Employee Profile: Carrie Pernini
To be good at Carrie Pernini’s job, you have to be good at two contradictory skills: working quickly and paying careful attention to detail.
Pernini is a planner who helps Louisville Water Company respond to emergencies. She’s part of the Planning Department staff at the company’s Allmond Avenue Distribution Center, and she has a range of responsibilities that focus on coordinating resources in rapid-response repair situations, whether they’re large main breaks or small leaks anywhere in the water system.
A New Albany native, Pernini says she has always worked in fast-paced customer service environments. Her previous employers include Marcus Cable and Key Communication Services. At New Albany Heating and Air Conditioning, she was responsible both for dispatching technicians and helping with accounting.
She joined Louisville Water in 2010 as a temporary employee and then was hired for a permanent position the next year. She says she was drawn to the company because she had heard it was a great place to work and because of its “amazing history, which I love to share with my friends and family.”
Pernini started in the Collections Department at the Third Street office and stayed in that job until 2014. She became interested in applying for her current position after a visit to the Distribution Center.
“I was excited to see the hands-on side of Louisville Water,” she says. “When a job opened in this work area, I jumped at the chance.”
So she now jumps into action as soon as the Radio Room reports an emergency. If it’s a main break, it’s “critical that we repair it as soon as possible in order to avoid any disruption to our customers,” she says. “It is also very important that the flow of traffic is controlled at the same time to keep our crews safe while making repairs.”
Pernini also places a call to 811, the “call-before-you-dig” number run by a non-profit corporation made up of Kentucky operators of underground facilities. Calling the number dispatches a line locator to a site to mark underground utility lines. Of course, a Louisville Water employee can mark the company’s own lines, but the repair crew will need to know if there are any gas, phone, electric or other utility lines in the area. When Pernini calls 811 and designates the situation an emergency, a locator responds to the scene within two hours.
Yet another task she has to complete is contacting Louisville Metro Government for the permit that Louisville Water will need to cut into the pavement or dig a large hole. Then she double checks to make sure a repair crew has been contacted and is heading to the scene.
Besides being energized by the fast-paced environment, Pernini says she likes working in the Planning Department because there’s “something new to learn every day. I work with an amazing group a people who have a large knowledge of our infrastructure, [and] I love learning all there is to know.”
She’s learned a lot about Louisville Water’s role in providing a critical public service while keeping the public safe. For example, she mentions the day a 48-inch water main broke on Grinstead Drive. “Supervisors who went on-site shared pictures of the road, which had buckled for blocks,” she says. “It truly makes you respect the power of water.”
Louisville Water Company has a “very strong presence in the community,” Pernini adds. “Our product is a part of everyone’s life on a daily basis. We are the only ingestible utility, which means we have a lot on our shoulders, and I don’t take that for granted.”