Consistent learning builds expertise – Stephen’s story

Stephen Kilonzo never goes anywhere without his toolbox. Filled with pliers, spanners, screwdrivers, and wrenches, Stephen’s toolbox helps him with the maintenance and upkeep of Sanergy offices, premises, and equipment.

In the last two years, Stephen’s role has been vital to the overall improvement of Sanergy infrastructure. He has undertaken infrastructure projects such as the installation of water pipes at Sanergy’s waste transfer and processing sites, installation of office fire alarms and security cameras, construction of working area surfaces for laboratory and warehouse staffs, and even large-scale painting projects in Sanergy’s offices.

Last month, Stephen was voted teammate of the quarter for demonstrating one of Sanergy’s core values: pragmatic innovation. Infrastructure Manager Simon Dixon describes Stephen’s dedication to produce high-quality work as great and his innovative problem-solving skills outstanding!

“Many infrastructure projects at Sanergy are unique, and there is no reference book or drawing; we rely on the ingenuity of our team. Stephen has been pivotal in many of the great solutions in the laboratory, especially the recently launched Vuna project,” Simon says.

Stephen is a plumbing graduate from Kenya Institute of Highway and Building Technology, and as he celebrates this memorable moment in his career, he shares more about his life and experience at Sanergy.

Tell us something about yourself.

I am 26 years old, the second born in a family of four. I love playing pool and spending time with my wife and daughter Abigael Mutheu during my free time.

What inspired you to join Sanergy?

I was attracted by the opportunity to earn a steady income and support my family; starting out as an independent artisan was difficult as I rarely received any contracts. Sanergy has also given me the opportunity to improve my plumbing skills tremendously.

Stephen installing a handwashing station in the Sanergy lab

Describe your typical day.

Every day is different. I log in to see the requests that are queued in Sanergy’s Helpdesk platform. I then attend to those requests and also set aside at least three hours to work on ongoing infrastructure projects. My current project is the installation of emergency showers at Sanergy’s laboratory and main processing site in Machakos County.

What has been your most rewarding project so far?

I’m proud to have completed the installation of water pipes in the processing site in Kinanie and the waste transfer center in Mukuru. I learnt a lot from the team I worked with; from choosing suitable pipes for different geographical locations to developing an accurate bill of materials for any given project.

Stephen was named Teammate of the Quarter last month for his pragmatic innovations. Congrats, Stephen!

What has been your most challenging project so far? What lessons did you learn from it?

One of the challenging projects I have worked on is the mapping out of a water route in our Mukuru waste transfer station. This route was necessary to ensure a consistent water supply to wash the waste containers at the station; unfortunately, it had to pass through a community member’s land, so we had to negotiate terms with the landowner to allow us to install a water tank and meter to accurately track Sanergy’s water usage.

I learnt the importance of design in undertaking a successful project and also how to communicate and get feedback from all involved stakeholders during implementation of such projects.

Do you have a mentor who inspires you?

Yes, my manager Anthony Kioko and my father Maurice Kilonzo have both taught me a lot; Anthony always offers me valuable advice and has taught me numerous skills, such as site planning and design. I also look up to my father, who is a carpenter by profession; he teaches me how to build and maintain good relationships with clients.

Where do you envision yourself professionally in the next few years?

I aim to be an excellent plumbing contractor for future Sanergy projects. To this end, I have plans underway to go back to school to further my plumbing qualifications.

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