Build Your Network

It’s good to be part of a community, whether it’s your hometown, a profession, recreational group or something else. It’s good to feel connected.

I come from a small town. I never intended to move back, but family circumstances changed that. There are plenty of things I dislike about it, but my best friends are here and I know they have my back. I always have someone I can call if I really need help with something. It’s a good feeling.

I was traveling last weekend and it occurred to me that I have friends nearby almost everywhere I go now. And it’s not because of social media or because I’m so well-traveled that I have friends in every corner of the country. It’s because of this industry, and this magazine.

We’ve told the stories of so many water and wastewater utilities in the pages of Municipal Sewer & Water magazine. I count many of those operators among my friends, and they stretch across the U.S. and Canada. I’ve connected with many of you. It’s been a big help, and it says a lot about the industry. More importantly, the more people I talk to, the better I understand the challenges you face and the significant roles you play in your communities.

It should be the same amongst utilities. You share so much in common, from the cost of inflow and infiltration to the challenge of convincing local officials of the need for greater investment in your infrastructure. And that doesn’t begin to tell the story. You all wade in the same pool of challenges. More importantly, you have the lessons learned from those challenges to share. Every utility has unique fixes and solutions. Sharing that knowledge and experience will allow those searching for solutions to the same challenges to save time and money and make their communities healthier. It can have a huge impact.

We try to bring you those stories every month in MSW because there is so much to be learned from your peers. The magazine is just one way to connect; there are many others, from conventions to Facebook groups, or even a simple email or phone call. You never know what you might learn.

I’ve written in this space about how connected the world’s water resources are. In the same way, so too are the agencies charged with protecting them through better means of collection, treatment and distribution.

Unlike private businesses, you have nothing to gain by protecting the secrets of your success. This industry is filled with innovators, and all utilities can — and should — benefit from the success of others.

We all depend on the same water resources, and in that way, we are all directly connected.

Regardless of whether they’re in a bordering community or across the country, it’s good to be connected to the people in your industry. You’re all charged with the same task, and you never know when you might need a little advice or support. That help can go a long way for both you and the communities you serve.

Enjoy this month’s issue.


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