Jeff Guy: From start to finish, a career devoted to the Central Arizona Project system

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Jeff Guy

The story below is built around a recorded interview. The full oral history may be viewed here.

It is a rare man who can devote his entire career to the success of one thing – and Jeff Guy is a rare man.

Was it in his blood? Or did he follow by example? Guy is an only child whose parents had long careers. His father spent 37 years working for Salt River Project and his mother spent 27 years with now-defunct Goldwater Department Store.

Whether it was nature or nurture, Guy spent his entire career – nearly 42 years – working on the Central Arizona Project system.

When the Arizona native graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in electrical engineering, the Bureau of Reclamation had started construction of the system. 

“I knew this project was a really important thing for the state of Arizona and it was really interesting to me from an engineering perspective,” said Guy. “I was glad to get a job offer from the Bureau of Reclamation and accepted it.”

He completed assignments in operations, construction, power and contract administration, traveling across the state as construction continued. He inspected the construction of plants, commissioned overhead cranes and worked on the communications systems. Not all of his assignments were exciting.

“One of the worst assignments was to calculate the concrete volume surrounding the discharge manifolds at Bouse and Little Harquahala Pumping Plants,” said Guy.

He knows first-hand – because he was there – that a pump at Hassayampa Pumping Plant was the first pump started, which happened in 1984. They pumped water out of a well and filled the siphon and forebay of the plant and then ran the pump as a test for about 15 minutes. They were exciting times.

As construction neared completion, Guy had choices. Stay with Reclamation and move onto another project or join CAP and continue working on the system. There were no guarantees – what does an engineer do after construction is complete. But any concerns he had evaporated nearly immediately. 

“Things don’t always work, and you run into issues that you can’t maintain your way out of, so they need to be re-engineered,” said Guy.

Consequently, he said there was never a dull moment. And for the next 28 years, Guy devoted his career to the CAP system. Racking up knowledge about the system that few could rival.

“I feel like I’m very lucky to have had the career I’ve had,” said Guy. “It was never boring, challenging me up until my last day when I call it a career.”

Guy retired September 1, 2022, after more than 28 years of dedicated service at CAP.