Elgin Takes Home Top-Ops Trophy
Larry Thomas, TOP-Ops Committee Chair
What to say, what to say...
I thought for sure this year there would be something new to write. Maybe a good underdog story…. But Elgin, the Yankees of Illinois Top-Ops, won the crown again. So maybe I can just dust off last year’s article. Not like the Splash Editor would ever catch it.
This year we had three Top-Ops teams compete in Springfield at the annual conference including:
- Mike Bourgerie
- Brad Huerta
- Jeff Luker
Lake Forest Membrane Masters
- Mike Ramsey
- Nick Gornick
- Andrea Putz
The contest was much closer this year with Elgin only pulling out of reach towards the end.
Most importantly, everyone had fun and learned a few new water facts. Hopefully, everyone’s self-esteem is still intact.
There were a couple of new things this year that added to the contest. First, we provided a TV monitor for the first time that allowed the audience to see the questions and improved their participation. Second, we changed the time to the Monday social hour so everyone was a bit more relaxed (and there was beer).
A big thank you, of course, to Robyn Doescher of Glenview for putting together the questions for the panelists again this year. I just read the questions - Robyn is the brains of the outfit.
For those of you that would be interested in next year’s Top-Ops contest, here is how it works:
Top-Ops is a contest between teams of water treatment operators. Questions asked of the contestants encompass all aspects of water supply, treatment, and distribution, and are comparable to those on the water operator certification exam. A moderator poses a variety of multiple choice questions to the panel of teams each of which attempts to respond correctly using a white board to write the letter corresponding to their response. Each team that presents a correct answer scores two points. If the answer is wrong, they lose a point. The rules are easy, the questions may not be.
Teams can consist of one, two, or three operators. Here’s the big thing: the operators on a team do not have to be from the same utility. You can put a team together representing a utility, a county, or a local operators’ association.
In order to compete in Springfield, operators do not need to be members of AWWA. They do need to work full time as a water treatment plant employee, a water distribution system employee, or as a first-line supervisor. Engineers and upper-level supervisors who do not work as a day-to-day operator are precluded from participating as an official team. (We will allow some "spring training” teams under some circumstances, but those teams are not officially entered and are not allowed to win.)
ISAWWA Conference registration is complimentary for participants for the day of the completion. ISAWWA will also provide one room night accommodation for the contestants during the conference with double occupancy. Additionally, the Illinois Section will assist with travel costs for the winning team to compete at the AWWA conference.