Staying on top of changes in the industry keeps Dick Mottolo coming back year after year
The Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show didn’t exist in 1972 when Dick Mottolo got started in the business with his company Service Pumping & Drain Co., in North Reading, Massachusetts. But when that first then Pumper & Cleaner Expo was announced 36 years ago, he jumped at the chance and hasn’t missed one since. He’s watched it evolve from a small gathering to one of the largest trade shows in the country.
“Years ago if you saw one or two new ideas, that was something,” he says. “Now you can’t get halfway down one of these aisles and you’ll see one or two things you hadn’t seen before.” As a result, it never gets old and he always learns something.
“Like any industry, you have to stay on top, you have to know what’s going on. You can only learn so much in your own backyard.” The WWETT Show also helped to elevate the professionalism in the industry, he says.
Dick brings a different employee with him each year, and in 2016 it’ll be general manager John Nicholas. “He went many years ago so he’ll be quite impressed with the increased size and the number of vendors and the different kinds of vendors,” he says.
Another change is the growing number of women who attend the show. In 2015, Dick’s daughter Lara Mottolo, the company’s vice president, added her own touch. “I initiated a panel to showcase a cross section of women in the wastewater industry,” she says. Her goal was to highlight how much value women bring to their companies and the industry and to encourage them to take on more management roles.
Since women often have to juggle multiple roles in their lives they’ve learned to multi-task, focus, delegate and create strong teams. She cites her own situation, having two small children at home. “It’s made me a better manager and has actually given us the ability to grow,” she says. She’ll be leading a similar panel at the 2016 WWETT Show, on Education Day, Feb. 17.
Dick will be there. “I look forward to going to the show every year,” he says. “I never get tired of it.”