Maryland Environment Services Manager Supports the Program

December 12, 2014

Featured

During the Tri-Association Conference in Ocean City, Md., from left, an Operations Challenge judge talks to the Motely Poo team members Wayne Rumbaugh, Todd Boulden, Justin Myers, Brad Yeakle, and Maryland Environmental Service (Millersville) manager Ellen Frketic. Photo courtesy of Frketic.

During the Tri-Association Conference in Ocean City, Md., from left, an Operations Challenge judge talks to the Motely Poo team members Wayne Rumbaugh, Todd Boulden, Justin Myers, Brad Yeakle, and Maryland Environmental Service (Millersville) manager Ellen Frketic. Photo courtesy of Frketic.

As a member of the Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) since 2006 who has worked for Maryland Environmental Service (MES; Millersville) for 26 years, Ellen Frketic has known about Operations Challenge for years. Her organization has more than 100 operators, and she kept thinking “we should be doing this,” Frketic said.

Rumbaugh competes during the Laboratory Event during Operations Challenge held during WEFTEC 2014. Photo courtesy of Kieffer Photography.

Rumbaugh competes during the Laboratory Event during Operations Challenge held during WEFTEC 2014. Photo courtesy of Kieffer Photography.

Frketic worked with Justin Myers, Environmental Systems assistant regional supervisor at MES, to secure approval for a team to compete last year. Myers now is captain of the Chesapeake Water Environment Association team Motley Poo.

“I thought this would be a good way to get ourselves out there, get our name out there,” Frketic said.

“These guys have it all down; it’s all choreographed,” Frketic said. “They’re like the Rockettes of wastewater,” she added.

Frketic, chief of engineering for the MES Water and Wastewater Group, spends time throughout the year securing funds for the team and working with MES directors to secure anything else the team may need. This year, MES needed a new emergency pump for one of its facilities, so Frketic suggested getting the pump used during the Godwin Maintenance Event at WEFTEC®, she said. She also got new shirts for the team and is working on getting them new hard hats. And whenever she has time, Frketic attends practices to time the team and help them in any way she can.

From left, Yeakle, Boulden, Myers, Rumbaugh, and Frketic review test scores during the Tri-Association Conference Operations Challenge Event. Photo courtesy of Frketic.

From left, Yeakle, Boulden, Myers, Rumbaugh, and Frketic review test scores during the Tri-Association Conference Operations Challenge Event. Photo courtesy of Frketic.

“This has been good for the agency and motivating for the guys in the field,” Frketic said. “I’m amazed at what these guys have done in this short period of time. They work really hard and they’re really focused and dedicated.”

MES employees work throughout the state at many small facilities that have different types of processes. Frketic believes this gives Motley Poo team members the advantage of familiarity with various processes, she said. Competing, on the other hand, helps keep them sharp. “They have to keep their skills up to be successful … and it’s a fun way of doing it,” she said.

Frketic (center) stands with Motley Poo team members, from left, Yeakle, Myers, Boulden, and Rumbaugh at the Tri-Association Conference Opeartions Challenge awards ceremony. Photo courtesy of Frketic.

Frketic (center) stands with Motley Poo team members, from left, Yeakle, Myers, Boulden, and Rumbaugh at the Tri-Association Conference Opeartions Challenge awards ceremony. Photo courtesy of Frketic.

In Frketic’s opinion, the cost and effort spent on the competition is well worth it, especially because it helps competitors from four different state regions communicate. “I think it’s a really good team-building exercise,” she said. “I think it also makes the participants work harder on their knowledge.”

— Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

Operations Challenge 2014 Featured in WEF Highlights and WE&T

During Operations Challenge 2014, Terminal Velocity made history by placing first in Division 1 for the fifth consecutive year. Team HRSD joined Terminal Velocity at the top by securing first in Division 2. Both are Virginia Water Environment Association teams.

While teams and competitors often receive coverage in the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF’s; Alexandria, Va) publications, many volunteers help host the annual competition that takes place during WEFTEC. During the month, WEF Highlights will feature the following series of articles offering unique perspectives of Operations Challenge:

And read Operations Challenge 2014 coverage in WEF’s magazine, WE&T, which includes articles on the Division 1 and 2 winners, perspectives from a Laboratory Event judge and a training event held for the team from Argentina, as well as steps and results of all the events.

Operations Challenge 2014 Division 1 Results

Place Team Member Association Final Score
1 Terminal Velocity Virginia WEA 459.16
2 TRA CReWSers WEA of Texas 444.54
3 Commode Commandos Rocky Mountain WEA 377.33

Operations Challenge 2014 Division 2 Results

Place Team Member Association Final Score
1 Team HRSD Virginia WEA 455.36
2 Dumplings Nevada WEA 449.21
3 River Rangers Pacific Northwest CWA 444.09

 

 

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