If You Entered a Team in the Ops Challenge, What Would You Call It?

The WEF Operations Challenge is a great exercise in team-building and celebrating excellence. The names of the teams are an important part of the fun.

In a couple of months, a team of operators from all over the U.S. and around the world will join the Operations Challenge at WEFTEC.

I’ve watched some of the challenge events, and it’s inspiring to see the team members’ enthusiasm, and how seriously they take the competition. But there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun on the way, and that starts with the names the teams choose for themselves.

If you look at the results from past years’ competitions (visit www.rmwea.org/docs/2022_WEF_Ops_Challenge_Final_Scores.pdf), you’ll find any number of team names all but certain to bring a smile.

One might argue that what might be called the “poopy names” are a bit denigrating to the profession, whose members, of course, perform work of incredible value and worthy of great respect. But then, operators can be excused for refusing to take themselves too seriously, at least in the context of competing with their peers for bragging rights and recognition.

Taking a look back

The Water Environment Federation certainly takes the Operations Challenge seriously. Why else would the organization post a history of the competition, going back to 2000, on its website? (Visit www.weftec.org/attend/operations-challenge.)

In looking back over about 10 years of challenge results, it’s great to see the variety of team names. I imagine it lends an extra note of energy and enjoyment when operators feel proud not just of their skills but of the team name on their shirts. I found four basic kinds of names that appeal to me for different reasons.

Intimidators. These are serious names that denote teams with serious intentions about winning the competition. In order of my preference:

  1. Lethal Concentration, WEA of South Carolina
  2. Centrifugal Force, WEA of Texas
  3. LA Wrecking Crew, California WEA
  4. Elevated Ops, Rocky Mountain WEA
  5. Terminal Velocity, Virginia WEA
  6. Critical Motions, Chesapeake WEA
  7. Controlled Chaos, WEA of South Carolina

Plays on words. These names have a little fun with the raw material of the clean-water profession.

  1. Pooseidons, WEA of Texas (you know, Poseidon the sea god, aka Neptune)
  2. Charley’s Chocolate Factory, WEA of South Carolina
  3. 50 Shades of Brown, Indiana WEA
  4. 50 Shades of Grey Water, WEA of South Carolina
  5. Sewerside Squad, Rocky Mountain WEA
  6. Sanitary Confinement, Pennsylvania WEA
  7. Commode Commandos, Rocky Mountain WEA
  8. Brown Tide, New York WEA
  9. 69th Street Poo Mafia, WEA of Texas
  10. Motley Poo, Chesapeake WEA (as in Motley Crue, the rock band)

Pride of profession. These teams chose to emphasize the real work they do, and the importance of it.

  1. River Guardians, WEA of Texas, Trinity River Authority
  2. River Rangers, Pacific Coast Clean Water Association
  3. Watershed Warriors, New York WEA
  4. WOW (Women of Wastewater), North Carolina WEA
  5. Genesee Water Recyclers, New York WEA
  6. Smooth Operators, North Carolina WEA
  7. Fluid Mechanics, Chesapeake WEA
  8. Blue Wave, Chesapeake WEA

Pride of place. These teams are named after the area they come from, or a prominent feature of it.

  1. Force Maine, New England WEA
  2. Harlem Pumptrotters, New York WEA
  3. Bowery Bay Coyotes, New York WEA
  4. 808 Island Sharks, Hawaii WEA (808 is the Hawaii area code)
  5. Mesquite Rangers, WEA of Texas
  6. Seacoast Sewer Snakes, New England WEA
  7. Utah Wasatch All-Stars, WEA of Utah
  8. LUS Cajuns, Louisiana WEA
  9. Great Danes, Denmark
  10. Blueridge Brawlers, Virginia WEA
  11. Ocean State Alliance, New England WEA
  12. Kelowna Heat, British Columbia Water and Wastewater Association

Some of these teams have taken part in the challenge just once or twice. Others have competed for multiple years, and some have walked away with high places in their divisions.

Operations Challenge is a great feature of WEFTEC and an excellent change for operators to shine. If your organization hasn’t entered the Challenge, maybe this is the time to think about putting a team together for 2024.  



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