Award Winner

El Campo’s Bubba Baker holds a plaque recognizing his many years of service to the department of public works. 

 

Most of what they do, you likely never notice, the water just comes on when you turn the tap, the toilets flush, the roads are driveable and, when you call for help, responders’ vehicles are ready to roll.

Making sure all that happens is the job of city Public Works staff.

“Public Works is people powered and purpose driven,” City Public Works Director Kevin Thompson said.

One of those people is Bubba Baker, the vehicle maintenance foreman. “He started out as a patch man, just like everyone that comes on board,” Thompson said.

Also an El Campo volunteer fireman, Baker worked his way through the city ranks making sure the town’s fleet of vehicles, from Public Works pickups to police cars, ran as they were supposed to each day.

Although many El Campo residents may not be aware of it, they owe Baker a bit of thanks for their comfort each summer. “(He) is still considered head mosquito assassin,” Thompson said.

Over the years, Baker moved from operator positions in the street department to vehicle maintenance where he became foreman in 2018.

Baker was one of several  public works crew members recently recognized for their years of service. Others are: 20 years – Pete Gonzales, utilities foreman and 15 years – Edward C. Baumann, equipment operator.

The average Public Works staff in El Campo has 12 years on the job, so Trenton Socha, equipment operator, and Bernardo Granados, fleet mechanic tech, are actually some of the newer ones despite celebrating five years of service.

“Public works is a job of public service and most will stay for that reason alone,” Thompson said, adding, “Knowing they are making a contribution to their community is rewarding ... Those team members are the heart of public works.”

Generally each is assigned to a specific area – streets, waste water, vehicle maintenance or parks, for example – and they stay in those areas until an emergency situation arises. At that point, everyone simply does what’s needed from clearing streets and working through freezing weather last February.

“This team of 40 I would put against any contractor,” Thompson said.

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