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activities, the excitement and creativity carries over into the regular work of every employee as all are 
encouraged to look for ways our processes can become more efficient and sustainable. 
 
HRSD has always valued credentialed education and training and provides a generous tuition payment 
program to enable employees to pursue degree programs at every level. A variety of work force 
development training opportunities are presented throughout  the year and the number of training 
hours per employee is a strategic   metric tracked throughout the organizati on.  HRSD established the 
nation's first wastewater  apprenticeship program in 1979. The HRSD apprenticeship program provides 
the training for operators, maintenance operators, electricians, automotive  technicians, interceptor  
technicians, instrumentation specialists, carpenters  and machinists that allows them and HRSD to be 
successful. The four-year program requires intensive classroom work while obtaining proficiency in trade 
skills through on-the-job training . More than 400 individu al s have graduated from this US Department 
of Labor approved program since its inception with a current average of 12 graduates   each year, 
providing the skilled workforce necessary to  meet current and future demands of our   challenging 
industry. 
 
An intentional focus on partnerships in the strategic plan has helped HRSD become more fully engaged 
with the communities in which our employees and customers live, work and play. HRSD proposed a 
regional approach meeting regulatory wet weather requirements that was formally adopted by 14 local 
governments and ultimat ely approved by EPA and incorporated into HRSD's SSO consent decree. HRSD 
has assumed full responsibility and liability for regional wet weather capacity regardless of asset 
ownership. Under this concept, HRSD will identify defects in locality owned infrastructure that 
contribute to regional wet weather flow challenges and make those repairs with HRSD fund s. This 
unique partnership allows HRSD to focus rehabilitation of the regional system in a more cost effective 
manner, resulting in an estimated $1 billion in savings over the  traditional  siloed   solution. 
 
Organizational culture is ultimately dictated by the behaviors and actions modeled by senior leadership. 
HRSD's senior leadership team meets regularly with two executive coaches to explore "soft" topic s like 
communication, empathy, emotional intelligence and related issues. These sessions have minimal 
agendas and provide time for senior leadership to really share frankly with each other about topics both 
personal and professional. Walking the walk (carving out  time to build relationships, holding each other 
accountable and providing feedback  through    fierce conversations) helps establish accepted behaviors 
that form the HRSD culture. Beyond behaviors, the  physical environment of office spaces, parking lots, 
break rooms and even coffee service reinforce the  organizational culture  .  Senior leadership office 
spaces are sized and furnished identically to other supervisors, there are no reserved parking spaces and 
coffee and break areas are available to everyone. 
 
While culture may eat strategy for breakfast, an organization cannot exist on culture alone.  The 
organization   needs to  accomplish its mission, provide value for its customers and innovate to change 
and adapt with the   market, the regulatory environment and ever evolving technologie s. Regulatory 
compliance is the  baseline at HRSD. Innovation is encouraged in every aspect of operati ons from 
customer service to biosolids recycling. HRSD ha s established a minimum invest ment level for  research 
and development at greater than one-half percent of total revenue.  This ensures a continued robust 
invest ment in research focused on reducing costs in the  future. 
 
Leveraging this investment, HRSD works in partnership with leading universities in Virginia and across 
the nation . In keeping with the "open architecture" concept for wastewater research, HRSD was 
instrumental in establishing LIFT with WE&RF and WEF to better coordinate research activities at