Transitions Bring Challenges, Fresh Opportunities
A little about me for those who have not had the pleasure (or misfortune, depending on how you look at it) of meeting me yet! I grew up in Montana on my family’s ranch where we raised cows, grain, and hay. I have a BS in Water Quality Technology and an MBA in Management. I have worked for the City of Bozeman Water Treatment Plant since 2003, where I slowly moved up through the ranks to my current role as Superintendent. I was a founding member of the Northwest Membrane Operator Association and three-term President. I’ve also been on the AMTA Board of Directors since 2015 and served as a Vice President for the last few years.
I would like to extend a huge thanks to Chris Owen and Brent Alspach for being great role models as Presidents of AMTA. Chris had an unprecedented time in office and guided us through some tough decisions. I also want to thank the water and wastewater plant operators for continuing to show up to work every day throughout the pandemic. You have showed resiliency and dedication. All those who support them are also essential. The consultants, vendors, manufacturers, and utility support staff are critical to water and wastewater plant operators.
The last year has been tough on everyone. Tough times can sometimes define an organization. Some struggle greatly, while others come out stronger due to their vision and resiliency. Everyone in the industry has had to take a long hard look at many things over the past year thanks to COVID. Many of us are asked to do more with less. Opportunities or necessity to improve efficiency, save money or improve product has become evident. People are pushed out of their comfort zones and routines, not knowing what to expect both personally and professionally. This brings about questions, opportunities, and fresh ideas. Change and uncertainty are hard, but they foster ingenuity and outside of the box thinking. If you cannot overcome challenges and adapt to new realities, you remain stuck in the old ways of conducting business and you struggle. This does not allow you to flourish in a new reality. To flourish you have to take calculated risks. All of us can think of at least one example of doing exactly that in the last year. I bet each one of us asks whether the benefits outweigh the costs.
For AMTA, we have been doing this. Transitions to new administrations are never easy. It brings fresh ideas and the opportunity to take calculated risks. Previous administrators served AMTA well for many years and helped us have a solid position to be able to take risks and venture into the uncertainty with confidence. As we were forced to cancel or postpone in-person events, we had to find new ways to reach our members. We dove headfirst into webinars last summer to continue to provide members with training opportunities. We learned some valuable lessons that will contribute greatly to future offerings. The pandemic gave us the impetus to broaden our horizons and move beyond solely in-person events. It also gave us time to rethink how we conduct business and how to remain relevant without in-person events. Fresh ideas, new opportunities, and asking ourselves: is this really the best way to do it? all came to be. We weighed the benefits against the costs, we made tough decisions and we grew to where we are today.
While we look forward to in–person events and networking again in the near future, we will continue to offer content to our members through webinars and other virtual offerings. If you have an idea for how AMTA can better engage with members, please feel free to reach out to me.