Streamline - Summer 2017 - 25

The Value of VRWA
BY DONNA J. LAWSON, TRAINING SPECIALIST

that federal funding under the new Trump administration is set to be cut. How it
will affect the EPA training program and the Rural Development program remains to be seen but
the handwriting on the wall doesn't look good. National Rural Water Association has asked the
individual state member associations for real examples or stories of how they have had an impact on
the members they serve. So this means that my boss has asked each and every one of VRWA's staff
for help in getting examples of how we have helped or provided assistance to some of our members.
IT'S NO SECRET

If you ask me
what I like
most about
my job, I'll
immediately
tell you that
I like helping
people. It
really is the
greatest job
in the world.
It's more
than a job
actually, it's
a privilege.

Our current programs require that our wastewater techs, circuit riders and training specialists
report a "significant contact" on a regular basis.
The significant contact must have details of the
system, how the individual assisted the system
and of course how much money VRWA assistance saved the system. The monetary amount is
mostly an estimated figure, sometimes based on
engineering fees for technical consulting or how
much leak detection might cost if an independent
contractor was called in. But I've always thought
the real value of VRWA is more subtle than that.
If you ask me what I like most about my job,
I'll immediately tell you that I like helping people.
It really is the greatest job in the world. It's more
than a job actually, it's a privilege. I've had some
of the best times in my life being onsite at a plant
and helping a system with whatever they needed
as best as I could help them.
I've been onsite tutoring people who were getting ready for an exam. I've stayed late to do
so and went to a person's home to continue the
session when his shift ended at the water plant.
The extra effort was worth it when he called

late one Friday evening as I was dragging my
luggage up the steps to let me know that he had
passed his exam.
When Virginia adopted VELAP under DCLS
to have all wastewater labs be certified to run
permit testing, I helped many small systems attain
certification status. It was a steep learning curve
for me, but everything I learned I used to help the
next system. I spent many hours onsite writing
lab manuals, SOPs and corrective action plans
for systems that couldn't do it themselves.
I've helped systems save money by feeding
chemicals correctly, providing information on
products and vendors, conducting much-needed
training classes and of course, keeping them in
the know with news of changes in the water and
wastewater industry. VRWA provides the "hey,
you!" guy to help with whatever an operator or
member might need.
After eight years as a wastewater tech and
almost a year as a training specialist, the most
important thing I've done to serve the membership is to just listen. Yes, I know that a VRWA
employee spends an inordinate amount of time
talking, but the real story is to be able to listen
to what is being said. Listening is what leads to
learning, understanding and friendship. It's what
allows VRWA to be invited time and time again
back on site so that we can be helpful. By listening to what the issues are and what the operator
wants or needs to talk about, real communication
takes place.
It's difficult to put a monetary value on most of
the contacts I've made and even harder to quantify
the lives I've impacted. Hopefully, VRWA as well
as the other state associations will survive the
tough economic times ahead. As Albert Einstein
said, "Try not to become a man of success, but
rather try to become a man of value."
www.vrwa.org

25


http://www.vrwa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Summer 2017

From the President: 2017 Legislative Efforts
From the Executive Director: Give Us Another Drum Roll Please…
2017 VRWA Conference Highlights
Locating Plastic Pipe
The Value of VRWA
Portable Ladder Safety
The Chesapeake Bay
These Boots Are Made For...What?
RUS-Funded Projects: New Requirements
SOPs: The First Step to Sustainable Utilities
Throwing My Loop: The Horse Trailer with the Broken Heart (Part Two)
VRWA Member Corner
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Benefits for VRWA Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Intro
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover1
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover2
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 3
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 4
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 5
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 6
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 7
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 8
Streamline - Summer 2017 - From the President: 2017 Legislative Efforts
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 10
Streamline - Summer 2017 - From the Executive Director: Give Us Another Drum Roll Please…
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 2017 VRWA Conference Highlights
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 13
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 14
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 15
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 16
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 17
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 18
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 19
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 20
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 21
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Locating Plastic Pipe
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 23
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 24
Streamline - Summer 2017 - The Value of VRWA
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Portable Ladder Safety
Streamline - Summer 2017 - The Chesapeake Bay
Streamline - Summer 2017 - These Boots Are Made For...What?
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 29
Streamline - Summer 2017 - RUS-Funded Projects: New Requirements
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 31
Streamline - Summer 2017 - SOPs: The First Step to Sustainable Utilities
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 33
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 34
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Throwing My Loop: The Horse Trailer with the Broken Heart (Part Two)
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 36
Streamline - Summer 2017 - VRWA Member Corner
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 38
Streamline - Summer 2017 - eLearning Benefits
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Membership Application
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Benefits for VRWA Members
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 42
Streamline - Summer 2017 - VRWA Committees
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 44
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 46
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover3
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0119
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0418
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0317
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0217
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0117
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0416
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0316
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0216
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0116
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0415
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0315
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0215
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0115
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0414
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0314
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0214
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0114
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0413
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0313
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0213
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/VRWQ0113
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/VRWQ0412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/VRWQ0312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/VRWQ0212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/VRWQ0112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/VRWQ0411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/VRWQ0311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/VRWQ0211
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com