SRP dads: a community of strength and support

This time of year is known for its rising temps, but also as a time of observances, including Mother’s Day (May 12), Older Americans Month (May), and Father’s Day (June 16). To celebrate, we are sharing a three-part series that highlights how some of SRP’s hardworking parents and caregivers balance family with their roles at SRP. Today, you’ll see a post on fatherhood at SRP. See here for our past blog on caregiving at SRP, and here for our May post about moms who balance work and parenthood.

There’s a common theme you’ll hear from fathers who work at Salt River Project.

Image shows a father and son posing with arms out and with smiles on their faces
Clint Bragg and son. Image courtesy of Clint Bragg.

“There’s a real sense of community here,” says Clint Bragg, CSP, Senior Safety & Health Specialist.

Brian Skerven, a Senior Computer Analyst, speaks of community too. He has been a father almost exactly as long as he’s been working at Salt River Project.

“My wife gave birth three days after I started at SRP,” says Brian, who works in Cartographic & GIS Services. “My daughter is seven now.”

A Culture You Can Count On

As a father, SRP’s Working Families Employee Interest Group (EIG) helped Brian find information about being a parent at SRP. He found that and something more – community amongst colleagues.

Image shows a father and daughter smiling at the camera.
Brian Skerven and daughter. Image courtesy of Brian Skerven.

“When my daughter was diagnosed with autism,” he says. “I wanted to find support and resources for this aspect of parenthood. It was important to me, so I became the chair of a Working Families EIG subgroup devoted to supporting families with special needs.”

An EIG is self-organized, voluntary group of at least 10 SRP employees that self-identify with the same single diversity dimension or like-interest. For Brian, the support of a group like this was critical, as it helped him connect with other parents going through similar experiences at SRP. He also found support from his managers and team.

“I bring my daughter in to the office sometimes. My colleagues know her, everyone has been really receptive to having her there. We do what we can to help each other out, and fulfill our commitment to our families.”

Besides support for one another, the Working Families EIG helps make an impact in the wider community. In his role as Chair, Brian hosts the Autism Speaks walk team for SRP, and in 2018, 50 colleagues joined him in the walk. The Working Families EIG also hosts a movie premier in the fall that supports a family-based charity.

Sense of Community

Image shows a father holding a daughter with a double stroller.
David Felix and children. Image courtesy of David Felix.

David Felix, Manager, Fuel Supply Management says, “Every year since my first daughter was born, we’ve attended the Easter Egg Hunt, the Halloween Trick or Treat, the Winter Wonderland event. It’s a year-round thing, and my daughter looks forward to these events, and I look forward to continuing the tradition with our 4-month old twins.”

The sense of community reverberates beyond SRP into the organizations and groups that its employees – dads included – support.

“Every hour you spend volunteering somewhere in the community, SRP’s Dollars for Doers will match with a financial contribution to that program,” Clint explains. I not only have the freedom and support to invest time in coaching my son in baseball, but SRP also donates to the program on my behalf.”

Benefits that Matter

Along with EIGs and community investment, SRP benefits help employees focus on delivering water and power through investment in their long term career.

“The benefits that we have really do take the heat off you. For retirement, pension, I know I can provide for my children,” says Clint. “My job is to serve as a resource to internal customers throughout the company. There are lots of other dads around the company, and connecting with them about parenthood helps me build trust that’s critical to my job.”

Flexibility for Modern Life

What’s more, there’s flexibility to balance a critical-to-the-community career with fatherhood.

Image shows a man, woman and two young daughters.
The Dymek Family. Image courtesy of Dan Dymek.

Dan Dymek, Manager, Enterprise, SAP/HR Technical Solutions, says that flexibility comes with his role, and his 21-year tenure at SRP. “I’m an IT Manager, and it’s helpful for me to be able to log in before my kids wake up or after they go to bed. It’s always a balance to get them to activities, and having a wife with a career, we’re constantly tweaking our lives to figure out what’s next. There’s just a culture here of understanding and respect that people do have families.”

David agrees and shares that, “SRP is a great place to work from a work life balance perspective. I’ve always been afforded the ability to be flexible as a dad. Leaving for a doctor’s appointment for my daughter, to attend a recital. There’s no angst in telling my boss that I have to go to this thing. There’s no stress or tension because at the end of the day, I’m getting my job done.”

“Our flexible work out program – AWW – has been the biggest benefit to me,” says Clint. “Every Friday that I have an AWW, I get to go to lunch with my son at his school. He just loves that.”

SRP dads go the extra mile because know they are critical role models for the next generation.

Dan explains it well.

“I have two daughters and I know that the father-daughter relationship plays a significant role in their development. I want to be a positive role model and help them to understand that even though it can be difficult, it is important to make time for work and your family. I also want them to see their father treating their mother – who also has a career – with respect by supporting their mom as an equal partner.”

David’s children, too, will have a wonderful role model. “I’ve always made it a priority to continue to be a big part of my kid’s lives,” he explains. “I want to be able to go to their recitals, their practices. Working at SRP enables me to do so.”

Clint closes with advice – and an offer – to parents. “If you’re a parent and you’re new to SRP, or you’re exploring working here, ask around to find people who can talk to you about their experience. Call me, if you’d like!”

For more than 100 years, Salt River Project has served Arizona by providing the critical services of water and power. Today, SRP builds upon that mission by ensuring Arizonans who work for our company have access to critical benefits such as maternal and paternal leave, aging parent assistance, adoption support and more. If you are interested in joining SRP, please join our Talent Pool at careers.srpnet.com.

Melissa Forbes

Melissa Forbes

Melissa is a communications consultant on SRP's Community, Communications and Marketing team. An Arizona transplant who moved here with her husband, Melissa lives in a historic home and adores all things Phoenix. She's a lover of dogs and travel (especially when combined) and can be most often found hiking an Arizona trail with her rescue cattle dog mix.

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