Meet Nelly Aragon
Safety & Training Coordinator for Santa Rosa Water
6 years with the City of Santa Rosa
Meet Nelly Aragon, one of two women responsible for the safety training for 250+ Water Department employees. When Nelly is not out in the field performing safety inspections and hazard evaluations herself, she is developing safety programs for heavy equipment and hazardous chemicals for other employees to follow. No two days are the same for Nelly, often having to pivot and address new or changing safety needs, but to Nelly, it is a challenging career, where every day can be its own reward. Nelly did not start out with a career in water. In fact, after she earned her master’s degree in educational technology, she spent several years working in the insurance industry in San Diego, CA. Upon moving back to Northern California, she became a safety consultant at Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). There, she found the work in public utilities both technically challenging and fascinating, but more specifically, she could focus on community safety without the sales pitches from the insurance industry. In 2017, Nelly officially joined the City of Santa Rosa as one of two Safety and Training Coordinators for the city’s water department. She enjoyed being tasked with building a safety program from the ground up and working alongside so many smart and dedicated people. What Nelly really enjoys about her job with Santa Rosa Water is that at the end of the day she has made somebody’s life better. Through her safety and training programs, she knows she has prevented an injury or, in some cases, a fatality. She often relays the anecdote of receiving an email from an employee who attended one of her CPR classes, who used the skills he learned to save his own little girl. It was so rewarding to hear this great news and Nelly really appreciates how the City of Santa Rosa teaches employees skills that affect their lives for the better. Nelly credits a previous supervisor with taking Nelly under her wing and boosting her confidence in the workplace, someone who took the time to allow her to shine. Nelly finds having a mentor is especially helpful and encourages all employees to join the City’s own mentor program. For all the aspiring safety and training coordinators out there, Nelly suggests researching the educational programs on safety, to identify one that speaks to them, and reach out to mentors to help them along the way. When Nelly is not making the water department a safer place, you can find her with one of her five super-loved, super-spoiled rescue chihuahuas, refinishing furniture, and cave exploring.