Stephen Sanders is a certified Water and Wastewater operator living in central New York. He has nearly 19 years of experience in the industry. During that time he has worked at several drinking water and wastewater facilities throughout NY. He has worked for public, private, and not-for-profit entities. Currently, he is the Director and Head Trainer for the Environmental Training Center at Morrisville State College where he does precertification operator training. He has been teaching at the ETC for the last 9 yrs. He serves on the state operator certification governance council and on WEF’s recently formed Diversity, inclusion, and Equity taskforce.
- A professional is someone who isn’t just collecting a check – a professional is involved.
- Diversity needs to be managed and we have to get a lot more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Dream Teams. Just read it, then change how you see diversity and work at it.
[7:33] What is your connection to operators?
- Stephen does operator training and sees 500-600 operators per year. This career in water is multiple jobs down their career path.
- Do operators want a voice? Yes, if they want to be a professional. They need to be enc
[10:14] What is the best message we can offer to operators see the value in being a professional?
- Education. Leadership needs to recognize the value of your field staff workers. Leadership in utilities needs to understand these individuals are professionals.
[11:40] When should we start talking to students about operations as a career path?
- Middle school to early high school.
- Can’t just look for operators, need to be willing to train an operator. Need to create the pipeline of workers to fill these roles.
[14:10] What is the biggest industry blind spot?
- We need to answer why we are trying to have more diversity. Do we value people and different types of people?
- We don’t just want to check the box – we need these voices.
- We serve real human beings.
- We can encourage one another through storytelling and what it feels like to be out of place. Leaders need to tell stories and influence the organization.
[18:35] What are some ways we can encourage empathy?
- We sharpen each other. We need to communicate the value of diverse perspectives.
[20:15] Dream Teams by Shane Snow – what stood out to you most?
- The part of our brain that puts up the red flag is unconscious; therefore, we have to put in a conscience effort to resist that urge.
- As human beings we are hardwired to be biased and resist those who look different from us. We see each other as threats.
- We have been robbed of our ability to have disagreements without “hating” each other. We need to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s our obligation as a water sector. It’s about what we are trying to accomplish together.
- Feedback comes from wanting to help someone – it’s not about a personal attack on them.
[27:09] Discussion about the importance of Wu-Tang and the power of diversity.
- Diversity has to be managed – it’s not a free for all.
- Just because its not comfortable doesn’t mean you should avoid it.
- “if it ain’t rough, it ain’t right.”
[31:06] The Lighting Round
- Dream Teams – Shane Snow
- Get out in the morning with a walk. Need to have a clean desk. Mind the calendar.
- The golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Dream Teams – Shane Snow
- Radical Candor – Kim Scott
- Creativity Inc., – Ed Catmull
If you’re a water utility looking to better manage the water you love, then you’ll want to talk to the experts at Master Meter. They understand that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Smart water management begins with accurate measurement. Account for every drop produced and delivered because utilities’ progression towards smart cities and IoT begins here. Master Meter is ready to deliver you game-changing results across finance, customer service, and utility operations. They offer an array of products to meet your utility’s needs. To determine which smart water solution is right for you, visit mastermeter.com. You can also download a copy of their award-winning guide to communicating the value of water to customers here.
Please consider rating the podcast with 5 stars and leaving a one- or two-sentence review in iTunes or on Stitcher. This helps tremendously in bringing the podcast to the attention of others. We give a shoutout to everyone who rates the podcast with 5 stars in future episodes.
Give us some love on Twitter by tagging us @THE_H2duO or by using the #WaterInRealLifePodcast
If you know someone you think would benefit, please spread the word by using the share buttons on this page.
Thank you for sharing some of your time with us. We know how precious those minutes are. Share your story, you never know who needs to hear it and remember, “Those who tell the stories, rule the world.”