IFAT, a major conference and exhibition for the water and wastewater industry in Germany, is being held this year in Munich from May 14th through May 18th. Having renamed their professional competition World Water Skills, IFAT is hosting international teams to compete and showcase their capabilities. The USA Teams, sponsored by KSB, Inc., is comprised of two 2-person teams.
Part of Team KSB USA-West team is Nicholas Janicke, a member of the LA Wrecking crew and Treatment Plant Operator II for the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County’s Joint Water Pollution Control Plant, which has received a Platinum Peak Performance award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies for 15 consecutive years. Janicke shares his excitement about going to IFAT, “I’ve never been to Germany before – never been out of the country, so it will be a great opportunity to compete at IFAT! From what I understand, they will be judging us on technique and time.” Having a California Water Resources Control Board Grade 3 wastewater operator certification, Janicke has competed in the Operations Challenges for the past 5 years as a member of the LA Wrecking Crew.
His teammate, Carlos Vasquez (also on the LA Wrecking Crew for the past 5 years), will be joining him in Germany. “We have no idea what we’re getting into,” shares Vasquez, “but once we get to Munich, we’ll have 2 days to practice the drill. Vasquez, who holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a California Water Resources Control Board Grade 5 wastewater operator certification, is a Treatment Plant Operator II for the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County’s San Jose Creek Water Reclamation Plant (a 100-million gallons per day tertiary facility). “It’s a lot of pressure because the USA team took gold 2 years ago, so we’re really hoping to repeat that success.”
The other duo on Team KSB USA-East will be Lacy Burnette and Troy Newton. Lacy Burnette is an Environmental Programs Pretreatment Inspector for the Western Virginia Water Authority. Burnette has a B.S. in Crop and Soil Environmental Science / Biotechnology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He has competed in the Operations Challenge for 7 years and was captain of the 2016 national champion – the Blue Ridge Brawlers (who recently won the KSB Maintenance Event in the Operations Challenge at the NJWEA Battle of the Boardwalk). With a Class A Biological Wastewater Treatment Operator license and a Class C Water Treatment license, Troy Newton is the Wastewater Operations Foreman for Mount Pleasant (SC) Waterworks. He has been with Mount Pleasant Waterworks for 28 years and was the Water Environment Association of South Carolina 2017 Operator of the Year.
UPDATE: Team USA-West took 2nd Place in Maintenance, Lab, and Overall Wastewater Professionals at the World Water Skills competition at IFAT!