I’m Kurt Elvert, the Manager of Field Service and Conservation at San Jose Water. In my position, I oversee the field service department, which serves as our first responders when identifying water main breaks. I also oversee the conservation department, the meter shop department, the meter reading department, and our recycled water program.
My favorite part of my job is working with and training our field staff. Our field staff directly interacts with our customers, and we train them to be trusted advisors when answering questions about inspections or investigations. We cross train our staff so that all employees are knowledgeable about other areas of the company, such as conservation. I enjoy my one-on-one customer interactions when I’m in the field and providing tips to customers on how to conserve water.
My career started in the water resources industry in 2001. Previously, I worked in conservation and water management at Valley Water, ran Northern California operations for a water conservation consulting firm, and did outside sales for a landscape irrigation distributor. In 2014, I started at San Jose Water as a conservation supervisor and have since moved into my current position.
For young professionals looking to get into the water industry, there are many opportunities both with and without college degrees. I do guest talks in the Environment Studies Department where I advise college students to identify what aspect of water resources they’re most interested in and try to guide them towards internships in those focus areas.
I’m a San Jose native. I grew up here, attended a local high school, and went to San Jose State University. Water conservation is a way of life here in San Jose. I do my part by limiting my outdoor irrigation to only vegetation that survives without water, but for the few fern plants that do require water I reuse laundry water. I’ve also installed low flow aerators and showerheads in my home.
When I’m not working, you can find me hiking and backpacking. I am an avid outdoorsman and often go waterfowl hunting in the winter and fishing in the summer.