By Cassie McClure
Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Solid Waste Laborer Ariana Alvarado likes to work with her hands. She was happy to get a temporary 20-hours-per-week position at LCU in June 2020.
Previously, Alvarado worked at an oil change shop and had used some of the same experience to maintain the trucks in Solid Waste, the trucks residents see on their streets. As a temporary employee she lubed the forks and arms on residential and commercial route trucks and checked tire pressures.
Alvarado is the first woman hired on the operations side of Solid Waste – we hope she will inspire other females to apply – and has been in her full-time 40-hour-a-week position for three weeks. This week, Alvarado has been welding the bottom of a broken dumpster. She had some basic welding skills and has been working on improving upon those skills.
“The welding has had a surprisingly calming effect,” Alvarado said. “It’s repetitive and requires a steady hand, but it’s also a little artistic, which is something I like.”
Performing repairs on dumpsters is only a part of the job. Alvarado also delivers new and repaired dumpsters, washes route trucks, continues to perform minor maintenance of the trucks, and hopes to take the next step to learn to drive the trash trucks when she gets her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). With the training that LCU provides, the options for her future seem wide open.
“I’ve learned a lot, but I was surprised to learn about the organization that happens behind the scenes and to have patience with the hiring process,” she said.
Deputy Director of Solid Waste Robin Lawrence explained that it’s not just the driving of the trucks that people see on the road, but a whole crew, behind the scenes, that helps LCU Solid Waste operate daily.
“We need people who are innovative and come up with solutions and recommendations to keep our equipment running and extend the life of our dumpsters and trash containers. What we do in-house saves ratepayers money by reducing the need to outsource,” said Lawrence. “Every LCU associate can learn more in their position and grow at LCU, while providing a fundamental service to our community.”
Las Cruces Utilities can be reached at 575/528-3500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
Las Cruces Utilities Solid Waste Laborer Ariana Alvarado went from temporary to full-time associate helping deliver dumpsters, maintain trash trucks, and welding broken dumpsters in about six months. More positions like this are available at LCU, and if you like working with your hands, this could be you.
Note: This story was recently published in the Las Cruces Bulletin.