Making Connections

Getting together with others in the industry is always a great experience

Because of the time it takes to put together each issue of Cleaner, my deadline for this column falls months before it’s in your hands.

I’m writing this on my first day back in the office after spending a few days at the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show in Indianapolis, and I’m having trouble getting back in the groove. This job entails mostly solitary work writing, editing and planning, so after a couple days of walking through the hall, countless conversations, meeting new people, reconnecting with others, and ending the days with dinner alongside co-workers I don’t get a chance to talk to regularly, it feels like a little bit of a letdown to be sitting back at my desk plugging away at regular work.

Don’t get me wrong — this job is great and I enjoy it. But getting out to the WWETT Show is the only time I feel really in the thick of the industry we work so hard to represent. Seeing all the equipment, demonstrations and people coming together from across the country is pretty inspiring.

I’ve worked on several of Cleaner’s sister publications, so I have general background and interest in a lot of the other related industries represented at the show. I had one conversation with an attendee who asked if I owned any restroom trailers. I told him I unfortunately did not, but I could try to help him find out what he needed to know. It turns out he is brand-new to the industry. He wanted to make a career change and was at the show to learn more about the portable restroom industry. He had done a little research and thought it seemed like a good opportunity.

He was a little blown away by the show. “Everything is here,” he said. “It’s the place to really learn about this stuff. And everyone is so nice.” My co-worker and I chatted with him a little more about different ways for him to get involved in the industry and find out more (including subscribing to Portable Restroom Operator of course).

It was interesting to talk to someone new to the industry and attending the show for the first time. It was my seventh visit, and a lot of people I talk to have been part of the industry for much longer than I have. But most of them are just as excited as that guy was about the industry and the work they are doing.

Exhibitors are excited to show off new equipment that’s been designed and perfected to solve a problem for their customers and earn customers more money. Contractors are on the hunt for the best new equipment and looking forward to seeing their friends in the industry and meeting new ones as well.

Even if you don’t attend the WWETT Show every year, I hope you have connections in the industry who make you feel that same sort of excitement and camaraderie. Cultivating that network — or just having one other person you can call on for advice, to vent, or to celebrate successes — is so important.

Sometimes it’s hard to explain the importance of this work to other people, whether customers, friends or family. Being around others who “get it” is really nice to experience.

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue.


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