One single class led to a new chapter in the life of Lancaster resident Richard Gavilanes, the newest addition among staffers at the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency, where he hired on as a Plant Operator in Rosamond’s water treatment facility.
Richard came aboard in September 2022, bringing with him six years of experience in the water treatment and distribution industry, which kicked off in 2016 at a position with a mutual water company. There he intended to get his proverbial feet wet, and he successfully accomplished his goal.
Then, in October 2017, Richard applied for a foreman position at Littlerock Creek Irrigation District, working under the direction of General Manager James Chaisson, who also currently serves as Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Antelope Valley Watermaster.
“I was there five years,” Richard said, appreciative of the guidance he received from James. “He helped me pursue my growth,” which resulted in his position at AVEK.
Richard described AVEK as “more enticing because of its size and capabilities” as California’s third largest State Water Project Contractor.
But his interest in water all started in 2014, where he had been taking classes aimed at obtaining a career in the engineering field.
“I saw a class in water math.” He said it related to engineering. “So, I decided to take the class. I enjoyed it. As soon as I finished that class, I found I could expand my knowledge with distribution and treatment classes.” He took the California State University, Sacramento course. “I was able to obtain my distribution and treatment license within a year.”
Eager to find a job, he secured a list of the various water agencies in the Antelope Valley and began “applying all over.”
Richard moved to this Valley in (2001), coming from North Hollywood. His parents reside in Lancaster, but his siblings all moved out of state.
Richard and his wife Elaine have four children – son Roman, 14; daughter Bella, 8; daughter Zoe, 6; and son Zeus, the newest addition at 1-year-old.
“We have a female Great Dane,” a 3-year-old puppy named Pepper. “She’s, our protector. Also, she demands a lot of attention.”
In his free time, he enjoys gardening and wood-crafting, making small objects out of wood. He also enjoys playing sports with his children.
“The only time I watch TV is for sports.” He’s a fan of the Lakers, Dodgers and Los Angeles Rams.