It all started in the woods.
“Time in the woods or near the water with a clear view of the starry night sky is my ideal way to decompress and regain perspective on who I am and my place in the universe,” said Jordan Basham.
It was childhood camping trips that led him to a passion for the environment, degrees in civil engineering with a focus on water resources, and ultimately to his current position as Louisville Water’s Manager of Infrastructure Planning.
The company’s infrastructure is an intricate system of interconnecting components, and Basham faces tight deadlines in his critical role: ensuring the components are planned and managed in the most efficient ways for the company and customers. Recent passage of the federal bipartisan infrastructure bill, which allocates $55 billion for water infrastructure, will heighten the importance of Louisville Water’s infrastructure planning efforts to ensure our community is able to take full advantage of this new funding.
The stakes are high. Our infrastructure efforts serve the community now and well into the future. Louisville Water is growing rapidly and is working to meet the demand for its product throughout the region. As Basham said, “Well-managed utilities are foundational for economic development, environmental sustainability, and the health and well-being of the people we serve.”
Connecting a passion with a career
At the University of Louisville, Basham earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Engineering with a focus on water resources. He said this career path helped him “connect my passion for the environment and my desire to understand how complex systems function.”
While he was an undergraduate, he took a co-op job at Louisville MSD. This opportunity eventually led to a position as a full-time MSD engineer.
“I helped shape their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program and worked to improve stormwater asset management in the Infrastructure Planning Department,” Basham said. “Additionally, I was fortunate to work closely with MSD and Louisville Water’s communications teams on public outreach activities. This helped me develop my public speaking skills, which I still use regularly in my current role.”
Following this experience, Basham joined Louisville Water as a Project Engineer in 2019 to design distribution extension and transmission main projects. He also designed, bid, and managed the construction of distribution extension projects, master meter replacement projects, and contract operations.
After a few years in this role, he was promoted to Manager of Infrastructure Planning where he now focuses on asset management. According to Basham, this includes developing Louisville Water’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which essentially answers the “Five Ws” for Louisville Water’s infrastructure investment projects: Who manages the project? What is the cost? When will the project occur? Where is the work occurring? and Why is the investment needed?”
His department also manages the company’s system-wide hydraulic model, oversees comprehensive planning initiatives like the 20-Year Facilities Plan, and implements key programs like the Transmission Main Condition Assessment Program and the Enterprise Asset Management Program.
Challenges and rewards
With a plate of responsibilities as full as his, Basham said one of the biggest challenges is managing department priorities during surges in planning needs.
“We often deal with very time-sensitive requests from internal and external customers,” he said, “and this heightens the importance of effective resource management. But the way I see it, tight deadlines and late nights are worth it when I get to be so involved in shaping the future of the company.”
Still, he said the best part of his job is “having the opportunity to work with Louisville Water’s Infrastructure Planning team. My team members — Andy, Chris, Eric, Craig, and Mark — are truly some of the best in their fields.”
When he’s not working, Basham spends most of his free time with his 15-month-old daughter, Harper.
“Watching her grow and develop her big personality has been the highlight of my life so far,” he said. “My wife, Brandi, is a Registered Nurse at Norton Healthcare, and our unbiased opinion is that we have the best little girl in the world!”
Basham explores an extensive list of hobbies in what little free time he has left, including guitar, fantasy football, video games, movies, weight lifting, exploring the world of bourbon, and of course, spending time outdoors.