feature RETROSPECTIVE AND PERSPECTIVE: Interview with Wayne Ramey President and Owner of Ramey Environmental Compliance By Tanja Rauch-Williams, Ph.D., P.E., and Bryan Coday We know you like fishing, but how did you get hooked to the wastewater industry? I grew up in Ohio reading Field and Stream and Out-door Life magazines. There was nothing like that back home, so I packed my bags when I was 22 and moved to Colorado to hunt and fish. My first boss, Gordon Whittaker, Sr. took me for a tour at the Denver Metro facility and told me about the new water quality management associate degree at Red Rocks. I started night school while working, which made for a long day. I got my D license and then a job in Cedaredge. With more than a hundred fishable lakes on the Grand Mesa, this place promised a sure catch for me! What was your job as a water operator like? We did everything. Work at the water plant did not take all day, so we also ran the ambulance, dug graves, poured con-crete, repaired water leaks, caught dogs. I did this for three years until 1985, when I started working as a trainee at the wastewater treatment plant for the City of Louisville. I thought wastewater would be more challenging than water since I had a more difficult time in the exams. Around that time, Louisville underwent an expansion, and it was cool to learn their treat-ment from the start. Of course, I got the crap jobs, cleaning out the sludge drying beds with the bobcat and the like, but it was part of the job, so I did it. How did you become the plant superintendent within three years? By 1988, I had my A license and had learned everything from lab and sampling to dewatering and process, and was also working directly under the plant superintendent. Then he quit his job and moved back to Ohio. By default, I became the new superintendent, as I was the only one with an A license at Louisville. Now I was reporting to the Public Works Director and had to justify every decision. I was scared and needed to step up my game. How did you grow into your new responsibilities? In 1989, the City Council started a unique program under which I got a $3,000 loan to purchase a personal computer. I got trained in programming and working with spreadsheets. During that time, Louisville expanded from a 0.8 to a 2.1 mgd 20 | RUMBLES SEPTEMBER 2015 facility with larger equipment and larger blowers. One Friday afternoon after work, we were having beers at the Elks Lodge when my boss came over and threw the power bill on the table in front of me. It had about tripled from before the expansion. He said, “We don’t have that kind of money. Your job is riding on this!” Quite the start into the weekend! Yes, with the expansion, we had gone from 50 to 200 HP blow-ers. I am not a genius but it was clear that’s where the power was coming from. I went straight back to the plant and shut the blowers off. 1.800.523.5826 | carollo.com Serving Our Clients Throughout Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming Bleed: none Trim: 3.625” x 4.75” Live: 3.625” x 4.75” 4-color Publication: Rumbles - 1/4 Corner IT’S JUST WATER, RIGHT?
RUMBLES - September 2015
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