Transferring knowledge to help ensure a reliable and cost-effective system

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Engineering at the CAP Canal

Whether you’re talking about siphons or check structurespumping plants or recharge sites, the CAP system is an engineering marvel. The infrastructure – much of it in use since the mid-1980s — is extremely unique. For CAP engineers, especially those who are relatively new, that can create a challenge that a quick Google search cannot address.

Ryan Johnson, CAP engineering manager, said ensuring his 65-person department is efficient and highly functioning is critical to the reliability of the system and controlling costs. One way to make those things happen is to focus on getting new staff up to speed quickly and having an effective way to capture and transfer knowledge of the system. The solution? Engineering University.

Engineering University taps subject matter experts (SMEs) who flesh out critical information and share that during a one-hour presentation. Those SMEs come from the six distinct divisions within Engineering Services – Project Management, Drawing Services, Civil & Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Control Systems Engineering, Construction Inspection, and Land and Survey. They share specific details about asset modifications, lands issues, CADD drawings and more.

Johnson said Engineering University was the result of his team’s desire to ensure knowledge isn’t lost when a long-term employee retires, that new team members are able to learn the ins and outs of the system quickly and efficiently, and that the same information is reaching everyone. Engineering University kicked off in 2022 with monthly presentations that were attended – virtually or in person – by the majority of his team. Each presentation was recorded so the information is captured so future employees can get up to speed on any of the topics covered.

“Engineering University is one of the ways we provide an environment where our engineers and engineering professionals can do their best work,” said Johnson.

For Engineering Services’ employees, the experience has been extremely impactful. Telma Bearden, senior engineering contract administrator, joined the CAP team more than 12 years ago and has found Engineering University to be very beneficial.

“It has improved my work because it has helped me understand how our work ties us together to accomplish our mission,” said Bearden. “It demonstrates how the work each one of us does is critical to ensuring water is delivered.”

Chris Kloskin, electrical engineer, joined CAP one year ago and said the benefits of Engineering University are innumerable.

“It’s critical that we all work together to ensure that the canal is efficiently functioning so we can deliver water — it’s a lifeline for our state,” said Kloskin. “As a relatively new employee at CAP, experiencing this transfer of knowledge has helped me quickly learn and understand the roles and responsibilities of the different departments in engineering services which has been vital to my work, and I look forward to eventually continue the transfer of knowledge and pass down my knowledge and experiences.”