There have been signs throughout Carl Blanton’s life showing him exactly what he should be doing and there were also divine moments that lead him to the right places at the right time.
After 18 years with Louisville Water, the Manager of Learning & Development says it’s time to retire.
He wasn’t really looking for a new job in 2004. He was in his 29th year at American Commercial Barge Line in Jeffersonville when a friend told him about an opportunity at Louisville Water.
The job: Director of Labor Relations. At the time, Blanton didn’t have much experience with labor relations and union contracts. While he didn’t get the job, he was approached about a different role, geared more towards his expertise of employee relations.
“I remember when I got the phone call, (and was) offered the position. I was stuck in a traffic jam, here at 2nd Street and Chestnut, looking at the Water Company,” Blanton recalled.
Water turned out to be a theme in Blanton’s life.
“At American Commercial Barge Line, I made my living off the water. We transported cargo on the waterways. Well here, I make a living from the water, the Ohio River. We just provide water to our customers.”
During his time here, Blanton was integral in developing programs to help employees grow. He created the company’s first formal succession plan, to properly train employees to ensure Louisville Water remains successful after employees retire or leave the company. He also took former company president Greg Heitzman’s vision for a stewardship program and ran with it to forge community partnerships and encourage employees to give back.
Blanton said, “We’ve always wanted to have our employees be actively involved in the community. We don’t want to just be seen as the water company that provides water, (we hope) that our employees are actually out there in the community.”
As Blanton’s job evolved, he ventured into the labor relations side of things and cherishes the relationships he’s built with Local 1683. He says he’ll miss working with the union, his HR team, and the employees.
Just as water has been a theme in Blanton’s life, broadcasting has been in his blood since he was a baby. His birth announcement might’ve determined his destiny- it shows a baby holding a microphone.
Blanton started working in radio at 18 years old. He even broadcast for the U.S. Army at Ft. Bragg in the 1970s. He now works at 840WHAS Radio, producing shows for UK Sports.
“That’s where my passion, broadcasting, has been all these years,” Blanton said.
Upon retiring, he plans to spend more time at iHeart studios on Fourth Street Live!
Blanton also hopes to travel more, spend time with his four grandchildren, and enjoy life with his new bride. He married his high school sweetheart over the summer, two days before his 70th birthday.
Blanton’s last day at Louisville Water is Halloween. His treat to himself for his first full day of retirement takes him to the water.
“I’m getting up early in the morning. I’m going to my favorite park bench by the river. I’m going to watch the sun come up. I’m gonna thank the Lord for a 40-year human resources career and all the friendships that I’ve made. But then I’m going to Hardee’s restaurant to get a steak biscuit and tater tots.”