One of President/CEO John Balliew’s earliest memories at El Paso Water involves Civil Engineering Professor Anthony Tarquin of the University of Texas at El Paso.
As Balliew was reporting for his first day of work at the Canal Plant, Tarquin was busily conducting water research with a graduate student from Greece.
For his multiple years of tireless dedication and for his collaboration and research with EPWater, the utility presented the retiring professor with the first Community Partner Award at the utility’s Public Service Board meeting on Nov. 10.
“Every single year, we have been working with Dr. Tarquin on something,” Balliew said. “He has trained many of the engineers who have worked for El Paso Water,” including championing retired utility engineer and senior operations leader Fernie Rico when he received his master’s degree.
Tarquin was a frequent fixture around El Paso Water, said Balliew, so much so that over the years that he has been a guest at department holiday parties, as well as utility fishing tournaments for charity.
Among Tarquin’s many successes was over an issue that the PSB struggled with in the ’80s and ’90s – colonias, the undeveloped neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city that lack water and wastewater services, Balliew said.
“We have made a lot of progress, thanks in part to Dr. Tarquin,” Balliew said.
PSB members rallied around Tarquin and added their thanks for his services.
“When I saw this item come up on the agenda, I immediately said, ‘I have Dr. Tarquin’s book,’” Bryan Morris said. “I actually used your ‘Engineering Economy’ book when I was studying for the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Exam. I’m just a little guy who was in your class 100 years ago.”
“Thank you, Dr. Tarquin, for everything you do,” Vice Chair Ivonne Santiago said. “We hope to continue the legacy you have left.”
“I really appreciate the example you have set for me and for others in this community, and your leadership in water science and water research,” Chair Kristina Mena said.
Tarquin couldn’t be more thankful for the work El Paso Water allowed him to do as he fulfilled his dream.
“This is the most significant award I could possibly get,” Tarquin said. “How many people get to say that what they are doing is what they dreamed of doing? The reason I am still working at age 80 is because I love my job. This isn’t work, and that’s because of this utility.”
Though his retirement is imminent, Tarquin is ready to volunteer his services if needed at EPWater.
“I will volunteer my services to anybody at this utility who thinks I could be of assistance to them for the rest of my life, even reading the water meters,” he added.