Water: Brought to you by Sara Ainsworth, IT Project Manager

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CAP Employee Ainsworth

CAP employees work each day to ensure Arizona’s allotment of Colorado River water flows through our 336-mile aqueduct to reach our municipal, agricultural, industrial and tribal customers. Learn more about Sara from our Information Technology Department via her words below and by watching this video.

Q: In a nutshell, what do you do for CAP?

A: I’m a Project Manager in the Information Technology Department which basically means I wear a lot of hats to turn an idea into reality.  I help my colleagues develop that project idea and organize and plan how to get it done.  Then I lead project teams to implement that project while managing its budget and vendor contracts.  Most importantly, I’m constantly communicating with others to make sure the project’s results meets everyone’s expectations. 

Q: How did you get into this line of work? 

A: I worked at a local sign company and was always fascinated with computers. So I decided to reboot my career and earned a Bachelors in Information Technology at DeVry University. Then my IT career started with humble beginnings as a Support Technician at Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and at CAP. I enjoy working with people and have a natural knack for organizing, so I found myself earning a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certificate nine years ago and haven’t looked back.

Q:  How does the work you do on a daily basis affect our water supply?

A: Wow, where do I start? I’ve led many project teams that have changed how we do business today with technology. All of our water schedules and deliveries are tracked in our custom built Water Management System (WMS), and my colleagues in the field have been using mobile devices to  record many different inspections across our canal system. Lately, we’re exploring business efficiencies with technology by advancing our current data analytics capabilities. Overall, these improvements help keep our water rates stable, improve our award-winning Asset Management Program and help us evaluate water issues quickly.

Q: What are some of the technical advances that allow you to do your job more effectively and efficiently? 

A: Online meeting systems like WebEx and MS Teams have been instrumental, especially the past two years.  Sharing screens with my colleagues and vendors across the country has significantly improved communication.  And my projects were impacted a little when we switched to working remotely last year. 

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your work?

A: Rapidly changing technology and communication. Technology is changing faster than ever before. Major upgrades used to happen every two years; now patches and updates happen monthly. On top of it, technology that’s easy to use is actually more complicated to manage and maintain behind the scenes. Now, take these complex technical ideas and explain it to someone who isn’t as familiar with it.  I make sure that both my technical and non-technical colleagues understand each other so that their decisions are the right fit for everyone.

Q: What’s the most gratifying part of your job? 

A: I love learning and helping others figure out how to do things better with technology. CAP has  many different key departments so I try to help my colleagues think “outside their box.” I’ve even facilitated small group discussions so they can come up with new ideas to move past the gridlock.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at CAP?

A: CAP’s commitment that employees are a valuable resource. They provide many in-house training opportunities that have helped me personally grow and become more self-confident. I’m also proud of our VPP status in Safety and our active Turnouts. volunteer program