Rural Water - Quarter 3, 2011 - (Page 26)

“What’s in a NAME?” Certified Water Treatment Specialist OR Water Operator? Certified Environmental Treatment Technician OR Wastewater Operator? BY SAM WADE, DEPUTY CEO, NRWA “Job titles are an important part of our work lives. In many ways they define us as professionals and become the measure for how others perceive us and behave in our presence. They are also indicators of our authority and expertise and our climb up the career ladder.” – LeadFormix THE TERMINOLOGY USED today plays a key role in how the public and the next generation workforce views our industry. The term “operator” (not that there is anything wrong with it) was sufficient back in the ‘70s, but does not portray the complexity, skills and knowledge required to fill these positions today. The water and wastewater industry has changed dramatically. Today, utility personnel have major responsibilities for complying with a host of complex federal and state regulatory requirements. These requirements have personal, as well as legal, ramifications to the person holding the license. The technology systems that personnel have to be proficient with today were not available in the ‘70s. 26 • Third Quarter 2011 The public turns the tap or pulls a handle and the water flows. For the most part they are blind to the skills required to provide a safe quality drinking water supply. Likewise, on the wastewater side, they fail to recognize that the staff running complex waste treatment facilities is the first line of defense in protecting our lakes, streams and source waters. Not that there is nothing wrong with the title of operator, but it does not project the professional personnel who fill those positions in today’s utility environment. Changing an industry title is a long process but not uncommon. The best example is from garbage man to sanitation engineer. The title of art director has

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 3, 2011

FROM THE PRESIDENT
WILL YOU SURVIVE THE NIGHT OF THE BABY BOOMER EXODUS?
A BOARD PERSPECTIVE:
HOW TO AVOID THE NONPROFIT LEADERSHIP GAP
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
ENGINEERING CONTRACTS 101 – PART TWO
REGULATORY UPDATE
THROWING MY LOOP
INDEX TO ADVERTISERS/ ADVERTISERS.COM
FROM THE CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 3, 2011

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