One of country singer Sara Evan’s hits is the song “Perfect.” During the course of the song, she tells the man she loves… “every little piece of the puzzle doesn’t always fit perfectly…”
Imagine. The woman of your dreams declaring that she is more than okay with your imperfections: count me in! Actually, I am in. Better. My woman has given me “celebrity dispensation” to canoodle Sara Evans in the event I ever have the opportunity. In return, I’ve given “celebrity dispensation” for a few of the professional wrestlers on the WWE circuit. So we pretend.
Sara Evans open-mindedness notwithstanding, there is a dangerous demand for perfection in our society. Including wastewater design. Millions and millions of US dollars are spent building treatment plants so they are equipped to take on any number of improbable conditions.
Over the objections of my lawyer wife, I’m going to let everyone in on a secret: we, at the Water Planet company are imperfect. Our designs are similarly imperfect. It’s the way we roll.
And then some.
When we work with treatment plant personnel, we don’t pretend to offer perfect solutions. We find effective, practical ways of getting the job done. Because we accept mistakes as a way of optimization, we are flexible, we modify, and we improve on our designs as they are installed. In other words, we clean up after ourselves.
Our approach – we think – provides clients with a better product. We get things done with huge environmental and fiscal savings. Environmental savings are realized because less needless stuff is built and operated. Ditto for the monetary savings. We find it a more rewarding experience for the treatment plant staff too because we work together.
Right now we are working on a number of projects. After I clear everything with the appropriate municipalities, I can provide details. For now, let me summarize what we are doing to improve nutrient removal at three treatment plants.
At one we are cycling the mechanical aerators on and off to provide alternating ammonia-removal and nitrate-removal; the latest total-N was 5.5 mg/L. Not bad for a 1970s vintage treatment plant with no intention of ever being used for ammonia removal, let alone total-N removal. Capital cost: $0.
At another we have shut off one of the 75 HP blowers and cut the internal recycle rate to one-fourth of what it was. The carbon footprint has been slashed by reducing electrical consumption (the dollar savings are outrageous) and effluent total-N is down 50%. The cost of improvements? $4,000 for SCADA programming.
At plant number three – the most archaic of them all – we are using the gravity thickener to denitrify. Although the plant was (until we got involved) scheduled to be mothballed, effluent nitrogen is now around 5 mg/L. Total cost of improvements: Zero.
In none of these cases did we provide clients with perfect solutions. Good solutions, for sure, but not perfect. At each of these plants there is more we can do to make things better. As resources become available, I’m confident we will. In fact, for one of the above, we are closing a deal to oversee a complete overhaul of the existing treatment plant at a $40 million savings over the construction of an all-new “perfect” treatment plant.
Thanks for reading.
This week I was stuck in a traffic jam. It was caused by a DOT crew filling holes on I-95. One lane was closed. Because it is an interstate, three trucks with flashers were being used to safely force cars to move out of the lane being repaired. No problem with that. One guy was watching the worker’s back so nobody would run him over, another person was driving a dump truck with cold patch, and one guy was spreading it on the road. No problem with any of that. Except, for this. Hundreds of people were backed up for one or two miles while one guy, one shovel full at a time, filled holes on the interstate.
Really. There has to be a better way.
If nobody has invented a truck that can apply cold patch, tamp, and roll while on the move – get on it. Surely, somebody can come up with something like a line painting truck, get a patent, make a million bucks, and make lots of drivers happy!
The problem, I think, is this. The big bosses at the DOT don’t get it. They don’t get that their job is NOT filling holes, their job is moving traffic. That they dispatch crews to fill holes for one reason: so that the traffic lanes are better and traffic can flow.
Later in the week, the New York Post reported:
“Municipal officials in England refused to pick up a granny’s garbage because they claimed it included plucked garden weeds that were too dirty. The officials told the 74-year-old woman that the weeds she put in the trash had too much soil on them.”
Aye-yi-yi. We all get so caught up in what we do that we sometimes forget why we are doing it.
Not to poke anybody in the eye with a stick, but this includes us in the wastewater collection, treatment and disposal business. As I wrote in a not-too-long ago blog, our business (so I believe) is a community service business. Yet, we – like the British trash haulers – keep coming up with ever more rules to impose on our customers before we will take their sewage.
I’m talking about FOG regulations; fats, oils and grease. More and more sewer authorities are requiring customers to remove FOG in order to make their sewage clean enough to go into the sewer. Count me among the few in our business who object. Before cursing my name… I want to say this. I have more than intellectual familiarity with what fats, oils and greases do to sewers, pumping station wet wells, pumps, force mains, headworks, and digesters. I have cleaned them. I have smelled the smell. I have held the goo. I have dealt with the backups. These were not pleasant experiences.
But. Since I believe I’m in the service business, I consider it my job to make it easy and convenient for people to get rid of their wastes. And, to do so affordably. Even when it makes things unpleasant for me.
Furthermore, as something of a nitrogen removal expert, I’ve found that FOG is sirloin steak for denitrifying bacteria. The stuff stimulates nitrate removal. It’s good for biological phosphorus removal, too. I consider it somewhat crazy to take out the FOG only to buy alcohol or other carbon sources to feed back into the plant.
To my friends in the traffic business and to those in the solid waste business… I say this: all non-hazardous wastes should be accepted as trash and road crews should patch roadways in such a way that keeps traffic backups to an absolute minimum. Both, i believe, are organizations that provide an invaluable service; a service that taxpayers want.
Thanks for reading.
Like a ninja warrior, Spring has, for the past month, been creeping up on the Northeastern United States. This Winter, nature took a pass on the time-worn tradition of providing us with a January thaw. We got our first look-see at the frozen ground sometime mid-February. Only to get more snow. And, then more again…
About the time the first robins appeared in March, the calendar claimed Spring to begin. Then, you guessed it, more snow.
I have the good fortune of making a daily drive by a salt marsh. There, I’ve seen some encouragement that Spring may actually be coming. Two weeks ago I noticed that the osprey had returned to their nest. Around the same time, I spied two egrets (ironically they were snowy egrets). After which it snowed. Of course. But… egrets continue to arrive and I’ve been spotting Canadian geese flying high in a northerly direction.
Outside the window where I chow down my breakfast gruel, I today watched a couple of male house finches (or purple finches, I can’t tell the difference) tussle over the right to impregnate a female. At ground level, the daffodils are in bloom.
Hey! Maybe Spring is really here… The very best signal of the end of winter came to me yesterday.
Greeting me as I entered a treatment plant were a series of space heaters lined up like dominoes. They had been taken out of the Town’s pump stations and were being put away for the summer. That and the annual startup of disinfection equipment (UVs and chlorination) are – to us in the biz – the true harbingers of Spring. Are they not?
Which brings me to Washington, DC.
In performing their duty to represent the interests of the population, Congress has elected to not do the one thing they really need to do each year: fund government. Since October 1, 2010 – the beginning of the current federal fiscal year – the government has operated without a budget. This week, our leaders couldn’t agree on one more “CR.” That’s “continuing resolution” in Washington-speak.
As anyone who slogs through my rants knows… I’m politically partisan. But I ain’t taking no sides on this one. Nope. I say pox on ‘em all: Democrats, Republicans, Independents, too. Instead of doing the ONE THING they need to do, our elected officials have attempted to make it the other guy’s fault for not getting the job done.
Paraphrasing the respected philosopher Bugs Bunny, I say this: “what a bunch of maroons!”
Actually, I should celebrate. For, indeed Spring has arrived! In Washington, the nation’s most accomplished bloviates are chirping like songbirds.
But. As always, they leave the dirty work to others. Please join me by rolling up your sleeves as I fight that problematic sludge press one more time…
Thanks for reading.
Notwithstanding my oftentimes off-the-mark rants, I am all for an end to hunger, conflict, and environmental destruction. I am, after all, a child of the ‘60s. Kumbaya.
I am also a capitalist.
On my fifty-nine plus laps around the sun, I have observed that this planet’s most prosperous economies contribute far more to global peace and environmental harmony than do the less well off nations. Prosperity, not Big Talk gets the job done; the disasters known as Cuba and the Soviet Union being two examples.
For people to get along, for mankind to enjoy a more splendid environment (natural and man-made), people need meaningful employment. Not idle work; jobs with meaning. With a good job someone can provide housing, health care, and the goods and services necessary for a good life. Without a decent job, to get these things requires a handout – a stop-gap “fix,” but not a healthy long term strategy. To get along, people need decent jobs that pay enough for the individual to provide for his/her family. When economic conditions are good, things work out a lot better: for us and our planet.
Such, anyway, is what I’ve observed. Bill Clinton in his 1992 presidential campaign, nailed it with “it’s the economy, stupid.” The notion certainly served him well.
Which brings me to California.
The January 24th edition of Engineering News Record reports that the bureaucracy of our nation’s closest-to-bankrupt-state has come up with a new drinking water standard that is 1/5,000 of an existing Federal standard. The 0.02 ppb hexavalent chromium standard is lower than the current detection level. Meaning, nobody can really measure if one is complying or not. First order of business: new lab testing procedures must be developed between now and California’s proposed 2013 implementation date. One-third of the state’s groundwater supplies are believed to contain hexavalent chromium. Once people can measure which one-third of the water supplies they are, new treatment technologies will need to be developed to bring them into compliance. And, installed. And, operated and maintained. All of this is to be done by 2013.
Call me a crotchety old cynic, but unless the new drinking water standards are forgotten about (and soon), I predict that this well-intended effort will make things in California just a wee bit worse than they are now.
This is not to say that better water quality always costs more.
Here at the Water Planet company, we are proud of the work we are doing to remove nutrients from wastewater effluents while actually saving O&M costs. We have worked with a bunch of municipalities to achieve better environmental protection at lower cost. Right now we are working at two wastewater plants in Plainfield, Connecticut. Two, very old plants. We’ve doubled the nitrogen removal at both. The cost? Less than zero. The mechanical aerators at one plant are running intermittently and therefore saving electricity and the sludge production at both has been reduced.
A win-win-win situation: better water quality, ratepayer money is saved, and more sustainable treatment results. All with zero tax dollars being spent. Take that California!
Thanks for reading.
Personally, I find most everything associated with the Oscar Awards a bore. But, I do like some of the movies that TCM is showing in their “31 Days of the Oscars” series.
Among them, “Stand and Deliver.” It’s an 80’s vintage film about a dorky guy who quits his corporate job to teach math in a high school that is so lousy it is at risk of losing its accreditation. The high school is in an East Los Angeles barrio. Many of the students are losers, from families of losers. But Mr. Jaime Escalante is such an optimist, is so committed to excellence, and is such an incredibly good teacher that within a few years Garfield High has more students passing the Calculus AP test than any other school in California. It is a great story. If you haven’t seen the movie, rent it.
Another movie moment. In “Dumb and Dumber” Jim Carey asks the beautiful high-brow redhead he is obsessing over what she thinks the odds are that she would date someone like him. After she dismisses him with a “maybe one in a million” answer, he shouts for joy saying something like, “so there IS a chance!”
My parents grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Dad in coastal Oregon. Mom in a small town across Puget Sound from Seattle. More than once as a kid, my parents drove me and my three brothers from our Kansas home to Washington to visit my maternal grandparents. One day, riding the ferry into Seattle to eat dinner at our favorite restaurant, Ivar’s Acres of Clams, my father told us a story about the restaurant owner, Ivar Haglund. Before becoming a successful restaurateur (among other things), Ivar used to ride the ferry himself. At the time (pre-Space Needle), the Smith Tower dominated the Seattle skyline. Ivar was ridiculed for telling people that someday he would own the Smith Tower. Until, of course, the day came when he took ownership.
Personality-wise I may be more Jim Carey’s “Dumb” character than Jamie Escalante or Ivar Haglund, but I too am chasing a dream. It won’t get me any glory, but I’ll feel fulfilled when the following becomes the rule, and not the exception: process changes are embraced as the first order of business in making municipal wastewater treatment plant upgrades; not multi-million dollar capital upgrades.
I’m going to keep pounding the pavement, mailing my postcards, and posting my blogs because I believe that eventually the idea will take hold. Until it does, I ask the more creative among you who work at municipal wastewater treatment plants to think about how you might use existing equipment differently to improve treatment, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus removal. Learn, get advice, experiment, optimize.
This, I can promise you. It is very rewarding to exceed expectations. Superintendents I hang with get a thrill out of “besting” the design engineers. And, it is no small secret, that I do too.
Thanks for reading.
Notwithstanding the fact that 99% of the brainiacs in this country say so… I flat out reject the notion that economic prosperity pollutes the environment. I do NOT think that we Americans should feel bad about killing our “fragile” planet. Quite the contrary, I think we should be proud of leading the way in making the world a better place.
When I was younger and smarter I agreed with the eggheads. I was a believer in Paul Ehrlich and his book The Population Bomb. As a 70s college “intellectual” I confided in my chums that I didn’t want to bring any more children into the world; that it would be wrong to further despoil our fragile planet. Now, after contributing two pretty outstanding additions to the planet (if I say so myself), I find that way of thinking to be hooey.
I ask those who make the argument that successful economies are causing the ruination of our planet to take a long historical look backwards. It is, I know, a lot more sporting to project “what ifs” into the future to come up with disastrous environmental scenarios, but really…
Life is better on this here planet than it ever was. Sure, there are environmental consequences: short term consequences. We learn from our mistakes. Our planet, time has proven, ain’t that fragile.
Disagree? State your case.
Maybe you would trade in your comfortable life for one of a hunter-gatherer with no heat, no ac, no car, no mattress. A life with biting bugs and nothing but rocks to lug at hungry bears. I’ve spent many a weekend giving nature a go. I like the out of doors. Very, very much. But, I sure like coming inside when the weekend is over. My industrialized society provides me with a comfortable life, thank you very much.
As humans, we owe it to future generations to provide a sustainable planet. Otherwise, as a species we are doomed. Others may argue, but, I submit that we are doing an ever better job of sustaining the human race. There are far more people on this planet today living far better than ever before. And, nowhere better than in the developed world. Here, we live longer and better than ever. Not bad for a bunch of rich polluters, huh?
There is no argument that societies – as they progress from agrarian to industrial – pollute. Some really bad pollution happens along the way. For a while. And then things get better. Society invests in the environment, because it can afford to. Because it is in people’s best interest to do so. As we Americans get ever richer, we care ever more about the environment in which we live and we spend resources making it more hospitable. Like what we do for a living: make polluted water clean. Across the US of A 10,000 municipal wastewater treatment plants, maybe as many as 20,000, convert gazillions of gallons of sewage into incredibly clean water every day.
After the soil erosion of the 1930s, the “Dust Bowl” era, farming practices changed such that more food is produced per acre with less environmental impact. Today, in Africa, villagers in need of wood to fuel their cooking fires burn every living plant within walking distance. It is a lose-lose situation. Bad economy, bad environment. Someday, these villagers’ offspring will – we hope – have access to better food, fuel, and, eventually, a better natural environment. Someday, they will live better and the environment will return to a healthier, more natural state.
My New Year’s resolution is this. I’m going to continue to be an environmental innovator: to make it possible to make clean water ever more affordable. And, I’m going to enjoy the good life I am so fortunate to enjoy and pass along to my children. I’m not only blessed to be a part of a culture that is making the world better for my favorite species – mankind – as well as for the planet as a whole. I’m proud to be a part of it. And, because I believe in the organization, I’ll promote Water for People; an organization that knows how to help developing societies get access to clean water so they can live better in harmony with their environment.
Thanks for reading.
Here’s a ridiculous story.
A guy from EPA recently spoke to a gathering of Connecticut wastewater treatment plant operators. A nice guy, best as I could tell. But, as he was telling us that the Federal government – in its all seeing, all knowing manner – is implementing new runoff regulations to keep the turbidity in the runoff from construction sites to some crazy number, I felt myself start to doze.
Then, being the astute Fed, the speaker awoke me and livened up the presentation with a series of photographs of the Warwick, Rhode Island wastewater treatment plant. Pictures that were taken after a huge flood; the aftermath of a 500 year rainfall event.
I’ve been to the Warwick plant before. More than once. It is a nice facility with an excellent staff. I once ran the nearby Cranston, RI treatment plant. Joel Burke and I used to trade friendly barbs about our incompetences (mine, not his). More recently, he and I talked about phosphorus removal. It seems that EPA – in its all seeing, all knowing manner – is requiring Warwick to reduce effluent phosphorus to 0.2 mg/L or less.
Joel, his boss Janine Burke (interesting coincidence of names: no relation), and his more than capable staff have been able to get the phosphorus down to 0.5 and less, but not quite to the level EPA wants. EPA, being all seeing, all knowing, insists that Warwick put more than $10 million taxpayer dollars into reducing the amount of phosphorus going out the pipe by five pounds per day.
Warwick, having lost the battle, is making the ridiculous investment. Meanwhile, along the one mile stretch of river that lies between the Warwick outfall and Narragansett Bay, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware stores dispense thousands of pounds of phosphorus annually. The phosphorus is purchased by homeowners who spread it on lawns alongside the Pawtuxet River and Narragansett Bay.
The EPA speaker was too focused on the photos of firemen in boats herding floating equipment back to the sewer plant and photos of flooded offices to comment on the phosphorus lunacy. Instead, he proudly told us how EPA sent something like 10 people to Warwick to “help” during the flood. EPA provided fill-in lab technicians. They “assisted” Warwick by filling in for exhausted lab techs. You see, the river level got so high that the water rendered the treatment plant inoperable for weeks.
But, not to worry. EPA didn’t stand by as Warwick floundered. They had federal employees run the lab tests that documented that the plant was violating permit.
Finally, after the floods abated, and most all of the equipment was replaced, the plant began treating wastewater. You can read more about it in the January 2011 edition of TPO magazine.
Here’s what gets me. For some reason, it was okay for the plant to be out of service for months, but now that it is working (and, quite well thank you to Janine, Joel and staff), an extra $10 million needs to be spent to take out so little phosphorus than nobody but the staff of EPA will notice.
Thanks for reading.
Day of Thanks 2010
Dear Recently Elected:
As my Thanksgiving dinner bakes in my kitchen, and the delicious smell permeates the house, I’m caught up in the mood of the day. For the moment, I’m unequivocally grateful and optimistic. Notwithstanding my cynicism for all things political, today is truly a day of thanks.
Meaning, I suppose, this will be the only Polly-Anna letter you’ll be getting from me this year.
I’m writing to thank you for “putting yourself out there.” To thank you for accepting the responsibility to represent the interests of me and my neighbors. And, yes, to congratulate you on your victory. Yours is a big job. Today may be the only day I remember to say so, but I really do appreciate the job that you and all elected officials do. Thank you. Seriously.
As a parent, I’m concerned about America’s future. I care about the environment. I care about terrorists and other evil doers. I care about health care. I care about a lot of things. Mostly, I’m concerned about the state of my nation. I like living in the number one global economic powerhouse. I wish everyone in every corner of the earth had it as good as me and mine.
I’m more than a little nervous about the size of our government. With each passing year – and they are zooming by ever faster – I’m feeling ever more over-governed. I long for the frontier mentality. When did it slip away? Sometime when I was preoccupied raising children?
I know. I am so, so fortunate. I not only have a paying job, it provides me with more than enough to keep me housed and fed. Better. I’m blessed to have a job that I’m proud of. I do something that – in my egocentric mind – contributes to society.
My company, Mr. Newly Elected, works with wastewater operators like those in your community. We help them modify their wastewater plants so they make cleaner water. Our clients finance the fixing on their own; without State and Federal funds.
Our approach gets the job done better, cheaper. It’s an upsetting notion. You’d think it would be more costly for municipalities to make plant upgrades on their own. But, because the system is broken, it is a LOT cheaper for municipalities to upgrade wastewater facilities WITHOUT governmental grants and loans.
I don’t want to be a humbug this holiday season. I realize that nobody likes hearing this reality. The psychologist inside of me wants to reassure you. “Relax, my newly elected friend, this is neither yours nor your predecessor’s fault.” Please don’t spend your valuable time blaming, ignoring, or avoiding. Please, channel your energies on fixing the problem. And, while you do…
We’ll continue to save municipalities money by upgrading treatment plants as follows. Instead of changing out worn equipment with new designs, we’ll continue to modernize treatment plants by replacing old equipment with technologically superior replacement equipment and by reusing existing structures. We’ll provide our clients with most of their engineering at no cost – we work with vendors who engineer the retrofits at no cost in order to make sales.
We’ll continue to put empty and underutilized tanks into service, instead of specifying new concrete structures in order to provide multimillion dollar municipal savings. And, because they provide invaluable operator support, we will continue recommending the installation of high-tech instrumentation and computer control systems.
While you and other political leaders address the nation’s “big picture” financial issues, my coworkers and I will spend our workdays doing what we most like: working with treatment plant personnel to optimize day-to-day operations. To make clean water at minimal expense with minimal carbon footprint.
Realizing the obstacles, we offer the following promise. We’ll continue to provide clients the most effective permit compliance at the lowest cost. We’ll do so without any State and Federal funds.
Until, that is, you fix the system and make the Grants and Loans worth the expense of landing them.
Congratulations on your election. Best Wishes. And, Good Luck. Please don’t forget about us little guys. We’re the ones who put you there.
Grant Weaver, P.E.
A few months back, Ted Rulseh, Editor of TPO Magazine shared his observation that wastewater operators aren’t braggards. He wrote that we have earned the right to proudly proclaim that we “make clean water.” I liked reading that. TPO Magazine certainly does its share to promote the importance of our profession. If you haven’t, get yourself a subscription. The magazine is free.
Ted is very much on to something. Making water clean is what we do.
With a little help from our little friends…
Brad Paisley suggests a connection between clean water and sex. In his song “Water,” the lyrics “and so began my love affair with water” is followed by a visit to a Daytona Beach wet t-shirt contest.
Being the academic I am…
Today I am writing to further explore and discuss the sex – clean water connection. In doing so I hope to offend as few people as possible. After all, the reason management lets me write this blog on company time is their misguided belief that my doing so might bring in a client or two.
Like most others in this business, like Brad Paisley, my love affair with water began as a youth. Swimming. Fishing. You name it. I spent any number of my early teen hours perfecting my casting skills in the front yard of my Kansas prairie home using a Zebco spin-cast reel and rubber plug. Got pretty good at placing the plug right where I wanted. Many years later, as a college senior, I found myself taking an introductory wastewater design course. Bang! I was hooked.
Forty years later and my mind has taking me back to those Spring Breaks that my country and western buddy Brad Paisley sings of. If only… But, I digress…
Wastewater treatment plants, when you think about it, are all about sex: huge vats of 24/7 non-stop action. Billions of little wet t-shirt girl-bugs driving the boy-bugs crazy. As wastewater operators, we keep the titillation going by optimizing MLSS concentrations, F:M Ratios, DOs, MCRTs, RAS and WAS rates, among other things. To what end? We do it to provide ideal habitats for our single celled bacteria to feed, grow and repopulate. They may be too sex-crazed to realize it, but we are using them to convert our municipalities’ waste into clean water. It’s something a management consultant would call a “win-win” situation.
I have a bumper sticker on my company car that reads “No Farms No Food.” To describe what I do for a living I could print one that says “Good Sex Clean Water.” Because, if it weren’t for all the reproducing going on in those aeration tanks (or trickling filters or RBCs or whatever), we wouldn’t be making much clean water. And, TPO Magazine would have a lot less to write about. Me too.
Thanks for reading.
Of late, its been raining. Something I’ve experienced little of this summer.
Unlike Denver, where one of my three brothers lives, hereabouts we don’t much expect our summer weekends to be sunny. Nope. We usually get a lot of summer rain. But this year we’ve enjoyed a long, hot, dry summer. Perfect New England beach weather every weekend!
Last week I was out and about in the autumn rains. At one treatment plant, I picked up a young snapping turtle and moved him (or her) to safer ground. At my next stop, there were four young bullfrogs sitting inside the final clarifier. Happily. Or, so it appeared. At my third stop, I navigated my way around a painted turtle that was lumbering across the road. I enjoyed these sightings. Except for a spotted salamander hiding inside a valve pit, I haven’t seen much in the way of “herps” (reptiles or amphibians) all summer.
I didn’t think about it at the time, but the change in weather was preparing me for my trip to New Orleans. You know, swamp creatures. Ironically, NOLA was dry and cool. Absolutely beautiful weather there too!
In New Orleans, I joined over 15,000 wastewater professionals at the Water Environment Federation’s annual WEFTEC conference. Over the course of two days I walked the entire exhibit hall. Meaning, by my calculations, during my 10+ hours on the floor, I walked 3½ miles going from booth to booth. In total, there were just under 1,000 exhibitors taking up I don’t know how many acres of floor space.
Every year I get something new out of the exhibition. And I don’t mean blisters. As a small business owner, I like to visit small, niche companies and learn about their products and services. This year I found inlet screen manufacturers with decent products at a fraction of the cost of the big boys. Finding them will save two of my clients tens of thousands of dollars.
I also like to visit the big name companies’ booths and chat up their technical people. I swap business cards and make “ins” that oftentimes come in handy when – as almost always seems to be the case – something arises. This year, two of the techies offered to make visits. It will be of tremendous help if they do.
Another important part of the annual show is the Water for People fundraising event. This year my company joined some of the biggest names in the business (AECOM, Weston, CDM, CH2M Hill, and HDR) in sponsoring the event. The event was a total success. Not only did those of us involved have a great time – the River City Brass Band absolutely rocked the Howlin’ Wolf – thousands of dollars were raised. (To learn more about Water for People, click the link.)
But mostly, I immersed myself into the City of New Orleans. I stayed in the French Quarter just close enough to Bourbon Street to get the vibe without the full, frontal impact. My soon-to-be-betrothed and I walked about 6,000 miles on Sunday. We rode streetcars, we rode the ferry across the Mississippi, she shopped, and we ate Cajun food. And while we did, the Saints chalked up another victory in the Superdome.”Who dat!”
And now, it’s back to work.
Thanks for reading.