For its comprehensive efforts to support employees, customers, and the communities it serves throughout the coronavirus pandemic, California Water Service Group (Group) has been named a Silver Stevie® Award winner for the Most Valuable Corporate Response in the COVID-19 Response category.
The Stevie® is given out by the American Business Awards® (ABA), which recognizes the world's best organizations operating in the United States. According to the organization, more than 3,800 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted for consideration in this year's 19th annual awards cycle. Last year, the ABA created a category for COVID-19, and Group earned the Silver Stevie® Award for Most Valuable Employer in this category.
Among its actions to go above and beyond steps expected of employers, Group provided scarce commodities and resources to support emotional well-being, and offered additional time off work for employees. Additionally, to enhance workplace safety, the utility provided personal protective equipment and air purifiers, increased office cleanings, and created employee pods to limit potential exposure. To support customers, Group provided partial bill forgiveness for those who had fallen behind during the pandemic, suspended shutoffs for nonpayment before it was even required by the state, and offered resources to those who needed help paying their rent and utility bills. For local communities, Group donated more financially than ever before to ensure food pantries were stocked and so first responders had access to life-saving personal protective equipment.
One of the ABA's judges described Group's entry as “an honorable project that has put the safety and health of the population before profits, helping to reduce the damage caused by the pandemic.”
"California Water Service Group is committed to improving the lives of those we serve, so when the pandemic hit, it was natural that we would do whatever we could to support our customers and neighbors. We also knew the sacrifice our essential workers were making to come into work during such uncertain times, so it was imperative we took care of their needs as well," President and CEO Martin A. Kropelnicki said. "We appreciate the ABA for recognizing our efforts, as we kept tap water flowing to families, essential businesses, and medical facilities."