Satellite Industries Conference Offers Support for Female Pumpers

Satellite Industries Conference Offers Support for Female Pumpers

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For Luanne Howland, co-owner of Apple Valley Pumping in East Wenatchee, Washington, being a woman in a male-dominated industry isn’t that big a deal.

“It’s not the first time I’ve worked in a field dominated by men,” she says. “Sometimes I think people are a little surprised when I show up to deliver a portable restroom or pump a septic tank, but other than that, there’s no real downfall to being a woman in this business.”

However, that’s not the case for all women, which is one reason why Howland supports the annual Satellite Women’s Conference (slated for Oct. 23-25 this year in San Diego), sponsored by Satellite Industries.

The first conference was held in Minneapolis in 2018 and was attended by nearly 60 women from 40 companies. The conferences were held in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2019; virtually in 2020; and in Nashville in 2021. Last year, more than 80 women from 50 companies attended, with 60% first-time attendees, according to Satellite Industries

“I have to say that attending the conferences has been tremendously helpful,” Howland says. “I’ve met other women from Washington who aren’t close enough to us to be competitors, but still share some of the same regional problems, such as supply issues, tax proposals or regulations or other business related issues. The connections we make provide us with much more than just what we learn at the conference.” 

One year a woman from Utah attended the conference because she was thinking about starting a restroom rental business. After attending and networking with people like Howland, she bought a used truck and ordered some restrooms.

“Then she lived with Greg and I for a week and pumped toilets and went over the business basics, like customer routing,” she says. “We’ve stayed friends since then and we even sold her one of our used restroom trucks last year.”

Is portable sanitation a good industry for women?

“I think so,” Howland says. “And I really don’t see any reason why being a woman would matter.”

Learn more about Apple Valley Pumping Services in the October issue of Pumper.


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