By Cassie McClure
Published in Las Cruces Bulletin 11.5.2021
A lifetime’s learning never ends. Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) ensures that employees stay up to date on the latest industry standards and best practices that increase the staff’s ability to provide safe, clean water, reliable natural gas, and weekly trash and recycling services.
For LCU Deputy Director Lucio M. Garcia, P.E., the continuation of learning was in the form of a New Mexico State University graduate certification in Public Utility Regulation and Economics (PURE).
The PURE certificate is a professional educational program designed for post-baccalaureate students pursuing a career in the utility sector, with an electric utility company, natural gas utility, water distribution utility, or a government agency regulating these types of companies.
The classes are advanced technical instruction on utility industry analysis and review utility regulatory methods, policy, and analytical applications. The program also serves students with a wide variety of backgrounds – from accounting to law and public administration – so anyone who may even tangentially work with utilities in the future has a firm grasp of how it works.
In 12 credit hours, Garcia went back to review the theoretical aspects of what he does day-to-day. Garcia said, “It is a demanding program; however, if you enjoy it, it is straightforward.”
“The most difficult was working through all the spreadsheets of a rate case in the earlier classes,” said Garcia. “In the latter courses, there is so much reading through other actual rate cases to develop and write testimony. For me, it’s something that can be applied immediately for how we analyze and develop our rates here.”
LCU Director Delilah Walsh explained that it’s in LCU’s mission to ensure that employees have all the tools they need to do their job, not just the physical ones.
“Our employees are our greatest resource, and it’s our goal to invest in them to be able to do their jobs to the best of their abilities,” said Walsh. “We encourage staff to go for that next stage in their career through education; for example, if a water operator wants to test to the next level. It’s important not only for them, but reflects that on caliber of our entire organization.”
LCU Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at: las-cruces.org/180/Utilities For emergencies, call Dispatch at 526-0500.
PHOTO 1: LCU Deputy Director Lucio M. Garcia, P.E., completed NMSU’s PURE graduate certification to stay up to date on the best practices in the public utility industry.