrations. Overall, these improvements help keep water rates stable, improve our award-winning Asset Management Program and assess water issues quickly.
Q: What are some of the technical advances that allow you to do your job more effectively and efficiently?
A: For my job specifically, conferencing applications, such as WebEx, have been instrumental. We work with vendors across the country and communication is much easier by sharing computer screens. As a company, mobile devices, video conferencing and data are reshaping how we do business, like everyone else. Video conferencing is a common place for our geologically dispersed teams to communicate. We’ve now able to collect more data in the field with mobile devices. This means that we’re collecting more data. In turn, we are continuing to optimize our performance with new and different insights we may not have thought about before.
Q: What's the most challenging part of your work?
A: Rapidly changing technology and communication. Technology is changing faster than ever before. Major upgrades used to occur every two years; now patches and updates happen monthly. On top of it, technology that’s easy to use is actually a lot more complicated to manage and maintain behind the scenes. Now, take these complex technical ideas and explain it to someone else who isn’t as familiar with technology. Communication must go two ways, so I help ensure that both my technical and non-technical colleagues listen and understand each other so that their decisions are the right fit for everyone.
Q: What's the most gratifying part of your job?
A: I love learning and helping others figure out how to do things better with technology. There’s many different key areas to our business so I try to give others ideas they haven’t thought about before. I’ve even facilitated small group discussions to get past any stalemate to come up with that brand new idea.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at CAP?
A: CAP’s dedication to its employees. This company provides many in-house training opportunities that have helped me personally grow and become more self-confident. I’m also proud of our VPP status in Safety that have produced very creative, in-house videos like Safety Rocks. And lately I’ve enjoyed it when our Board sings “CAP-modified” Christmas Carols at our Christmas Steak Fry to all employees.