HOPE – Families are significant to Hope Water and Light as the general provider of electrical and water services to Hope and the rural Hope area, ninth grade students in Noble Impact classes at Hope High School learned from HWL Co-General Manager Charlotte Bradley.
Hope Water and Light was invited to make presentations as the Hope Public Schools Employer of the Month for November.
Bradley, along with HWL Human Resources Director Krystal Goshen, made special presentations Nov. 18, asking students in Eryc McCaslin’s fifth and sixth period classes to consider the opportunities available locally when they begin to pursue a career.
“We want the best employees out there,” Bradley said. “We want this to be something you think about once you go out into the work world.”
Established legislatively in 1957 as a municipal utility, Hope Water and Light Corp. is governed by a five-member commission which is appointed by the Hope City Board of Directors, she said.
“We are a part of the City of Hope,” Bradley said.
She said HWL currently employs about 45 employees in a number of fields that contribute to the providing of its services including finance, accounting, human resources, engineering, water production, water treatment, water distribution, electrical distribution, customer service, inventory and warehousing.
A three-time winner of the American Public Power Association electrical services reliability award, HWL has been recognized as having annual electrical outage rates at 74 percent lower than the national average.
That sort of reliability is due largely to the training and skills of HWL employees, Bradley said. She said fitting the right skills and the right person for the job help build that quality, whether an employee has a college degree or a skilled certification. Job performance is a key concept for HWL.
“If you come to our company without a college degree, and you want a degree, we will pay for you to go to college as long as it is related to your job with Hope Water and Light,” Bradley said. “It doesn’t mean you can’t be successful if you don’t get a degree.
She said a college degree may not be what is best for everyone, but HWL has positions for varying levels of education.
“We do our best to promote from within,” Bradley said.
Financial support is based upon a sliding scale with a grade of “A” supported 100 percent; “B” at 80 percent; and “C” at 60 percent, she said.
HWL offers a better than competitive salary scale which begins with an apprentice program for a high school graduate, where hourly rates start at $17-plus and increase to $27-plus by the conclusion of the program, Bradley said. Salaried positions can range from $45,000-plus to $95,000-plus annually for skills such as electric distribution supervisor, finance supervisor, human resources supervisor, and customer service supervisor, as well as others, she said.
Merit increases range from one to five percent based upon evaluations.
Providing competitive pay and great employment opportunities with family-friendly benefits has helped HWL maintain a loyal workforce, Bradley said.
All potential employees of HWL must be at least 18 years of age, a high school graduate or hold a GED, and must pass a drug/alcohol screening.
“We look for someone who wants to stay; but, if you don’t, we understand you have to do what is best for your family,” she said. “I have been there 31 years.
“I want citizens of Hope to know that there are opportunities for them locally,” Bradley said. “We want you to know if you decide to stay in Hope, you have options.”
Bradley has held HWL positions in customer service, and as executive secretary, customer and employee relations manager, director of human resources and organizational development, and assistant general manager for administrative services.
Fully-paid health insurance, with dental and vision benefits, is part of the benefits package; as well as annual paid vacation, holidays, and 15 days of sick leave, Bradley explained.
Bradley also explored how HWL approaches the employment interview process and offered advice, including:
–Be friendly and attentive.
–Know something about HWL and how you want to fit in the company.
–Be informative and detailed about yourself, your skills, your work history, and your expectations.
–Understand the value of teamwork and collaboration.
Bradley holds degrees in biology and English, as well as master’s degrees in business administration and accounting. She currently serves as Workforce Development Representative to the American Public Power Association RP3 Panel, and is chair of the Electrical Examiners Board of Arkansas as an appointment from Governor Asa Hutchinson.
She is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management and Tri-State SHRM, as well as the International Personnel Managers Association (HR), the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund Board of Directors, and is a life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Locally, she is a member of the Hope Kiwanis Club, serves on the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Foundation Board of Directors, and the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Bradley is also a past chair of the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council and United Way of Hempstead County. She is a member of Miles Chapel Church, and serves as chair of the Steward Board, and serves on the Joint Finance Board for the West District of Arkansas of the CME Church. Bradley has one daughter, Alison and a grandchild, Karlee Marie.
Hope Water and Light Co-General Manager Charlotte Bradley, and HWL Human Resources Director Krystal Goshen, represented the local utility in presentations to the Hope High School Noble Impact classes as the Employer of the Month for November. – Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools