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74: Water Nerd’s Guide to Making the Water Industry Sexy to the Next Gen of the Water Workforce

Adam Tank has over 10 years of experience in the water industry with a focus on business development, software, and engineering. As the Director of Digital Transformation, he has responsibility for client success related to Transcend Design Generator Software (transcendh2o.com). He works closely with the Marketing and Software Development teams to prioritize development needs and anticipate client requests. Most recently he served as the North America Smarts Cities Director for Suez.

He previously led, and sold, a robotics spin-out of the General Electric corporation which focused on cutting edge potable water pipe rehabilitation techniques. Prior to that he served as GE Water’s Digital Water Leader, managing venture investments and creating software solutions for water distribution challenges. Earlier in his career, Adam served as an engineer in the CPG industry where he both lived and worked in Brazil, and led sanitation programs for General Mills’ largest yogurt plant in North America. Adam received his undergraduate degree from Kansas State University and his M.B.A. from the University of Arizona.

Top Takeaways:

  1. We need to take ownership of water’s story otherwise someone else will and the consequences are dire.
  2. Shift from a consumption mindset to a production mindset—if you spend three hours consuming, spend three hours creating.
  3. Water employers can change job responsibilities and freshen up titles to meet the demands of job seekers.

Show Notes:

[5:52] What can the water industry do to retain employees? What is the value of a diverse work background?

  • Diverse thought comes from diverse experiences.
  • I wasn’t born a water nerd but got here as fast as I could.

[8:15] How can we do better at getting people in the door of the water industry? What small adjustments are important?

  • We aren’t just competing for people who want to work in water. We are competing with all organizations and industries.
  • Change job responsibilities and freshen up titles to meet the demand. Tie in the mission of water – it’s our greatest differentiator.
  • Each of us has a personal responsibility to reach out and recruit.

[16:00] What is “junk science” and how does it relate to water quality?

  • In the absence of fact, people make up their own stories to fill the void.
  • We need to take ownership of water’s story because otherwise someone else will and the consequences are dire.
  • You have an obligation to tell the truth about how amazing our work in water is.
  • The oath of the water nerd.
  • The facts are not enough, you need a story

[23:45] What does it mean to shift from a consumption mindset to a production mindset? How should we be handling content creation in the water space?

  • If you spend three hours consuming, spend three hours creating.
  • The power of YouTube and video space.
  • We just gotta start somewhere – create something and share it.

[30:38] We need to re-humanize the way we tell our story. Give us a few examples.

  • Reiterate to customers that water employees are their neighbors. They are helping to repair service. They are part of the community. You know them.
  • Public tree program – named the trees and gave them email addresses. People fully embraced it and wrote letters to those trees and thanked them. Great ROI for learning about problems.

[37:35] The Lighting Round

  • Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  • Red Notice – Bill Browder
  • The 50th Law – 50 Cent and Robert Greene
  • Spend time just thinking. Blank time.
  • The need to recruit the next generation of talent into the water industry.

Resources:

  • Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  • Red Notice – Bill Browder
  • The 50th Law – 50 Cent and Robert Greene

Sponsor:

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