NI Water has paid tribute to one of its most respected electricians who is retiring after over four decades of service in Newry.
Newry man David Campbell has worked for NI Water in the city since 1981.
He steps down from the role early next year and, having provided invaluable support to the Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) Services Function, his bosses have nothing but praise for his efforts over the last 43 years.
“We could not be prouder of David and his achievements over the last 43 years,” said Leslie Young, David’s area manager at NI Water.
“David’s decision to retire is bittersweet. He has helped us no end in the last 43 years but I am happy that he will get the chance to spend more time with his family, especially his grandchildren. I would like to thank David for everything he has done for NI Water as a whole. He will be missed so much by so many here. There’ll be big shoes to fill here now.”
David began working as an apprentice at local electrical firm Baker and Carlin in 1974 but when the owner decided to retire in 1979 and subsequently close the business, David found himself looking for a new job.
He said: “I was 22 years old and I had just got married. I suddenly found myself in the position of needing to find a new job. I was at a football match when a friend mentioned the (then) Water Service was looking for electricians in Newry. I had the commercial and industrial experience from working around the Newry area and a fairly good background in maintenance, so I knew it was a good grounding for the role. I applied and was so happy when I was offered the job. It’s been a great place to work.”
Over the years David worked his way up to become an Electrical Craft Supervisor with the M&E team at NI Water, something he says his employer was very supportive of.
“NI Water has always been a very supportive employer, always making sure you have opportunities to up-skill. I came here with my City and Guilds qualification but I’ve learned so much along the way, building up my experience by working with experienced mentors and having lots of tailored training opportunities along the way. I have so many people to thank for their support over the years – Adrian Allely, the late David Andrews, Gerry Murtagh and Ashley Robinson are just a few.”
David says he’s seen many changes over the years: “When I started at the Newry depot we had meetings every morning but nowadays we use tough pads, a small type of computer, to find out what’s going on and what needs fixed. The technology has changed so much over the years. It’s a very different way of working.”
Thinking about why he stayed at NI Water for so long, David said: “It’s a unique and rewarding career. The different career paths here are outstanding, NI Water will always help you progress through the organisation to higher levels and into management, if that’s what you want to do. NI Water always provides the tools, equipment and resources needed to do the job safely and effectively. The employee benefits and the perks are good too. It’s things like the pension and you also get a company van for your working hours. If you are willing to commute here, even from 35 miles away, NI Water will make it work for you. You are home by 4.20pm every day. There’s early 3.30pm finishes on Fridays. And there’s always rest periods available if you have been working on standby. There’s also generous annual leave. It’s been good to work somewhere that treats their staff so well.”
While David put his heart and soul into his work, the work was never a chore to him.
“I couldn’t fault my time here,” he added.
“It’s a great place to work. It’s a great team. It has been exciting to get out and about to see the different NI Water sites and work on the huge amount of technology upon which we depend. The buck stops with M&E. If the technology across our treatment and pumping facilities goes off, there’s great pride in getting it going again so that NI Water can continue to deliver the water and wastewater services which we all rely on. It’s been a job with a purpose. And I’ve made lots of lifelong friends.”
Naturally, that is what he expects to miss most.
“I’ll really miss the camaraderie. I’ve lots of good memories, especially from my days playing with our football team in the Southern Division. We travelled to matches all over Northern Ireland. We have always had good craic over the years and there was always plenty going on. And that’s what it’s all about,” said David.
“I’m now looking to the future and looking forward to having more time for me and doing the things I love most. I have nine grandchildren so I’m looking forward to spending more time with them as well as enjoying the football with the Damolly FC team and golfing.”