Photography by Olivia Ross / Monique Spear, utility worker and truck driver for Tennessee American Water company, performs a hydrant inspection. Spear has been with the company for almost 12 years, calling it, "a great place to work…it's like a family."

* Year Established: 1887

* Employees: 106 (Chattanooga)

* Milestones: Chattanooga became just the second city in the South to have filtered water 130 years ago.One of the oldest businesses in Chattanooga, Tennessee American Water company processes up to 35 million gallons of treated water a day for residential and commercial use.

The company traces to 1887 when the American Water Works and Guarantee Company, the forerunner of American Water Works Company, Inc., purchased the Lookout Water Company and Mountain Springs Water Company, according to corporate archives. In 1973, the company underwent a name change, from City Water Company to Tennessee American Water Company. It is a subsidiary of the New Jersey-based American Water Company.

Most Chattanoogans will recognize the company's iconic billboard on Riverside Drive featuring "Phillip D. Glass" a fictional character whose name is a play on the words "fill up the glass." The company serves 380,000 customers in the region. In the last decade, Tennessee American has invested more than $197 million in water-related infrastructure.

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Photography by Robin Rudd / Wearing a mask in the fight against COVID-19, Tennessee American Water mascot Phillip D. Glass greets motorists on Riverside Drive in July 2020.

* Why this is a Best Place to Work: Employees report that they love working at Tennessee American Water for a variety of reasons including resposiveness to their concerns, good communications and a committment to charities.

The company says that its comprehensive safety program involves a pledge to review and potentially rectify any safety concerns within 30 days. On the communication front, there are quarterly town-hall meetings to keep employees up to date on company goals. An open-door communication policy is observed at all levels, Tennessee Americans officials say. The company also has a charitible foundation that pays employees $20 an hour for volunteer work done outside the business.

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Photography by Olivia Ross / Grant Evitts is president of Tennessee American Water company.

* Quotable, from president Grant Evitts: "At Tennessee American Water, we care about what we do and for each other, valuing the unique and diverse talents each team member provides. Safety is both a company strategy and a value, and is embedded in all we do. It provides the foundation for a workplace where our employees feel supported and their contributions to providing clean, safe, reliable water service are recognized."


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