Hillsborough Utility Maintenance Technician to Retire

Waddell Jacobs is retiring after nearly 18 years with the town

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
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Utility Maintenance Technician III Waddell Jacobs plans to continue outdoor work in retirement.

Hillsborough Utility Maintenance Technician III Waddell Jacobs will retire Friday, March 31, after nearly 18 years with the town.

“I have really enjoyed working with Waddell over the years and getting to know him,” Utility System Supervisor Lacy Painter said. “He always has a positive outlook on any situation and a smile. Waddell is someone any of us can depend on to help any time, any day, with anything. He is always there for the crew. He has been a crucial part of our team, and it will not be the same without him.”

Jacobs began his career with the Utilities Department in July 2005 as a maintenance worker. He recalled he had been laid off from a printing company in Durham when a friend suggested he join him in working for the Town of Hillsborough. Jacobs visited the town’s water plant to talk with the late Adron Thompson about a job.

“He looked at me and said, ‘I know you from somewhere,’ ” Jacobs recalled, laughing.

Thompson, who was the town’s utility system supervisor at the time, had worked with Jacobs’ brother in Durham. He hired Jacobs to install water pressure regulators, valves that reduce water pressure from public water mains for use in customers’ plumbing and fixtures.

As employees departed, Jacobs rose up the ranks, was provided a town vehicle and started working on call for after-hours utilities emergencies. He began earning drinking water operator certifications for distribution, earning his C-Distribution Certificate and a reclassification to utility maintenance technician I in 2007, then his B Certificate and the technician II title in 2012, and finally his A Certificate and current title in 2014. Jacobs also obtained a wastewater collections 4 certification.

“I will surely miss Waddell’s smile and laugh,” Utilities Director Marie Strandwitz said. “His many years of dedication to the town have been a tremendous benefit to our water and sewer customers, many of whom know him by name. I wish him absolute success and happiness in his retirement!”

Over the years, Jacobs has worked on installing and repairing the town’s water and sewer lines and performing maintenance on fire hydrants. He mostly works on water lines now, including installing and repairing water meters. He said repairing a water line break can be an all-day job.

“Some days I work overtime or at night. In the middle of the night, I get a call and I go in and fix it. I’m not going to miss that at all,” he said, laughing.

He will miss working for the town and with his coworkers and the good times they have as they gather for lunch in the Thompson Water/Sewer Facility.

“Waddell has done an amazing job on keeping the water tanks and booster pump station looking great and serving the Town of Hillsborough water and sewer customers,” Utility Superintendent Joel Lashley said. “I will miss having the discussions we had during lunch. It was also a great time with Waddell.”

Jacobs said he has most enjoyed being able to work outside.

“I like being in the open space instead of being cramped up inside an office,” Jacobs said. “It gets hot sometimes, but it still works out pretty good. I enjoy being here.”

He plans to continue outdoor work in retirement, saying he’ll likely take some time to do what’s needed around his own home as well as helping others through his handyman service, a side job he’s performed for as long as he’s worked for the town. He also might travel to some place warm.

“I’ll have nobody laying over my shoulder,” he said. “Nobody calling me. I’m free.”

Apply to work for the town

The town is accepting applications for a public works equipment operator and a police officer. See the Job Opportunities website. Also view the town’s recruitment video.