Operations Challenge 2013 Teams Make History

December 20, 2013

Featured, Multimedia

Terminal Velocity wins fourth-consecutive Division 1 win and is joined on podium by two other Virginia teams
 
Terminal Velocity team members Stephen Motley, Jason Truitt, and Steve Poe work together during the Wilo Maintence event. Photo courtesy of Kieffer Photography.

Terminal Velocity team members Stephen Motley, Jason Truitt, and Steve Poe work together during the Wilo Maintence event. Photo courtesy of Kieffer Photography.

At WEFTEC® 2013, large crowds gathered to watch Operations Challenge, an event that exemplifies the precision and skill needed to work in the wastewater treatment industry. Expressions of awe and appreciation at competitors’ performances could be heard throughout the audience. And this year, spectators witnessed some notable achievements: the fourth-consecutive Division 1 win by the Virginia Water Environment Association team Terminal Velocity and three Virginia Water Environment Association teams placing in the top three in Divisions 1 and 2.

“I know how hard our team worked and the time we invested and can only imagine that Team HRSD and the Blue Ridge Brawlers did so as well. It was awesome sharing the victory with the other Virginia teams in what was a very successful Operations Challenge year for Virginia,” said Donnie Cagle, Terminal Velocity team captain.

In Division 1, the New Jersey Water Environment Association team, the Jersey Devils, earned second and the Water Environment Association of Texas team, the TRA CReWSers, earned third.

“It’s very impressive that Terminal Velocity has done this … because once you’re on top it’s extremely hard to stay up there,” said Dale Burrow, TRA CReWSers captain.

Team HRSD member Kevin Hafner cuts pipe during the Collection Systems event. Photo courtesy of Kieffer Photography.

Team HRSD member Kevin Hafner cuts pipe during the Collection Systems event. Photo courtesy of Kieffer Photography.

Joining these teams on the podium for Division 2 were Virginia Water Environment Association’s Team HRSD in first and Blue Ridge Brawlers in second. And a new team, the Illinois Water Environment Association Sewer Rats took third.

“Attitude and a positive outlook are key when creating a new team and working well together and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys,” said Laura Laxa, Team HRSD captain. Besides, with the exception of Laxa, the team had all new members this year, making the win even sweeter, she said. Laxa attributes the achievement to hard work and practice as does Blue Ridge Brawlers team Captain Lacy Burnette.

Blueridge Brawlers team members Stephen Lofaro and Wayne Brown work on the Process Control test. Photo courtesy of Kieffer Photography.

Blueridge Brawlers team members Stephen Lofaro and Wayne Brown work on the Process Control test. Photo courtesy of Kieffer Photography.

“Coming together as a team and learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses as they apply to the Operations Challenge was a major hurdle at the very beginning. As we began to practice, we were able to help each other refine our skills and find different ways to apply our skills to be successful,” Burnette said.

For more details, read the Ops Challenge 2013 section in the December issue of WE&T.

Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

A total of 37 teams competed in five events during Operations Challenge 2013. Competitors worked together to complete a 25-minute test during the Process Control event, conduct an Escherichia coli membrane filtration analysis during the Laboratory event, repair an in-service pipe and complete a quiz identifying six pipe defects during the Collection Systems event, complete a confined space entry rescue during the Safety event, and respond to separate and simultaneous “moisture reset” failure conditions for a submersible pump and submersible mixer during the Wilo Maintenance event. Photos courtesy of Kieffer Photography.
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