The concepts of dealing with loss and overcoming obstacles come to mind as we reflect on the passing of key contributors to Pumper and tell the story of a persevering pumper.


We were dealt a blow recently with the passing of a colleague, writer and wastewater industry watchdog Doug Day. In his work for Pumper, Doug reached out to state and provincial wastewater trade associations to put together our monthly State of the States feature. Several years before we started that feature in 2013, Doug also began sifting through news items to produce our Rules & Regs columns. And Doug also occasionally pitched in with contractor profile stories and podcasts, where he took advantage of his trained radio voice to interview some of you over the years.

Yes, he was a jack-of-all-trades, both in the magazine work and in other areas of his career and life. As mentioned above, he worked many years as a radio announcer in the cities around his hometown of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. He also served on the local city council, including two years as council president. He was passionate about his job as a high school sports official, and he ran his own advertising and public relations agency.

Doug was a true communications professional. He knew how to relate to everyone, from our trade group executives to the pumper in the field. He gathered news efficiently, knew how to separate the important from the mundane, was a competent interviewer and writer, and turned in his copy on deadline. That’s about the best you can say for a journalist.

Related: Reading Between the Lines: Let Your Voice Be Heard

On a personal level, Doug was a good guy and a straight shooter. Though we didn’t travel in the same circles, I could tell he was well liked by the folks in Two Rivers and appreciated for the many hours he spent volunteering for one local cause or another. Every hometown needs a core group of people like Doug, hard workers with skills who care deeply about making their corner of the world a better place to live. I know many of you pumpers are the same kind of boosters for your hometown.

Doug passed away Jan. 21 at age 60. That’s way too young. He had so much more to give to his clients, radio listeners, local athletes, his community and the wastewater industry.

We remember Ed too

Doug is our most recent loss, following the death last fall of Ed Wodalski, our own industry equipment expert and a COLE Publishing contributor for more than 25 years. Ed passed away Sept. 21, 2016. He was 64. I miss his friendship as well as his astute editing and writing skills.

Many of you will remember Ed from his inquiring mind as he learned about new products on the floor of the WWETT Show, or as he would know it better, the Pumper & Cleaner Expo. Ed attended many of the tradeshows over the years, taking photos, gathering product specs and getting to know pumpers from all corners of the U.S. and Canada. Ed excelled in understanding the nuts and bolts of this industry, especially all parts of the vacuum trucks, and there is a good reason.

Ed had a passion for old cars and trucks, and was a big fan of racing, especially NASCAR. At one time he ran his own racing magazine, Speed Scene, worked at the local tracks, and was proud of his friendship with the older generation of drivers, especially Wisconsin native Dick Trickle. And Ed’s garage was full of projects of his own, including 1950s Chevy pickups and a 1979 MGB sports car he had recently restored.

Many of you had the good fortune to work with Doug and Ed on stories. I wish all of you could have shared a conversation with them. Both are and will continue to be missed.

IN THIS ISSUE

I was struck by the resilience of pumper David Knight and his family when I met them at the WWETT Show last year. David and his wife, Andrea, explained the challenges they’ve overcome to build a successful company, Knight Environmental Services, in Caledonia, Mississippi. They endured the ups and downs of the construction market, were able to purchase back part of his family’s pumping business, and they pulled together to get through some really tough times after David broke both of his feet in an accident and had to have one leg amputated from the mid-calf.

But wait, there’s more. David fought his way back, eventually running in a 5K race and built the business to include full-time technicians, and is getting new equipment paid off. I was inspired by the story of hard work and perseverance, and was determined to see it told in the pages of Pumper. And so it is this month, with writer Kyle Rogers’ contractor profile, entitled “Onward and Upward.” Please join me in congratulating David and his entire family for their well-earned success.

Also in this issue, you’ll find a new feature, States Snapshot, which introduces readers to a wastewater professional who is actively involved in a state or provincial industry trade association. We’re kicking it off by visiting with Bernie Miller, a member of the Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Association and owner of Miller’s Sewage Treatment Solutions in Kimball, Minnesota, a small town northwest of the Twin Cities.

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The Snapshot is an outgrowth of our State of the States feature, which has been summarizing the work of regional wastewater trade associations since 2013. We’ve covered each organization on our monthly Associations List — at least those who responded to our interview requests — and will now fill the space dedicated to associations with either follow-up State of the States or the States Snapshot features.

If your association hasn’t been highlighted over the past four years, and you want to share your good news about legislation, training initiatives or other hot-topic issues, please drop me a line at editor@pumper.com. That invitation also stands if you have the perfect candidate for the Snapshot feature. Our aim through both features is to continue to give wastewater trade associations a platform to discuss issues vital to the industry.

WHAT CAN WE DO FOR YOU?

We’re always looking for new ways to serve the pumping industry in these pages. We welcome your input about new features you’d like to see or issues you’d like to see covered in Pumper. Maybe you have a topic for our Septic System Answer Man, Jim Anderson, to explore? Or you would like to tell the story of your family pumping company? Or you have a new vacuum rig you’d like to show off in Classy Truck? No matter the reason, we always enjoy hearing from members of the Pumper family. And if you email, I promise a prompt response.

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