By: Steve Freed, Induron Northeast Regional Sales Manager

As I reflect on my involvement in the water and wastewater industry over the past several decades, I can’t help but feel a sense of deep appreciation for all the great people within this industry whom I have had the pleasure of working with. In my career I’ve worked for pipe manufacturers, a coating applicator, and a paint manufacturer.  In each of these different sectors of the industry I’ve met some tremendous people who have become so much more than just work colleagues.  I’ve also found that these great people are not just those that I work with closely, but also those that work in adjacent sectors of the market, and even direct competitors whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on Industry Standards.

American Water Works Association (AWWA) recently published a revision of their C215 Standard for Extruded Polyolefin Coatings for Steel Water Pipe. It was an honor for me, as the Task Group Chair for the AWWA C215 Standard, to work with a great group of professionals to get the 2022 revision published in October.  There are two individuals in particular, Dan Libby of Chase Corp./CIM Industries and Sam Thomas of Liberty Coating, who were key in helping to handle comments and revisions throughout each step of the Standard revision.  Thank you both for mentoring me throughout the process.  I learned a whole lot throughout the AWWA Standard revision process, and more than just the mechanics of how it gets done.  You’ve shown me how to readily embrace all feedback, see every comment and proposed revision as an opportunity to improve the Standard, rather than another hurdle to overcome.

There is certainly pride in seeing the final product get published, but I’ve also learned and grown throughout the entire process with the help of Dan, Sam, and many other colleagues, as well as the support of my employer at the time, Liberty Coating.  Companies like Liberty Coating and Induron Protective Coatings consistently support various technical committees within the industries they serve, improving the overall base of technical knowledge to keep up with the latest innovations.  From what I’ve experienced in the technical committees I’ve been involved with, there is a true sense of teamwork and comradery, making the journey that much more enjoyable and rewarding.

I have also been very fortunate in that each employer I’ve worked for has valued employee growth and development, which I feel is a win-win for everyone.  This November, Induron Protective Coatings is supporting me as I attend the AMPP (formerly NACE) Coating Inspector Level 2 course.  I look forward to advancing my coatings knowledge, and hopefully, meeting and networking with another great group of classmates–just as I had experienced in my Level 1 course last year.

Most everything I’ve written above has been a big thank you – an expression of my appreciation to the great companies and colleagues/friends who have brought me to this point in my career where I feel that I am in a great position within a great industry. So, what’s next?  Well of course I want to continue to learn and grow, but what I really want to do is to focus on giving back – to pay it forward to the next generation of young professionals.  I urge anyone reading this to remain active in your industry and increase your involvement.  

If you are a young professional, please get involved, attend events, meet people – you don’t need to go it alone, and you shouldn’t!  There are plenty of seasoned industry insiders that can and will help.  And if you are one of those industry insiders, stay involved and prove to the next generation that we work in a great industry with great people!