These “Angels” aren’t named after the crime-fighting PI’s from a popular 1970’s TV show, but instead, from an incredibly large, round, methane storage tank painted with a huge smiley face that makes quite an impression on anyone driving interstate 77 down through Columbia, South Carolina. Having organized their team two years ago, Charlie’s Angels qualified to compete in the Operations Challenge at WEFTEC 2018.
Empowering Pumps & Equipment is proud to be sponsoring these ladies from the Columbia Water Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant and can’t wait to cheer them on live at WEFTEC! (Follow along using hashtags #WEFTEC18 & #OpsChallenge)
When asked what inspired David Wiman, Superintendent of the Columbia Water Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant, to form an Operations Challenge team, he responded:
“In the 1990’s, I managed a guy who worked part-time for my company on weekends. His full-time employer had formed a very successful Ops Challenge team, and I thought that the camaraderie and pride it generated for the team, as well as the positive publicity it generated for the organization, was fantastic! It took a lot longer than I imagined to find a situation where I could support the formation of a team, and the formation of an all-woman team happened once Sarah Hickman came on board. When Sarah Hickman was hired and heard about my desire to form an Ops Challenge team, she got the word out to see who was interested in joining the team. It just naturally took us in an ‘all-female’ direction; thus, Charlie’s Angels were born!
The fact that it is a male-dominated industry meant that the team would take on extra pressure. We had to overcome individuals that thought the team was a joke or publicity stunt and believed that the Angels wouldn’t be competitive. It’s sad to find out that such out-of-date beliefs exist, but the team mirrors my competitiveness and used it as motivation. None of us would be doing this if we didn’t think that we could be competitive! The team’s ability to bring home an event trophy in its first competition was extremely satisfying for all of us.”
Sarah Hickman – “After college, I was not sure what field to go into, but because I had been a chemistry major, I found a job in water / wastewater. I really enjoyed it! First I worked for a commercial lab, then transferred to Columbia and learned about the water treatment process. I really like this industry – no two days are the same. There are always different things going on, and job security. People will always need clean water! David approached me and mentioned that an operations challenge team would be great to do, so I got the ball rolling to assemble a team. It’s like being an athlete in college – the competition is cool. Having an all-women’s team is neat because we can show that there ARE women in the industry. We encourage other women to get involved.”
Morgan Greathouse – “I went from wastewater maintenance at Columbia to, recently, an operator. I have always wanted to become an operator because my stepmother was an operator for 30 years! She trains people to become operators, and once I took her class, I loved it and knew that that was what I wanted to do! I’ve been an operator now for 6 months, and I love it! Sarah asked me to join the team and it’s so much fun! We practice every day at 6:30 a.m., twice each week before work begins. I love the teamwork and time practicing on the KSB equipment.”
Melissa Engle – “I’ve been a lab analyst for 8 years, and I analyze water throughout the whole treatment process at Columbia. I enjoy being the Operations Challenge Team Captain. It’s great getting out onto the plant yard and learning other parts of the job. This is my second year competing and I love the comradery. The Ops Challenge is a great way to bond with your co-workers and also get some recognition. I’m really looking forward to WEFTEC because it’s great to meet other people in the industry.”
Candace Mathis – “I have been working with the City of Columbia Metro Wastewater since January of 2014. I am an A license operator and my duties include sampling, cleaning, checking and maintaining equipment, adjusting chemical feeds, and checking in trucks. I mainly work outside, which I enjoy. I joined the operations challenge team because I like the challenge (being a competitive person), and I enjoy my team mates. I am excited about my first trip to New Orleans and the competition. I’m also looking forward to seeing the other teams perform and to see all the exhibits. Thank you, Empowering Pumps & Equipment, for helping us get there!”
On behalf of the entire Empowering Pumps & Equipment team, GO CHARLIE’S ANGELS!!! We can’t wait to cheer you on at WEFTEC in New Orleans!!