I returned yesterday from a water/waste water conference I attended for work. It was two days of classes and demonstrations from various government agencies and companies. I enjoyed myself, made some new work contacts, and spent time with some of our vendors and contractors in a bit more of a laid back setting. There were a couple of things I noted while I was there.
There are basically one of two ways to become a water professional. One is to start at the bottom, as a laborer, meter reader, or such, and work your way up from there. This is how I began with the City. I started as a meter reader, became an operator, and then became Water Coordinator. Water professionals with this background tend to be rooted in tradition and resistant to both new technologies and work philosophies.
The second type earn degrees and attend classes. They tend to have little practical experience in the field, but are often more open to new ideas and technology. I realize these stereotypes apply to many fields of work, but they were very much on display for me at the convention. Young, college graduate engineers debating with grizzled vets over the most efficient ways to repair water mains and lay sewer lines. It was interesting.