We are capable of giving many different presentations at shows and conferences related to the water and wastewater industry. Below is a brief list of the presentations we have given or can give. Please contact us if you'd like us to make a presentation at one of your events.

We can cover a wide range of subject areas:

Public outreach and customer relations

Media relations for the water and wastewater industry ⇒

How to ensure that the public is well-informed about water and wastewater issues.

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA state convention in Kearney, November 2008
  • Given at the Nebraska Wastewater Operators District Snowball Conference in Kearney, January 2009
  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water Conference in Grand Island, March 2013

Marketing your water utility to the community ⇒

How to ensure that your ratepayers and stakeholders know why you need resources to ensure their safe, reliable drinking water supplies remain abundant.

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA state convention, November 2010
  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water conference, March 2014

Schoolkids now, customers later

How to use outreach to schools through classroom visits and plant tours to ensure that the next generation of ratepayers and employees are well-educated about their utilities.

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA state convention in Kearney, November 2012

Wastewater treatment: A matter of public health, not the environment ⇒

Discusses the importance of wastewater treatment to public health, and why the public needs to understand the importance of wastewater treatment not as an environmental issue, but as one that directly affects their health and safety.

  • Given at the 57th Annual Great Plains Waste Management Conference in Omaha, April 2013
  • Given at the Heartland Operators Conference in Kearney, July 2013

Twitter 101 for water utilities ⇒

If your utility is going to use just one tool for online public outreach, Twitter is your best bet. Here's how to get started.

  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water conference, March 2014

Water's ten most wanted, or: Your cat is secretly trying to kill you ⇒

Ten hazards to water quality that can be fixed with the public's help.

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA Fall Conference, November 2016

Seven dirty words that have to go

George Carlin had his seven dirty words. Water utilities have seven of their own -- and they all need to be censored.

Social media crash course for the water sector ⇒

What you need to know about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and all of the other social media tools at your disposal...in one sitting.

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA Fall Conference, November 2018
  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water Association conference, March 2019
  • Scheduled for the Heartland Operators conference, July 2019

Building a messaging calendar

How to prepare a messaging calendar so that you're getting the word out to the public about issues that matter to your water/wastewater utility. By the end of the presentation, you'll have a full-year messaging calendar ready to go with ideas to share with your customers, each appropriately tied into the season of the year.

Utility management

Preserving institutional memory in a utility ⇒

How to ensure that a utility doesn't lose the accumulated wisdom of its employees when they retire or otherwise leave.

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA state convention, November 2009
  • Given at the Iowa Rural Water Conference, February 2010
  • Given at the Iowa AWWA short course, April 2015
  • Given at the Iowa WEA annual conference, June 2015
  • Given at the IAMU water and wastewater operators workshop, November 2018

How to communicate with utility boards and city councils ⇒

Based on first-hand interviews with city council members, this presentation offers a brief guide to better communications from a highly practical standpoint, along with a brief introduction to communications theory.

  • Given at the Iowa AWWA short course, April 2019

Practical tips for effective communications

Communication is the most-needed and (often) most-overlooked skill for getting groups of people to work together effectively. These are the tips nobody bothered to teach you in school that make communicating much more effective.

  • Given at the League of Nebraska Municipalities conference, January 2010

Ten steps to building a 21st Century water workforce ⇒

Some things you can't control at a public utility: License requirements and pay grades are usually fixed. But those aren't the only things that decide whether people take or keep their jobs. Quality of the working environment, social status, opportunities for personal growth, and other factors matter as well. These issues are worth careful consideration in light of the exodus of many skilled workers from the water industry and the shortage of qualified applicants for many positions.

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA Fall Conference, November 2017
  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water Annual Conference, March 2018
  • Given at the Iowa WEA annual conference, June 2018

Doing more with less ⇒

How to put the lessons of Toyota, Honda, and "lean" manufacturing (including benchmarks, continuous improvement, and training) to work inside utilities so you can get more done with less. Tips and strategies for providing world-class service even as budgets are drawn tight and the workforce shrinks -- while simultaneously making the work more pleasant to do.

  • Given at the Iowa WEA annual conference, June 2016
  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water conference, March 2017

Using off-the-shelf technology to improve your operations

A huge number of free and low-cost products and services are available to help you run your system with less effort and more reliability.

Computer safety 101 for utilities

Antivirus. Phishing. Spearphishing. Social media. Trojan horses. Payloads. DOS attacks. HTTPS. There's a lot to know, and you probably didn't learn any of it in school.

Disaster preparedness

Disasters usually happen when they're unexpected. What should you anticipate and prepare for?

Benchmarking for small systems

In the world of sports, a great rivalry pushes both teams to greater heights than if they were just competing against their own "personal best". It's just a fact that we, as people, compare ourselves to others. So how can small systems learn to benchmark their own performance against their peers and use those benchmarks to drive higher levels of performance? And how can civic leadership be brought on board?

Energy policy is water policy

Discusses the importance of knowing what's happening in the energy industry to professionals in the water industry.

Five communication mistakes you're probably making

The material they didn't teach you in English class, but should have.

Budgeting and funding

How to sell your project to the board ⇒

An overview of the funding environment for water and wastewater projects, how to find appropriate funding sources, and how to get key decision-makers on board with the right needs.

  • Given at the Iowa AWWA short course, August 2014
  • Given at the Iowa AWWA annual conference, October 2015
  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA Fall Conference, November 2017
  • Given at the Snowball Conference, January 2018

When $1 today is worth $2.50 tomorrow ⇒

How to calculate net present value. A dollar today isn't the same as a dollar tomorrow, and knowing how to figure out how to calculate the difference helps lead to smarter buying decisions.

  • Given at the NWOD Heartland Operators Conference in Kearney, July 2011
  • Given at the Iowa WEA annual conference, June 2017
  • Given at the Iowa WEA Region II fall conference, October 2017

What's the best-case worst-case scenario?

An introduction to techniques for making management decisions with dollars and cents in the real world. When does it make sense to look at the expected value of a project? The "maximax" scenario? The "minimax" scenario? (And what are those, anyway?) When does it make sense to look at the averages, and when is it time to make a run to Monte Carlo?

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA/WEA Fall Conference, November 2013

Maintenance and safety

Maintenance: How not to hate it (some best practices) ⇒

Practical recommendations for maintenance as well as the framework for developing best practices of your own. (The full presentation is generally a 60-minute talk, but it is easily divisible into three parts, each of which can be delivered as its own stand-alone 20- to 30-minute talk. Those parts are [1] choosing the right maintenance strategy for the right equipment, [2] practical tips and tools for better maintenance, and [3] effectively communicating the need for maintenance.)

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA state convention, November 2009
  • Given at the Iowa AWWA/WEA spring short course, April 2014
  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA state convention, November 2014
  • Given at the Iowa WEA region 4 spring meeting, April 2017
  • Given at the IAMU water and wastewater operators workshop, November 2018

Pump maintenance and safety

A basic introduction to what needs to be maintained inside a pump, how to do it, and how to stay safe in the process.

  • Given at the Heartland Diesel Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, October 2009

Pump troubleshooting ⇒

Jay-Z had 99 problems, but a broken impeller wasn't one. We've found about 50 problems that operators are likely to encounter with their pumps and have observations about identifying and addressing them.

  • Given at the DMACC Ankeny annual water conference, June 2014

Pump maintenance and troubleshooting ⇒

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA Fall Conference, November 2015
  • Given at the Nebraska Snowball Operators Conference, January 2016

Total system efficiency ⇒

A lot of attention is paid to "efficiency", but are we always looking at it from the right angles? Is a VFD always the best way to make a pump efficient? Is a pump's wire-to-water efficiency all that matters? When does making a system more efficient also make a job harder to do?

  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water Association annual conference, March 2016
  • Scheduled for the Iowa WEA annual conference, June 2019

Safety in the wastewater plant

A review of some of the major hazards in wastewater plants and how to improve worker safety.

Pump applications

Self-priming pumps ⇒

A brief introduction to everything you need to know about self-priming pumps but were afraid (or reluctant) to ask.

  • Given at the Iowa Rural Water Association short course in Johnston, Iowa, November 2008
  • Given at the Iowa Rural Water Association short course in North Liberty, Iowa, November 2008

Introduction to NPSH and cavitation ⇒

NPSH is one of the most important factors in determining pump performance, but few people know how to calculate it correctly. This presentation gives an overview along with practical tips for identifying the types of problems you'll see when NPSH is amiss.

  • Given at the Iowa WEA state convention, June 2013
  • Given at a private consulting-engineering firm, September 2013
  • Given at the Iowa WEA Region 5 annual meeting, October 2013
  • Given at the Iowa AWWA/WEA spring short course, April 2014

Improving efficiency in your distribution system ⇒

  • Given at the Iowa AWWA annual conference, October 2014
  • Given at the Iowa AWWA fall short course, September 2015

Troubleshooting pump cavitation ⇒

Learn what causes cavitation, how it affects pump performance, and how to troubleshoot cavitation problems.

  • Given at the Iowa AWWA annual conference, October 2015
  • Given to a private consulting-engineering firm, December 2015
  • Given at the Iowa Water Well Association annual conference, February 2019

Top ten wastewater pumping hassles ⇒

  • Given at the Iowa WEA Collection Systems Conference, March 2014
  • Given at the Iowa WEA Region 5 meeting, March 2014
  • Given at the Nebraska Heartland Operators Conference, July 2014
  • Given at the Iowa WEA fall short course, September 2015
  • Given at the Iowa WEA Region 4 meeting, October 2016

Introduction to pumps in a collection system ⇒

  • Given at the DMACC WET Collection Systems class, April 2015

Introduction to pump hydraulics ⇒

Pumping 101: Static and friction heads, what affects pump performance in the real world, parallel operation, series operation, cavitation, and pump selection.

  • Given at the Iowa AWWA Spring Short Course, April 2016
  • Given at the Kirkwood Annual Water Conference, June 2017

Pumps 101 with glass-faced pump demonstration ⇒

Using a glass-faced centrifugal pump, we can demonstrate the effects of problems like air entrainment and cavitation, the value of gauge readings, and oft-overlooked pumping gremlins like vortexing, minimum submergence, NPSH breaks, and more. A true hands-on "Pumps 101" class.

  • Given at the Nebraska NWOD Snowball Conference, January 2012

Selecting the right pump for the application ⇒

Pump application is a subject that gets a lot of coverage in theory, but what about in real practice? An overview of the factors that matter to a successful selection and application, including some that rarely make the textbooks.

  • Given at the Iowa AWWA spring short course, April 2017
  • Given at the Nebraska WEA Snowball Conference, January 2019

Selecting a well pump ⇒

An overview of the important factors involved in selecting and applying vertical-turbine pumps and submersible-turbine pumps in a well application.

  • Given at the Iowa Water Well Association conference, February 2018

The heavy-metal guide to pump and flow-control materials ⇒

Pumps and flow-control tools like gates and valves use a wide range of metals and non-metallic materials, including cast iron, ductile iron, stainless steel (of all grades), carbon steel, aluminum, bronze, high-chrome iron, ceramics, UHMW-PE, PTFE, neoprene rubber, and many more. When is it appropriate to use one rather than another? What matters in the selection process? And how much is it worth paying to get a "premium" material?

  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water Association conference, March 2019

The art of the possible: Pump curves and system head curves

Sizing a pump is a little bit of art and a little bit of science. This presentation gives a helpful introduction (or a handy refresher!) on how to look at pump curves and their performance envelopes within the constraints of system head curves, NPSH available, and other important considerations like priming lift and minimum required submergence.

Gauges are a pump's best friend

It may not be as exciting as an episode of "House" or any other medical drama, but using gauges can help you diagnose exactly what's wrong with your pumps faster than any stethoscope.

Wet on the inside, dry on the outside

A primer on how to select and apply suction-lift pumps to a variety of applications. Explains the different types of priming (self-priming, externally assisted priming, repriming, and automatic unattended repriming), the limiting factors involved (including NPSH and reprime capacity), and how to account for system factors that affect a pump's long-term performance.

The world of seals

Mechanical seals versus packing; the different materials used in seals; characteristics of mechanical seals; lubrication; seal-failure warning signs.

Pump stations

Key lift station design features ⇒

Some lift stations are better than others, but all of them can benefit from thoughtful design features that help ensure their reliable performance for the long term.

  • Given at the Nebraska WEA state convention, November 2010

Lift station buyer's guide ⇒

A walk through the seven major decisions that create every lift station. Sometimes you end up with a wet-pit submersible station with a valve vault and a gen set, sometimes you need a self-priming station with a walk-in enclosure and an engine backup, and in other circumstances you need a recessed station with a parallel fixed backup. One size definitely does not fit all, and if you make the right decisions in the early steps, you'll end up with a better installation for the next 25 years.

  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water Annual Conference, March 2018

Backup systems for critical pumping applications ⇒

When to use generators, engine backups, and portable pumps.

  • Given at the Iowa WEA Fall Short Course, September 2016
  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water conference, March 2017
  • Given at the Iowa WEA annual conference, June 2017
  • Given at the Great Plains Waste Management Conference, April 2018

25 ways to screw up a lift station design ⇒

And, of course, how to avoid those mistakes: From safety issues (like omitting gas detection) to engineering mistakes (putting VFDs where they don't belong), from thinking too small (about backup power options, for instance) to emerging issues (like handling flushable wipes).

  • Given at the Nebraska APWA Fall Conference, November 2018

Lift station level measurement and control options ⇒

A review of the advantages and disadvantages to various level control types (air bubblers, float switches, submersible transducers, and ultrasonic measurement) and the starter systems that respond to them (across-the-line starters, soft starters, and VFDs).

  • Given at the Great Plains Waste Management Conference, April 2017
  • Given at the Iowa WEA Region V fall conference, October 2017
  • Given at the Iowa WEA operators conference, September 2018

Revenge of the mole people ⇒

Collection system operators face a set of very serious dangers when they go below ground -- especially falls and deadly gases, but also including animal hazards, heightened electrocution risks, and assorted other injuries. Those risks can be minimized or even eliminated with creative approaches to lift station design. In this presentation, we cover 18 hazards of going below ground and 7 innovative ways to minimize or eliminate them.

  • Given at the Great Plains Waste Management Conference, April 2019
  • Scheduled for the Iowa WEA annual conference, June 2019
  • Scheduled for the Kirkwood wastewater conference, July 2019

Getting the most from your wetwell

How to get your wetwell to work harder, so that the investment you make today will continue to pay off for decades to come.

Special pumping applications

If we're running two pumps, why aren't we getting twice as much flow? ⇒

An introduction to parallel, series, and parallel-series pumping arrangements, using system head curves. Examines the limitations imposed by factors like pipe friction and the maximum working pressure of pump casings, pipes, and valve bodies. Involves an examination of pump curves matched to system head curves, and how changing conditions (like roughness within the pipe) can move performance from its original design. Plus, how to get more flow by closing a discharge valve.

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA Fall Conference, November 2015
  • Given at the Great Plains Waste Management Conference, April 2016
  • Given at the Iowa AWWA annual conference, October 2017

Those pesky solids ⇒

Pumping wastewater requires that you move plenty of solids along with your fluids. When does it make sense to grind or shred those solids, and when does it make sense to pass them instead? Should solids be managed by the pump, or should you bring in other equipment like grinders or screens? And what about the "new sewage" everyone keeps talking about -- especially wipes? Are there really technological solutions to these problems, or do old rules still apply?

  • Given at the Nebraska WEA Fall Conference, November 2018
  • Scheduled for the Kirkwood wastewater conference, July 2019

Purpose-built pumps

You wouldn't drive a moped to get lumber at the hardware store, so why would you tolerate misapplication of pumps for the wrong purpose? Here's how to make sure you're getting pumps (and pumping systems) purpose-built for your applications. Specific applications to be discussed: Sludge, septage/hauled waste, grit, headworks, main lift, brine, and nitrate waste.

Selecting a grit pump? It's not too hard.

The easiest mistake to make when selecting a grit pump is to zero in on the hardness of the materials inside the pump. Hardness matters -- but it's not the whole story. In fact, it's not even the half of it. Learn how strength goes much farther than hardness alone, and how operability issues matter just as much as what goes into the wetted parts.

Drinking from a long straw

How a self-priming pump came to the rescue for a river town that lost its wells to the Missouri River flood of 2011.

Which portable pump do you need?

Portable pumps come in all kinds of configurations (self-priming, priming-assisted, and submersible), power supplies (electrical, diesel, gasoline, and hydraulic), levels of portability (hand-carried, skid-mounted, and trailer-mounted), and controllability (hand-operated, semi-automatic, and fully automated). Which type suits your needs best?

Valves, gates, and flow control

Full throttle: How to choose the right valve for pump control applications ⇒

Butterfly valves, check valves, plug valves, AWWA-style ball valves, and many others are all in the mix when it comes to throttling applications. Each has its own profile for efficiency, size, cost, and ease of use.

  • Given at the Nebraska Heartland Operators Conference, July 2014

Face up to your shortcomings: How to select and apply seats for gates and valves

Sometimes metal seats make sense; sometimes resilient seats are required. In certain applications, wedging action is necessary; in others, a loose fit is good enough. And then there are centric, single-offset, and double-offset seats. Learn how to decide which one makes the most sense for your application.

Controlling your surges ⇒

In any pumping system, surges are the inevitable byproduct of valve openings and closures and pump startups and shutdowns. The energy has to go somewhere when circumstances change. This is an overview of what's actually taking place inside the pipes, how much energy is involved, and how it can be controlled through surge-control devices like anticipator valves. Air-release valves and vacuum-breaker valves are also covered.

  • Given at the Iowa WEA Region 5 fall meeting, October 2014
  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water Association annual conference, March 2016
  • Given at the Iowa AWWA spring short course, April 2018

Hydrant flushing

  • Given at the Iowa AWWA fall short course, September 2015
  • Given at the Kirkwood annual water conference, June 2016

Burp proudly: The importance of air-release valves ⇒

  • Given at the Iowa WEA Region 5 spring meeting, March 2016
  • Given at the Iowa WEA Region 5 spring meeting, March 2019

Gate and valve applications and maintenance ⇒

  • Given at the Iowa AWWA spring short course, April 2018

Wastewater process and treatment

Lagoon liners and baffles

An overview of the selection, application, and installation of liners and baffles in wastewater lagoons.

  • Given at the Nebraska Wastewater Operators District Snowball Conference in Kearney, Nebraska, January 2008
  • Given at the Iowa AWWA fall short course, September 2016

Rules and regulations on lagoons and small treatment plants

  • Given at the Iowa AWWA/IWPCA spring short course, April 2004

How to blow away your bugs ⇒

A history of aeration for wastewater treatment, from coarse-bubble diffusion, trickling filters, and RBCs to ceramic discs and into the present era of advanced materials.

  • Given at the Iowa AWWA spring short course, April 2016
  • Given at the Iowa WEA annual conference, June 2018

Methane recovery from wastewater lagoons

Explains how lagoons at cattle operations, hog lots, and even municipal plants can be covered and why covers may be beneficial. Discusses the benefits, including odor reduction, greenhouse-gas reduction, and energy recapture.

Weather and climate issues

Dealing with Mother Nature's attitude problem ⇒

Whether you believe in anthropogenic climate change (man-made global warming) or not, we face a lot of weather and climate extremes that require preparedness and planning.

  • Given at the Nebraska AWWA/WEA Fall Conference, November 2013
  • Given at the Nebraska Rural Water Association conference, March 2015