Employee profile: Emergency Turner Joe Lueke

“I love my job.”

Joe Lueke isn’t shy when it comes to sharing a story about a job site or a customer interaction. He will retire on April 28 after a 25-year career at Louisville Water, and 21 of those years include perfect attendance!

A Louisville native, Lueke spent time in the military before joining Louisville Water. He started as a general laborer and truck driver, and he’s wrapping up his career as an emergency turner, a job that can be stressful and tough.

Manager Greg Armenta said Lueke’s experience in listening to an upset customer or quickly responding to a giant water main break has served the company well.

“Even in a challenging situation, it was good to know that Joe was on site,” Armenta said. “Joe’s experience at Louisville Water prepared him well for the challenges of being an emergency turner. He understands [everything from] the intricacies of operating a stubborn gate valve without breaking it to correctly profiling a traffic control package in a busy intersection to help keep a crew safe. Not everyone will miss his UK hat, but we’ll all miss his expertise operating the distribution system.”

A member of Local 1683, Lueke said he’s done every job in the union except work at the filter plant. He recognizes several successes with the union’s Louisville Water partnership but said there is still work that needs to be done.

“We must continue to work together with each other, “ Lueke said, “and it takes hard work from both sides.”

After years of long hours in sometimes extreme conditions, Lueke is ready for a calmer pace. But he’s sentimental when he thinks about not coming to the Allmond Avenue Distribution Center and jumping into truck 284. He said he will miss many friends — “from the crew guys to working with the inspectors and engineers on the large gate projects.”

“Our customers already know we’ve got the best water around,” he added with a smile. “But I want them to know even though times have changed, there are lots of good people here who take pride in their work, making sure the best water gets to their faucet.”