Employee profile: Five questions for Keith Barnett, Lead Warehouser

image of Keith BarnettWorked at Louisville Water since 1998

Tracking and distributing thousands of parts for new construction and repairs that keep our water flowing, Louisville Water’s warehouse is a critical hub for our company.

Keith Barnett keeps warehouse operations flowing.

Before joining Louisville Water in January 1998, he worked as a self-employed stonemason and as a customer service representative supervisor at another company. He then worked in various temp jobs at Louisville Water, including plumber leader assistant, repair leader, meter exchanger, and heavy equipment operator. His first permanent position was as a capital infrastructure utility worker.

Barnett is committed to not only the company but also the community. Before the pandemic, he joined a few other Louisville Water employees who served as mentors under a nationwide program called the A-TEAAM, a leadership development program for young males of color to honor the life of noted civil rights leader Medgar Evers and live out his legacy.

NewsLeaks recently asked Barnett about his work as a lead warehouser, a position he has held since June 2002.

What do you do as a lead warehouser?

I have the unique opportunity to work with internal and external customers and help meet their material needs. I also maintain Louisville Water’s inventory, which is very extensive. It includes everything from parts to pipes to fire hydrants. For warehouse deliveries, I make sure the material is correct and the count is correct.

What do you like best about the job?

“I take ownership of my work and get satisfaction from solving problems in a challenging situation.”

What’s the biggest challenge you face?

The industry fluctuates with material availability. Sometimes manufacturers can’t keep up with demand, and this got worse during the pandemic, so having all the parts available to make needed repairs can be a challenge at times. If someone needs material that isn’t available, I may be able to suggest other material they could use instead.

Have you had a most memorable day?

Early in my career as a plumber leader assistant on second shift, I was able to make a repair on Zorn Avenue after a major main break flooded River Road. I had to remove a gear with teeth missing and replace it to allow the water to shut off. Wow, that was a scary experience in a deep vault!

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I cherish my family and love spending time with them. Traveling is high on my list, too – such as traveling to the Caribbean. I also enjoy jazz concerts and chess.