But for Paddy Garrett, 1982 was the year she began her career in the water industry, and now her fifth decade of service is underway.
Paddy, from Suffolk, was a guest at a special event where her 40 years of service was recognised by Essex & Suffolk Water.
She originally worked for East Anglian Water before moving to Essex & Suffolk Water in 1994 when the companies merged.
Having worked in a number of areas of the business, she is now Asset Systems Team Leader in the company’s Asset Intelligence department, where she heads up the Geographic Information Systems team. The work of Paddy’s team helps colleagues working across East Anglia and the North East to locate underground assets and fix problems and resolve them more quickly to reduce any impact on customers. The information also helps identify when parts of the network may need replacement or improvement.
Paddy said: “The changes I have seen over the year have mainly been around technology. When I started, I was working on a drawing board producing plans for new water mains, visiting site to measure up, then updating the records. I updated the paper maps using pen and ink before moving to a digital Geographic Information System in mid-1990s. It was a challenge making that shift to digital, especially for teams out in the field, as they all had their own paper maps and were not keen to replace them, but now we have it on phones for our field staff, and we are using satellite surveying equipment.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is the support and respect you get from those you work with. Faces come and go but the people who work here have all been exceptional and professional.”
Kristian Haagensen, Essex & Suffolk Water’s Head of Asset Intelligence, said: “Paddy’s passion and commitment to the company never waivers, she cares deeply about our organisation and the services it delivers, and seeks every opportunity to make it stronger. She is a pleasure to work with, making time for anyone who needs it and is a fantastic example of a one team player.
“We would all like to say a huge congratulations and thank you to Paddy for her 40 years of service.”