With almost 10 years of service at the City of St. Augustine, Chris Masters has climbed the ladder of responsibility in the Public Works Department and this year received the City of St. Augustine Employee of the Year Award.
Chris, a St. Augustine native, started in Transmission and Distribution, and learned the importance working quietly and quickly especially in times of urgency. And problem solving is his specialty, doing ‘work-arounds,’ if emergencies happen.
Working for the past nine years in Pump Stations, his prior experience before coming to the city became invaluable since much of the work on pump stations is mechanical and sometimes, confining and very dirty. Not a great environment for performance, however Chris always rises to the occasion.
For the layperson, pump stations which are placed throughout the city, collects sewage and pumps it to the wastewater treatment plant, located on Riberia St.
Sure it can be a dirty job, Chris says, “You never know what you’ll find in there! But I like, really enjoy the work and I've got to have the retirement. Dad always said that’s important!”
Before coming to the city, Chris worked as an auto mechanic at a few well known St. Augustine companies. Since his responsibilities now call for electrical and mechanical experience, he fit right in with his present work.
As an example of his ability to resolve problems, one pump station failed and Chris was able to set up a bypass system to keep the utility in operation until permanent repairs could be made to the broken pump.
As Foreman II, Chris oversees the other workers and is generally the lead person in the field. It can still be a dirty job since much of the mechanical work is in a confined space at the bottom of the pump container which is normally circular either 6 feet or 8 feet in circumference and 15 to 18 feet deep.
However, on his down time, he and his wife, Michelle, spend time football season watching son Mark, 11, play football. Daughter Nikki, 18, is a senior at St. Augustine High School.
Outside of football season, he still enjoys working on and the painting of vehicles.
Fishing, both salt and fresh water, are on his list of hobbies and things he loves to do and when asked the last time he went fishing, he laughed and said “I spent New Year’s Eve fishing and it was a wonderful fireworks display at St. Augustine Beach from under the Vilano Beach Bridge! Fishing…anytime I can do it, I’m gone.”