Reflection: Local 1683 President Retiring

Adam Carter at union office“That was the goal all along, for me to be here for this long.”

For most of us, it’s hard to imagine retiring at the young age of 44.

Local 1683 President Adam Carter knew early on that he might follow in his dad’s footsteps and make a career at Louisville Water.

“I would sometimes go out and see him on job sites as a kid. See all the big trucks and equipment, and I just thought that was pretty neat and cool,” Carter said.

Carter got his feet wet with Louisville Water’s “Summer Helpers” program which allows employees’ children to explore potential career opportunities.

“My very first day as a summer help employee, I was able to, as an 18-year-old, get down in a hole that was dug out. It was a fire hydrant that was being replaced. I was able to dig around the fire hydrant, cut the fire hydrant out, and they lifted it out with an excavator. Not too many 18-year-olds can say that they took a fire hydrant out and installed a new one.”

The grin on Carter’s face as he remembered that day said it all.

“Once I got that taste of being able to do this type of construction work, I loved it, and knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

Adam Carter with large main pipe

Carter eventually applied for a full-time job. In his 23 years with the company, he’s done a little bit of everything from working in the metering department, installing new services and water mains, and repairing water main leaks and breaks as a plumber leader. His days working in the field are few and far between now as his main job is leading nearly 150 members of Local 1683.

Union president was not a role Carter was sure he wanted to run for, at first.

“I was 33 when I ran for the first time. It was a little scary because it was a little out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it, but then I realized I could play a huge part in my own success and in return, help out everyone else. I felt like I could come in and do a good job and do it right. I thought that if I’m gonna depend on anyone, I’d rather depend on myself to get the job done. That’s why I decided to run.”

And he won. Carter served as president from 2013-2014. He lost the following election but was re-elected in 2017 and has maintained the leadership position ever since. Just like his father who was the union quality coordinator during part of his tenure, being president of Local 1683 is a job Carter is passionate about. He attributes it to helping him grow in many ways.

“I like being able to work with multiple people at the same time. To sit there and analyze and study issues and problems and try to figure out the best answer or solution for both sides (company and union). I also really enjoy being able to strategically plan, and work with the company on progressing the union and progressing the company at the same time.”

At the end of the day, delivering high-quality Louisville Pure Tap® is a shared priority.

Adam Carter with group of co-workers

“We take pride in the work that we do. We take pride in the product we produce. Employees don’t take it for granted. We go out every day trying to ensure that we meet high standards for water quality. We are nationally recognized for it (high-quality water) and we know that as employees, and we want to continue to be recognized that way.”

Louisville Water has given Carter opportunities to give back to the community in other ways, through volunteer work and fundraising. The one closest to his heart? The Jimmy Stone Memorial Golf Scramble.

“The worst day here at Louisville Water Company was the day that Jimmy Stone and Chad Harper had their accident,” Carter said.

A car hit the crew while they were working on a fire hydrant in July 2019. Stone died in the accident and Harper was seriously hurt. Carter quickly started working on a fundraiser to help Harper and teamed up with Metro United Way to find a way to honor Stone. They created the golf scramble to raise money for a locker room bearing Jimmy’s name at The Neighborhood House in Portland. It was a perfect fit because he loved to golf and worked with kids as a volunteer coach while his wife, Carla, was a school counselor.

Adam Carter with Rajon Rondo foundation“The company has given me the ability and the time to help put all this together and supported me 100%. It’s been for a great cause. I know that Carla’s really appreciated it. She’s so involved that she’s now on the board at The Neighborhood House.”

One of Carter’s final achievements that will last beyond his time at Louisville Water is a five-year contract between the union and the company approved in March 2023.

“It came with significant raises. It didn’t have much opposition from the workforce. There were a lot of positive changes that helped with daily assignments and workflow changes as far as who gets moved into what positions as far as seniority.”

Carter shared, “In the first year of our contract, we did not have one grievance over operational issues. I think we fixed a lot of things in the prior contract.”

As he prepares for the future, don’t expect him to stay idle for too long.

“I’ve got some chores to do at the house, so I’ll probably take the first month or two off and work on some projects, and I know my dad will be there right next to me.”

But it won’t be all work and no play.

“I’m headed to Florida for a little vacation, that my dad actually has a timeshare in. He gave me a week for a present and said take a week on him in Florida.” He added, “There will be some golfing. My dad will probably be there next to me golfing.”

Adam Carter with co-workers

While he’ll have to adjust to not driving to Louisville Water every day, the place and his friends won’t be far from his mind.

“Building those relationships and those connections, being able to be a part of people’s lives, and to help people out through their career is what I’ve really enjoyed. I hope that when everyone looks back that people can say that they know I tried my hardest for them. That I stood up for what was right whether people liked it or not. I hope that I leave this place better off than whenever I came in.”