After more than 33 years with the city of Watertown, Water Systems Manager Kevin Freber has decided to move on, taking a similar position in Oconomowoc starting in early March. Freber began working for the city in 1984 as a wastewater plant operator while he was still enrolled at Moraine Park Technical College where he got his associate's degree. Since then he has worked as a collection systems crew member, biosolids manager and assistant water systems manager. He's been overseeing both the water and wastewater departments as water systems manager since 2013.
Freber said ever since he was hired, he had aspirations to rise to the top of the water department. With that goal achieved, Freber said the next step in his journey was prompted by the desire to undertake a new challenge.
"I'm looking to better myself before the end of my career," Freber said.
He said he greatly enjoyed his time in Watertown and the many people he's worked with.
"I thank the city council and the mayor for giving me the opportunity to raise and support my family," Freber said.
Though Freber's resignation came as a surprise to Mayor John David, he said Freber has done an excellent job in his time with the city.
"He's very dedicated and loyal," David said. "He absolutely started at the bottom and got all the education he needed and worked his way up in the system. That's really the kind of employee that you like to have."
Freber said he's most proud of his role in the creation of the wastewater treatment plant in 2004 and the new central water treatment plant completed last year.
"I think that Watertown is really set for the future with the new central water plant," he said. "That should supply it with clean drinking water well beyond my tenure."
Freber said he's leaving the city's water system in good condition for the next manager but there will still be some challenges for his replacement because of escalating state regulations.
David said the city will begin advertising for Freber's replacement as soon as possible, and may need to hire an interim water systems manager if the position is not filled in the coming weeks.
"He'll be missed, that's for sure," David said. "We'll just keep plugging along and get the position filled as soon as we can with the best possible candidate."
Freber said he plans to remain at his Juneau residence and commute to his new position in Oconomowoc.
"I'm really proud of everything that got done here in the city and of the employees that I worked with my whole career," Freber said. "I think I'm leaving Watertown in great shape for the next person that comes in and takes over."