The Clear Take on Water and Wastewater Today

The Clear Take on Water and Wastewater Today

It’s Time to Resolve to Solve

Alan MeyerIt’s been a month since most of us made resolutions. Many of those resolutions have dissolved by now into the mire of everyday busy-ness. As a business owner for 31 years, I get it – it takes a lot to rise out of working “in” the day-to-day of the business to work “on” the business. Working on the business takes rising above the day-to-day trees to gain a view of the forest from a drone-like perspective. It’s a different view that allows you to see what the business looks like today and imagine where it needs to go (grow) for the future.

Where this business is going

We talk a lot in this business about aging infrastructure and thinning labor pools. We also talk about heightened regulations and gaining efficiencies for thinning budgets. In the past, we’ve formed partnerships with cities/districts who came to us when these issues were mission critical. Other clients came to us when they could see these issues looming. The latter is the preferable place to start the conversation because it helps to get ahead of where operations need to go. Plus, it can take some time to get all decision makers comfortable with the idea of partnership – often confused with privatization or the negative outcomes of outsourcing and these perceptions can cause false starts.

The trouble with false starts

Some cities have false starts in bringing an operations/management partner to the table. Some are in this situation right now. There may be a lead in the group of decision makers who recognizes the advantages of partnership with an outside firm, while others are unsure, so they dip their toes in the water to get bids to see how it might work. Sometimes this works to reinforce that their existing staff and processes can still work, but I’ll argue only for the short-term – especially when the rationale is cloaked in cost. When a new view stimulates the idea to make a change, it’s almost always warranted for several reasons and one is almost always the value for the cost. It can be short-sighted to stay the course out of fear of change and perceived cost. In fact, this is like leaping over dollars to save pennies. There’s simply too much at stake in today’s regulation rich, environmentally unstable water/wastewater world to risk the health and safety – and long-term viability – of your community to do what you’ve done over the last 40, 50 or 60 years.

If you’re tasked with managing the water/wastewater in your community – or know someone who is – and there is even an inkling that you/they may be doing things better, it’s time to take the high-view. It’s time to resolve to solve. I’m here to discuss it with you.

Alan Meyer
Chairman & CEO