Streamline - Winter 2011 - (Page 7)
BY MARK ESTES, VRWA PRESIDENT
Can You Hear God Laugh?
I RECALL AN article from several years ago that was printed in a national newspaper in which a middle class journeyman lived in a Los Angeles suburb on a hillside subdivision filled with row after row of small homes. The type of neighborhood was typical middle class, and the geography allowed you to see everything in the neighbor’s yard below you. Somehow, in his mind, he had determined that with the help of several heavy gauge weather balloons and a couple of helium tanks from the shop, he would be able to create his own small scale airship. He inflated the balloons, anchored a balloon to each corner of a lounge chair, seated himself and placed a pellet gun across his lap just in case his math was in error. His intent was to release the anchor ropes and float upward and just high enough to see what was going on in the neighbor’s yards just above him.
Whenever my careful planning and insistent forethought turn episodic, I tenuously hold on to what I have learned from the mission’s ﬁeld: “If you want to hear God laugh, just tell Him your plans!”
He released the anchor ropes anticipating a gradual rise and modest ascension. However, that was not the case and his chair began to rise so fast that he did not have enough reaction time to load the pellet gun and to shoot (deflate) the balloons before reaching a dangerous altitude. He was steadily climbing. An air traffic controller at LAX airport spotted the rising “aircraft,” immediately placed all LA air traffic in a holding pattern and placed a telephone call to the authorities. After several hours, the helium began to dissipate, and the man gradually returned to ground several hundred feet from his home near an open parking area. He was immediately detained, read his rights and remained surrounded by law enforcement from several jurisdictions. His very first statement to the news media that described his intent and motive was, “I could not just sit there anymore.” In our business, we cannot afford to just “sit there.” You are either moving forward or falling backward – progression or regression – there is no middle ground. We can either embrace change or we can continue to revel effortlessly in our familiar daily routines. We should appraise our demeanor, being careful not to immortalize our past accomplishments simply by refusing to press forward. Our thinking needs to be flexible and dynamic, open to changes in the economy, our customers, workforce and culture. Every problem presents itself with a unique set of circumstances and challenges. I encourage you to embrace and cultivate every situation so as to invoke forward-thinking coupled with public diplomacy. Whenever my careful planning and
insistent forethought turn episodic, I tenuously hold on to what I have learned from the mission’s field: “If you want to hear God laugh, just tell Him your plans!” VRWA staff and board members are now in our busiest and most critical time of year. Legislative sessions have begun and our annual conference is just around the corner. My second term as your president will soon come to a close. Our staff, board and association have faced many unexpected fiscal challenges and legislative hurdles. Over the past two years, we have been able to partner with VML, VUPS and the SCC to promote underground damage prevention with a focus on municipal utility operators. We moved the fall expo to Fishersville, and attendance has increased each year. VRWA legislative visits succeeded in delaying the tenant/landlord legislation that would ultimately reduce our ability to collect on delinquent accounts. There have been by-law changes, staff changes and funding changes, new interagency relationships and strategic emergency planning sessions. VRWA also has a new logo. We have been busy! I have been very blessed to serve as president of Virginia Rural Water for the past two years. I have met so many wonderful people in Virginia and other states during my term. It has been an honor to represent our organization and to work for each of you. VRWA is YOUR organization and I encourage each of you to get involved and to participate in VRWA activities and events. God bless, and I will see you at conference in a few weeks!
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Winter 2011
From the President
From the Executive Director
Farm Tours for Source Water Protection
Preparing Yourself for an Emergency Response
One Step Ahead: Tappahannock Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade
Improving Virginia Waters – VACS
Variable Frequency Drives Can Save You Money
City of Emporia Water Plant Upgrade
The Woodstock Wastewater Treatment Plant
Bird Contamination and Your Water Tank
VRWA 24th Annual Exposition Preview
Throwing My Loop
eLearning Benefi ts
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefi ts Are?
Welcoming New Members
Board Of Directors
Index To Advertisers/Ad.Com
Streamline - Winter 2011