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With a little more than five years’ experience, Troy Bemisdarfer has already made a name for himself at the Big Bear (Calif.) Area Regional Wastewater Agency. A quiet, good-natured 25-year-old, he earned the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) 2012 Operator of the Year Award while still learning the wastewater business.

Bemisdarfer’s determination and drive have gained the attention of his boss and atta-boys from co-workers. Francis Hobbs, a 20-year veteran operator, says, “The kid does real good work; he’s our hope for the future.” Nick Josenhans, who joined in 2011, agrees: “Troy has taught me a lot about what it takes to keep the plant running. He’s made me feel like part of the team.”

CWEA based the award on criteria including knowledge of the job, overall performance, operational responsibilities and contributions to the facility.