Water bonds new, old plant operators
Updated: February 5, 2013 12:52PM
The theme “out with the old, in with the new” doesn’t apply at the Glencoe Water Treatment Plant, where water and life are forever flowing.
Add to this mix the Lake Michigan shoreline, held dear by Alex Urbanczyk, newer plant operator. We caught up with Urbanczyk and Jesse L. Davis Jr., who recently retired. Davis lives in north suburban Cary with his wife Linda. They have three children, Jesse III, 27, Colin Wayne, 26, and Rachel Lee, 18. Urbanczyk lives in Des Plaines with his wife Joelle.
Q. So Jesse, you spent 33 years, six months and 13 days as treatment plant operator.
A. The water source, Lake Michigan is a treasure. The village (of Glencoe) gave me a chance to live the American Dream, to raise a family, three gorgeous children, to buy a home, to travel. And to be on this lake, this beautiful, fresh water lake, it’s just, it’s easy to treat. You have to watch it carefully because it can change on you, and you want to preempt changes in the lake conditions, such as wavy, rough turbid (water). But for the most part, the plant pretty much runs itself. You have got to keep track of stuff and not ever, ever daydream. I mean, you just can’t daydream. It’s a job that’s unforgiving. You cannot mess up.
Q. Alex, daydreaming is never allowed despite amazing sunrises, right?
A. Being proactive, instead of reactive is key here.
Q. Jesse, what has been memorable about the job?
A. Oh, I’ve seen double, triple rainbows, waterspouts, which is weird. Ice flows where people have walked out as far as they can, just little specks in the horizon. Just the purple martins (birds) coming back in the spring, leaving in the autumn. The kids running on the beach. It’s been a dream job. I’ve been blessed.
Q. Alex, you’re several months new here. Thoughts?
A. I’m excited. I look forward to hopefully having as successful of a career as Jesse has. I’ve gotta say (looking over his shoulder through south window to shoreline) it’s the first time I’ve ever seen snow on a beach which I think is just awesome.
Q. Jesse, your closing thoughts?
A. I’m just glad we were able to get (Alex) down here. I love this place. This is my life. I’ve been here since 1979. It was a different time. It was a completely different time. I had a giant Afro. There was no gray or white anywhere to be seen. And … I just … I’ve been blessed. The American Dream, I got to live it, thanks to the village.