Brad was hired at the City of Toledo with zero experience in the industry to become the Water/Wastewater Operator when the current one retired; little did he know that would only give him 3 years after his start date! Faced with this, Brad realized he needed to get to a Grade 3 Wastewater and a Grade 2 Water Distribution and Treatment before that operator left to keep in good grace with the DNR regulations. After the first year, with the help of a couple 30-hour courses from DMACC, he was able to test and pass his Grade 1 certification exams.
With only 2 years before his supervisor retired, he realized he needed more education to quickly get to a Grade 3. During a brief conversation at an industry conference in Newton, Iowa with Lori Card, Pathway Navigator, and Steve Moehlmann, Program Chair, he learned about the two- year Water Environmental Tech program at DMACC. Upon completion of this program he would be ready to test for a grade 3. This made his decision to come back to school simple, but it required commitment. With an active family, a position serving on the fire department, and his job, he was still able to find time to study and finished with one of the highest GPA’s in the program.
Brad says he felt choosing DMACC was the right move. “I was very satisfied in the 30-hour courses, so I figured that this is a place that cares. And they do! The staff and faculty was amazing. There is not one of them that will not go out of their way to make sure that everything is the way that it should be and that you get the help that you need. Everyone, from the navigator to the instructors and the advisors. I can honestly say that I have made a few great friends.” And the support is financial too; because of the generous industry donors and alumni, as well as state scholarship programs that support this program, tuition is a lot less of a burden now than it used to be.
Some certifications Brad achieved while in school are Grade 2 Water Treatment, Grade 2 Water Distribution, Grades 2 and 3 Wastewater Treatment, and Grades 1 and 2 Wastewater Collections. He adds, “because of the schooling and their reputation I was able to test for my Grade 3 six months early and stay in the good graces of the DNR before time ran out.” Brad’s degree completion in May of 2020 also brought opportunity; in July of 2020 he was made the assistant Public Works director as well as the water/wastewater operator.
Brad wants people considering this career to know it’s extremely rewarding. “Most places know how hard it is to get a good operator with the right education. When you come into the job with the knowledge and know how that this program will give you, the companies do what they need to or have to, to keep the employee happy and satisfied.”