The Fire Chief Project: Another perspective on names

"Center" instead of "facility"? "Team" instead of "staff"? What do you think?

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TPO has suggested calling wastewater treatment plants by a different name (such as “clean water plant”). Organizations such as the National Rural Water Association have suggested calling people who work in these plants something other than “operator” (like “technician” or “specialist”).

Here’s a bit of feedback from someone in the profession. Frank Barosky, wastewater manager in Fairborn, Ohio, writes:

“I entered this field after a 20-year career as a U.S. Air Force officer. I didn’t think the term ‘wastewater plant’ was describing the positive aspect of the profession, so in our city I pushed for a change and worked with the team to pick a new name. We decided upon the Fairborn Water Reclamation Center, and the city manager and council agreed.

“It may not be the best name, but it at least put the emphasis on what we actually do – reclaiming ‘used’ water by making it environmentally suitable and putting it back into the environment. We purposely chose ‘center’ instead ‘facility’ because (in our minds at least) ‘facility’ simply emphasizes a building or group of buildings, whereas a ‘center’ emphasizes a place where people think.

“When we give tours, we provide one of two handouts – which one depends on the nature of the group. Each includes a mission statement and objectives, which were developed by the WRC team. If you don’t where you’re going, any road will get you there.

“Finally, we prefer ‘team’ as opposed to ‘staff’ when referring to ourselves, since ‘team’ better describes a group of individuals working together toward a common goal.”

What do you think of Frank’s ideas? Send a note to and register your opinion or suggestions.

In the meantime, one thing is certain: Names that truly reflect what the profession does (and highlight end product, not raw material) support the aims of The Fire Chief Project:
· Raise clean-water professionals to the status of the fire chief.
· Make kids grow up wanting to be clean-water professionals.


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