Happy New Year and Greetings!
Let me open by thanking the Membership and Regional Directors for putting their trust in me to represent the FW&PCOA as their President. It is truly and honor and I hope to serve the membership this coming year to promote our profession, protect our waters and provide the best training offered in the State of Florida.
I have been working in the water profession since joining the US Air Force in 1970, stepping into my first water plant in December 1970.
Having spent nearly a lifetime working in this profession I sometimes wonder what legacy will I leave behind.
A Legacy can be defined as the wealth left to another or something transmitted by or received from a predecessor. Often a legacy is seen as wealth or money passed on to a relative or someone seen as worthy.
Wealth does not have to be monetary in the sense that knowledge gained by an individual over the years through their education, training and experience could be counted as wealth, hence the term “wealth of knowledge”.
In the nearly 50 years I have been working in the water utilities there has been many people that have mentored or taught me the things I needed to know to do my job and to advance in my career. These people took their time to pass on their experiences to me to help me understand my job. Through their dedication and effort, I was able to avoid the mistakes they made and gain from their experiences. This was their legacy, the wealth of knowledge they were able to pass down to me.
In turn as I progressed in my career, I felt I owed my fellow operators the same consideration that was given to me by my mentors and supervisors. So how could I or would I do this?
Well it all started without me even realizing it. The first time I showed the “new guy” or trainee how to perform a task I unknowingly began that effort. As you continued to work with that person, they became more familiar with their job and begin to be a productive part of your work group. You helped them study for their exams and congratulated them when they were successful in passing their tests and becoming certified. There is a special satisfaction in knowing you helped them succeed.
As time goes on you see many successes, some of which you were directly involved with or in many cases, successes of new guys growing from the mentoring given to them by the ones you mentored.
But a legacy of knowledge is wealth that can be passed on to a multitude of worthy people. You can pass this wealth on to others even beyond your work place by teaching in the classroom. Teaching in the classroom is no different than teaching and mentoring the single new guy on the job. When we pass on our knowledge to help people grow and succeed the number of ears listening does not change the message. You can present a subject at a Regional meeting to help your fellow operators get CEUs or teach a class at a Regional or State Short School.
So, let me say this. Your wealth of knowledge can be passed on to others that are worthy and deserving of these jewels. Someone during your career took the time to invest in your success and therefore passing on their legacy. Pay this forward by passing on your legacy to the ones that are the future of our industry. Without doing this your wealth of knowledge will never luster and will lose value in the ages of time.
As we move forward this year there are some items to focus on as goals for 2020. First, we are moving forward with getting our training manuals and classroom visual aids put together that will represent our training programs in a professional manner with FW&PCOA designed programs. We are near completion for our Wastewater Collection Manual and are moving forward for Stormwater C and B, Utility Maintenance, Customer Service and Backflow. Building this training library is a demonstration of how the FW&PCOA continues to lead the State of Florida in operator training.
Our on-line training program continues to strive to provide quality training to the operators in the State. We have added a Class “B” Water Operator and a Class “B” Wastewater Operator online course approve by FDEP for prerequisite for exam qualification. These courses were developed from the ground up by one of our member Scott Ruland and is a demonstration of the quality of our training programs.
We are working with FWEA on an initiative to provide Utility Maintenance Training utilizing the FW&PCOA training program that could be offered to their membership.
Mike Darrow is chairing a committee set up at the request of the Potable Reuse Committee to provide an opinion statement from the FW&PCOA for the development of operator qualifications, training and certification for Potable Reuse. Mike will need input from all the membership to make sure that what we propose will protect the certified operators in Florida and provide a vehicle for the advance of operators as we move forward with the ever pressing need to find safe and protected water sources. I encourage all members to do some investigation into “direct and indirect potable water reuse”. I plan on provide a C Factor article dedicated to direct potable reuse in the near future.
Well, that’s it for this C Factor, looking forward to the new year with prosperity for all.