I AM TRA: IAN SKEEN
Ian Skeen, maintenance mechanic II, began his career at the Trinity River Authority just out of high school in December 2014. As a senior at Arlington High School, he was encouraged by his audio and video production teacher to enroll in the on-the-job-training basic water course. The class offers students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to pursue the Class D license required to become a water operator.
Upon completing the class and passing the required test, Skeen applied for an operator I position at Tarrant County Water Supply Project. It was only when he went in for his interview that he connected the dots.
“I didn’t even know Sid worked here when I applied,” Skeen commented. “I sat down in the interview, and they talked about the plant and mentioned Sid, and I thought, ‘Wait a minute — he taught my class.’”
Sid McCain, TCWSP project manager, had been Skeen’s teacher in the basic water class he took while at Arlington High School.
When Skeen received his Class C license, he realized just how vital his role was at TCWSP. After completing 80 hours of extracurricular courses, he obtained his Class C license and was promoted to operator II in March 2017. Operators who hold a Class D license must be accompanied by an operator with a Class C license or above at all times, whereas an operator with a Class C license does not require oversight.
“Once I had my C, I realized, ‘Oh wow, I am directly responsible for the water supply for 200,000 people,’” said Skeen.
In 2017, he joined the Top Ops team. Placing third in the state’s Top Ops competition is his proudest accomplishment during his time at the Authority.
He is currently working toward a degree in the electronics programming field at Tarrant County College. He believes this skill set will be useful as his career progresses and technology changes.
“I’ve been working here long enough to see things becoming more automated. I see that is the direction things are headed, so having that skill set is going to be more profitable regardless of what I do.”
Considering he began his career at TCWSP out of high school, he feels that working at the Authority has given him goals to work toward. He transitioned into his current role in 2020 to further develop his knowledge and skills.
“I really think TRA has helped me figure out what I want to do in general. It didn’t help me achieve my goals; it really gave me a goal in the first place,” stated Skeen.