Learning From Fellow Pumpers Is the Key to Your Success

Trade associations, shows and publications can all help you network within the onsite wastewater industry and obtain valuable information

Learning From Fellow Pumpers Is the Key to Your Success

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For decades, belonging to trade associations and learning from other pumpers has been important to Frank King. When he started Action King Services in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1968, there wasn’t a lot of information available. Pumper magazine’s forerunner, the Midwest Pumper newsletter, started by COLE Publishing founder Bob Kendall, provided the first opportunity for business owners to connect.

“Before Pumper, we scrambled trying to find equipment. I grew because of Pumper magazine,” King says. “I went to the (Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo — now the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment and Transport Show) for 20 years.” Now his daughter and business partner, Karen King, is attending the WWETT Show.

“I plan to go continuously,” Karen King says. “The classes provide a lot of great information and networking with women in the business. We have similar situations, and I listen to scenarios of women’s perspective in a man’s world.”

At the last WWETT Show, she’s gained insight about motivating employees. Each individual is motivated by something different — money, time off, etc. It’s important to know employees well enough to understand what is important to them.

Besides being part of the Women in Wastewater networking group, she has a less-formal connection with a female competitor in her service area. “We are friendly competitors and two women in the same situation,” King says.

Staying involved

Frank King, at 75, also continues to be involved with the Massachusetts Association of Sewage Pumping Contractors, where he once served as treasurer. It’s important to stay involved, he says, to stay on top of proposed regulations. For example, currently drain cleaners are lobbying against the plumber’s union, which is promoting mandatory union membership.

Karen King intends to follow her father’s example and become more involved now that her son is in his last years of college. Belonging to associations and working with others is helpful to keep up with the industry, she notes. “I think when you get a group of people in the same industry who are involved in the same types of issues, networking is helpful. You can get ideas from people who have conquered some sort of problem and are willing to help someone else,” she says. It’s something she and her father have always done as part of their business — helping competitors when they need help.


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