The Fire Chief Project: A little tour goes a long way

A Wyoming clean-water plant gives a one-on-one tour to a student – and reaps publicity

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How readily does your clean-water plant welcome tours? The treatment plant in Casper, Wyo., entertained just one engineering student for a tour recently, and got great notices in the newspaper as a result. Here is a letter the student wrote to the Casper Star Tribune:

“I am a student of civil engineering, working on the water works portion of my bachelor's degree. Several weeks ago, I decided to call the wastewater treatment facility and see if they would give me a tour of the facility for the purpose of clarifying some of the environmental aspects of my studies.

“To my pleasant surprise, they give tours to anybody who wants one. I wanted to write the editor and encourage anyone and everyone to take a tour of the public water works, if it's allowed, and see just where our tax dollars are spent. The tour really does a good job of showing how and more importantly why our sewer and water bills seem to increase every year.

For me, my tour was an eye-opening experience and excellent opportunity to learn more about how our wastewaters are treated and discharged back into the river. For that, I wanted to thank the wastewater treatment facility for giving me the opportunity to learn more about just one aspect of civil engineering.”

I’ll bet even the fire chief hesitates to offer station tours for just one person. The lesson is that if you want to raise your status in the community toward fire chief levels, you need to err on the side of being more welcoming, not less.



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