Veterans of U.S. Ops Challenge Take Home International Win from Open German Championship in Wastewater Technology

July 28, 2016

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In May, a team of four WEFTEC Operations Challenge veterans — Dale Burrow, Steve Motley, Donnie Cagle, and Dave Vogel (not pictured) — traveled to Munich, Germany to compete in the Open German Championship in Wastewater Technology. Photo courtesy of KSB.

In May, a team of four WEFTEC Operations Challenge veterans — Dale Burrow, Steve Motley, Donnie Cagle, and Dave Vogel (not pictured) — traveled to Munich, Germany to compete in the Open German Championship in Wastewater Technology. Photo courtesy of KSB.

A U.S. team of water sector professionals took home a first place win from an international competition modeled after Operations Challenge, a Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) contest for water treatment professionals. During the international trade fair, IFAT 2016, held May 30–June 3 in Munich, DWA (Hennef, Germany) – the German Association for Water, Wastewater, and Waste – hosted its own version of the competition, the Open German Championship in Wastewater Technology.

Teams from six countries in three professional divisions — Trainees, Sewer Professionals, and Wastewater Professionals — tested their skills in four events:

  • Work Safety and Protection of Health;
  • Scheduled and Unscheduled Maintenance;
  • Instrumentation and Control and Operational Monitoring; and
  • Process Control.
The DWA competition has four events: Work Safety and Protection of Health, Scheduled and Unscheduled Maintenance, Instrumentation and Control and Operational Monitoring, and Process Control. Members of Team KSB–USA, Cagle, Burrow, and Motley, compete in the Scheduled and Unscheduled Maintenance Event. Photo courtesy of KSB.

The DWA competition has four events: Work Safety and Protection of Health, Scheduled and Unscheduled Maintenance, Instrumentation and Control and Operational Monitoring, and Process Control. Members of Team KSB–USA, Cagle, Burrow, and Motley, compete in the Scheduled and Unscheduled Maintenance Event. Photo courtesy of KSB.

A total of seven teams competed in the Trainees division, which required completion of all four events. The 15 teams of Sewer Professionals competed in the Work Safety and Protection of Health event, and in the Scheduled and Unscheduled Maintenance events. Twelve Wastewater Professional teams participated in the Instrumentation and Control and Operational Monitoring, and the Process Control events, the news release says.

Team KSB–USA represented the U.S. at the international competition. The team, organized by the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) and sponsored by KSB Inc. (Frankenthal, Germany), finished first in the Sewer Professionals division and third in the Wastewater Professionals division. Team KSB-USA included some of the winningest Operations Challenge competitors ever:

  • Donnie Cagle, who earned 10 first place Division 1 trophies as a member of the Virginia Operations Challenge team, Terminal Velocity;
  • Dale Burrow, who earned five first place Division 1 trophies as a member of the Texas Operations Challenge team, TRA CreWSers;
  • Stephen Motley, who earned five first place Division 1 trophies as a member of Terminal Velocity; and
  • Dave Vogel from CH2M (Englewood, Colo.) in Lanesborough, Mass., who has participated as competitor or volunteer in every Operations Challenge event since its debut in 1988, served as the team’s coach.
Team KSB–USA earned awards in every Open German Championship in Wastewater Technology event and first place overall (among 15) in the Sewer Professional division and third place overall (among 12) in the Wastewater Treatment Plant Professionals division. Photo courtesy of KSB.

Team KSB–USA earned awards in every Open German Championship in Wastewater Technology event and first place overall (among 15) in the Sewer Professional division and third place overall (among 12) in the Wastewater Treatment Plant Professionals division. Photo courtesy of KSB.

“I’m very proud to have been a part of a great team,” Burrow said.

“We are so proud of Team KSB–USA and congratulate all of the participants of this fantastic international competition,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “It was our great honor to have been invited to be a part of IFAT and the Open German Championship, which along with WEF’s own Operations Challenge competition, showcases the incredible dedication, professionalism, and outstanding skills of our operations personnel.”

During the Process Control Event, Steve Motley, Donnie Cagle, and Dale Burrow use the DWA Modular Wastewater Training Kit — specially designed magnetic cards that represent individual processes — to create flow diagram. Photo courtesy of Kraig Moodie and Steve Motley.

During the Process Control Event, Steve Motley, Donnie Cagle, and Dale Burrow use the DWA Modular Wastewater Training Kit — specially designed magnetic cards that represent individual processes — to create flow diagram. Photo courtesy of Kraig Moodie and Steve Motley.

The first Open German Championship in Wastewater Technology took place in 2012. DWA has continued hosting the competition every 2 years during IFAT as a way to promote young talent in the water sector, set quality standards, and help address a shortage of skilled personnel, according to a DWA news release. The fourth competition is planned to coincide with IFAT in May 2018.

“What is most significant to us is what we have learned, the friends we have made, and how all of the participants, along with all operators around the world, will continue to perform this important work every day in their own communities,” Vogel said.

Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

Team KSB–USA Wins at the 2016 Open German Championship in Wastewater Technology

  • From left, Steve Harrison, WEF senior manager of Operations Programs stands with the members of Team KSB–USA, Burrow, Motley, Cagle, and Vogel. Photo courtesy of KSB.

    From left, Steve Harrison, WEF senior manager of Operations Programs stands with the members of Team KSB–USA, Burrow, Motley, Cagle, and Vogel. Photo courtesy of KSB.

    Sewer Professionals division – first place

    • Work Safety and Protection of Health Event – first place
    • Scheduled and Unscheduled Maintenance Event – second place
  • Wastewater Treatment Professionals division – third place
    • Instrumentation and Control and Operational Monitoring Event – third place
    • Process Control Event – third place
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