Two TasWater staff were awarded at the Water Industry Operators Association of Australia (WIOA) operator of the year awards.

Announced at a ceremony at the Ti Tree Bend sewage treatment plant in Launceston on Thursday 15 November 2018, Brad Housego was named Young Operator of the Year, and Rod Innes named Operator of the Year.

The pair will travel to New Zealand for a study tour and take part in the WIOA NZ conference.

The awards, the most prestigious for TasWater’s operations staff, are in their third year and

recognise the contribution of employees who are operationally responsible for network systems or community water and wastewater treatment plants.

“Our operators are at the frontline of making sure TasWater provides safe and quality drinking water, and effective sewage services, across Tasmania,” TasWater Service Optimisation Department Manager, Sonia Green, said.

“Through the effort they put into their roles on a daily basis, Brad and Rod have both shown they are worthy recipients of these awards.”

Mr Innes, who oversees water treatment in the Huon Valley, said he was proud of his win.

“I’ve had 35 years in the water industry so it’s nice to be recognised for what I’ve achieved and put into it over the years,” Mr Innes said.

“I still enjoy my work and seeing how the water industry has changed and improved from the early days to now.

“I’m very impressed with the next generation coming through. They’ve got to be more on the ball today than the early days in my work experience, but I think we’re all up to the challenge.”

Mr Housego, known as Tonka to his friends and colleagues, is part of the Central Highlands group of operators and said his Young Operator of the Year win was a surprise.

“It was unexpected. I’m not the only one who runs the plant, everyone keeps it running,” Mr Housego said.

Mr Housego said maintaining water quality could be a challenge at older plants, sometimes requiring long days and lots of driving, but he was happy to have completed his plumbing apprenticeship.

His nominator said he was always a step ahead with safety, rectifying hazards immediately, and was always looking at how things could be done better.

“Congratulations to Rod and Brad and I look forward to hearing about the things they learn on their study tour and NZ conference, and how they might apply to their daily work here with TasWater,” Ms Green said.

Image supplied by TasWater. Image shows Operator of the Year 2018, Rod Innes.

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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