When it comes to education and training, webinars, websites and textbooks are great, but there is one source of information that is especially invaluable: the insights and advice a water treatment industry veteran can pass on to new employees.
According to Christine Fletcher, owner of Secondwind Water Systems in Manchester, N.H., transferring that information from veteran employees to new hires has been one of the most challenging aspects of employee education over the years.
“Ten years ago, it felt like this arduous process. The poor sales guys couldn’t figure out what to sell when, and they always had to call the office for help,” said Fletcher, who was featured on Water Quality Products’ website as the February 2014 Dealer of the Month . “It was just a matter of getting all the knowledge that was in the heads of old timers and getting it organized in such a way that a new timer could access it.”
To achieve this, the company created “the configurator” — a compilation of the company’s rules on what to configure under different water quality situations. According to Fletcher, it has become a great way to introduce new technicians to water treatment concepts, complementing the hands-on training they also receive. (For more information on Secondwind Water Systems, visit www.wqpmag.com/second-wind .)
Passing down information to new employees within your company is just one way that water treatment industry veterans can leave their legacy with the next generation. As many water treatment professionals reach retirement, it is more important than ever to ensure that this legacy of knowledge and experience is carried on within the industry.
Another key way to leave your mark on the industry is by helping to ensure that the path is clear for the water treatment professionals to put what they have learned to use—and this means ensuring that state and federal laws and regulations keep up with water quality science and research.
There are many laws currently on the books, or pending in state legislatures, that could affect water treatment businesses adversely. One such example that has gained focus in recent years is the banning of traditional water softeners, which has been added to the books in areas of California. Another, discussed in this issue in “Champions for Change” (page 10), is a law in Delaware that requires homeowners with water treatment systems venting to septic tanks to get permission from a master plumber before selling their homes — and that leaves the water treatment companies that installed the systems liable to incurring costs to correct any issues.
In the article, author Dean Srygley, executive director of the Eastern Water Quality Assn., discusses his organization’s efforts to open up discussion with state legislators in order to ensure that the industry’s concerns are heard, and affect changes in the laws that are positive for water treatment companies. In this case, the association members found some success — a variety of revisions were made to the state’s septic and wetland laws.
Each state and region has unique water quality concerns, resulting in a wide range of laws and regulations. If you have concerns about the laws governing water treatment and conditioning systems in your area, you have the power to affect change — getting in touch with your local legislators is a great first step. The Water Quality Assn. or your regional water quality association has resources to help guide you through this process.
Young or old, all water treatment professionals have a unique array of experiences in this industry that could be helpful to others. Sharing your knowledge, and passing on a positive legacy, is the only way to ensure that this industry stays strong. What will your legacy be? E-mail us at [email protected]  and share your thoughts.