New Experiences

Some of you may know that I’m a board member of the Oregon Onsite Wastewater Association (O2WA). I hold the Pumpers chair. Recently we had our annual conference. Our conference is like most where there are a number of classes of varying topics that can be attended. Classes are used for continuing education credits (CEU’s).

In the onsite (septic) industry, a number of disciplines require CEU’s to maintain licenses and certifications required to do our work. Pumping is one job that does not. This being the case, there has never been any classes that were specific to the folks who operate pump trucks.

This year, another pumper on the board, Robb Barnes of Kings Pumping, and I decided that there should be some topics that related directly to pumping. Of course he and I were the obvious choices to put on these classes.

I’ve never spoken in front of more than ten people before so I was pretty apprehensive about this. My topic was “Pumpers Best Practices”. Having been in the industry for more than twenty years, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on my job and how to be professional while doing it. I’ve seen allot of different situations and have learned how to handle them, so I felt like I could handle the topic pretty well.

Since the CEU’s are not required for pumpers, I suspected that there wouldn’t be too many people interested in what I had to say. I even joked that it would be just Robb and I speaking to our employees.

To my surprise (and horror), the classroom was packed full! As I surveyed the crowd, I see many of my peers in the industry seemingly waiting for me to say something stupid. Of course they were actually there to support my efforts and I appreciated them being there.

As you can imagine I was just a wee bit nervous. Fortunately for me Robb is an ex school teacher and backed me up when I needed a short break. This gave me a chance to get a drink of water and regain my composure and thoughts.

Things went well and before I knew it my time was up. Robb and I got a nice round of applause and several people came up to ask questions or comment on what had been covered. A few folks even made a point to find me later during the conference so they could tell me how appreciative they were for a class specific to pumping.

Robb’s two classes were full also, validating our thoughts of needing courses for pumpers. It turned out to be a great success and I’m sure we will be covering more pumper related topics next year.

It was a great experience for me personally as well. I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and I succeeded!


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