Worked at Louisville Water since 2014
Sometimes life takes us in directions we didn’t necessarily plan on, but they lead us to exactly where we’re supposed to be.
“I always loved math and science, and always wanted to go into a career that helped people,” remembers Autumn Gibson, Louisville Water’s Supervisor of Water Quality & Compliance.
Gibson wasn’t exactly sure what that looked like in her future. As she pursued a degree in chemical engineering at the University of Louisville, Gibson landed a co-op position at Louisville Water in 2014.
“When I was a kid, I thought that meant being a doctor or someone in the medical field. This (Louisville Water) really gave me a pathway to see how I could help people in a different way and still get the science aspect as well,” she said.
You could say Gibson drank the water and never looked back. Months after her co-op, she started part-time at Louisville Water. She worked her way up to a full-time position, eventually becoming a scientist, and then to her current role as a supervisor.
“My favorite thing about working in the water industry is that no two days are ever the same. All of the things I do day to day change, so that keeps it exciting,” Gibson said.
Her responsibilities include overseeing daily lab operations and staff, collecting compliance samples, and managing compliance reporting to make sure Louisville Water is meeting all EPA regulations. She also runs weekly ion chromatography analysis to track any seasonal changes that could require modification to the treatment process.
Gibson stays busy in the spring and fall.
“The chromatography analysis ramps up from April to November during nitrification season. That’s when we feed chlorite in those areas that have a higher water age (length of time in the storage tank) to make sure that the water quality in the distribution system remains as good as it did leaving the plant.”
Gibson said it was refreshing to see it wasn’t only men in the lab department when she joined Louisville Water.
“Whenever I got hired, I think there were more female scientists than male. There are a lot of women in this field. A lot of high school students come to shadow here, so it’s kind of nice to be that example to them that women can succeed in this field.”
One of her proudest accomplishments is adding more scientists to the team.
“I’ve hired four people since I started. Getting to see them come in and be just as excited about it as we are, has been really rewarding. It sounds a little cheesy, but we do refer to ourselves as a family and I love the group of people that I work with.”
She also enjoys her opportunities to work outside the lab and meet people in the community.
Gibson said, “It’s always nice to be able to be a voice for what we do and know that you have an impact on the community every day.”
When she’s not working, you’ll likely find her on the volleyball court or relaxing with nature in a kayak or on a trail.