This year marks 100 years of water utilities in Mansfield. Mansfield Water Utilities saw this as an incredible opportunity to engage and celebrate with our customers. More importantly, it was an opportunity to truly put the mission statement of our communication plan into action.
In case you missed out, the 100 year birthday party portion of the celebration was a community event that included several life sized family-friendly games. The games all had an educational component; think Hungry Hungry Hippos as Thirsty Thirsty Rain Barrels or Chutes and Ladders as Poops and Splatters (infrastructure game) or Battleships as Battle Digs (Texas 811). A few weeks later we had a book launch to release the commemorative 100-year book that our very own staff wrote. This book tells the story of how we interact with water today and how that is tied to the history of Mansfield. Here’s a recap!
1. We Got the Whole Family Involved!
Director of Water Utilities Jeff Price wanted this to be more than just a public relations event. If we were going to celebrate our birthday, we were going to get everyone involved. As part of a team building activity, the entire division came in early to brainstorm the various different games. We shared with them the mission and goals of the event and tasked them with brainstorming how each game would be played and what materials would be needed to build them.
2. We Channeled Our Inner Pinterest
The week following the initial brainstorm session, the division regrouped again into their teams to build and test the games. They built cornhole games, cardboard box bricks for Angry Larvae (aka Angry Birds), a life-sized PVC billiards game, and more. The education team tested out these games and troubleshooted any changes that needed to occur.
3. We Made Lots of New Friends
We channeled our inner Mr. Rogers and we found out who the people in our neighborhood are. From our local businesses and churches to our residents, we worked hard to include everyone. Creations Bakery made us our official 100 year birthday cupcake. Our water meter vendor and local business, Master Meter, sponsored a mechanical bull and dunk tank. First Methodist Mansfield ran the dunk tank and helped us collect funds for Hurricane Harvey Relief. Mayor David Cook, Police Chief Tracy Aaron, Code Enforcement Manager Cliff Griffin and Water Utilities Director Jeff Price all took one for the team and got in the dunk tank to inspire the crowd to raise funds. Every game was run by one of our Water Utilities employees allowing our customers to interact face to face with the men and women who ensure the quality and delivery of their water and wastewater every day.
4. In Our Own Words
We told our story, our way. Water Utilities staff wrote a 100-year commemorative book. The book gives insight to how water impacts our daily lives and how we impact our water resources and infrastructure. The history of water in Mansfield is woven into this story to make our community’s connection to their water tangible. Did you know Ralph Man headed to southeast Tarrant County in the late 1800s in search of water for his grist mill when water resources became scarce in Fort Worth? Did you know Main Street used to be called Water Street because it was home to the first source of water in Mansfield? Did you know M.M. Farr brought electricity, the Farr Best Theater and the beginning of water utilities to Mansfield all in 1917? Water is an integral part of the story of Mansfield. If you want to know more, request your own copy of the book by emailing [email protected]
5. We Celebrated Our Greatest Assets
We held a private book launch to release the 100-year commemorative book. We would have loved to invite the entire community however our venue had limited space. As a well-deserved nod to M.M. Farr, we held the event at Farr Best Theater. We invited retired employees that gave the event the feel of a family reunion. We celebrated our people who work tirelessly to ensure the reliable delivery of safe, clean drinking water for our community. As with any other business, we are often so caught up in what we do that we forget to focus on why we do it. We forget to tell our best and brightest thank you for everything they do on a daily basis.
The entire centennial celebration allowed us to focus on this idea two-fold. On one hand, our staff interacted with their community face-to-face to remind them of who they serve everyday. On the other hand, our community was given the same opportunity to put a face to a name. The guy playing Water Drop Pool with your child was the same guy in a hole for 32 hours repairing a main break in 14 degree weather in your neighborhood last winter. The guys playing Angry Larvae, Battle Digs, and Stormwater Foosball are part of a team that responded to over 14,000 calls from customers this past year to ensure that their meters were operating properly. The guy playing Defend Your Drain cornhole was part of a team whose process efficiency efforts recovered over 171 million gallons of water at the Bud Ervin Water Treatment Plant to be recycled and reused.
We could have celebrated this milestone event with a social media post and a nice historical photo. A picture may be worth a thousand words, a video may be worth more but the ability to interact directly with the customers we serve is priceless. These interactions drive our mission to be a trusted ally for our residents and are why we do what we do. Thank you for your role in our story. For your family, from ours, here’s to the next 100 years.