When Senior Plant Operator Joseph Nowetner began his career 12 years ago, he set his mind on one goal: to obtain the highest license possible in the Wastewater field. After years of work and dedication, Nowetner is one of the few Class A Wastewater licensed operators in the State of Texas.
What do you do as a Senior Plant Operator?
I make sure that the equipment in the water treatment process operates properly so that we treat the dirty water that comes to us before it enters Clear Creek. It’s amazing to me because, since the dawn of Earth, there has been no new water produced because water is cyclable. You are never going to have more of it, so you have to reuse what you have. What we do is absolutely essential for the environment and the community.
How long have you worked for the City and how did you start?
I will complete my 12th year in September. I started working for League City after meeting Jody Hooks through softball. After one of our games, some of the guys mentioned a position opening up with the City and somebody suggested that I apply. At the time, I was working as a manager at Papa John’s Pizza. I applied and came in originally to work as a Rounds position, but right when I started, a utility operator position opened and Jody called me to take the position.
How have you grown within your position?
I came into this field knowing nothing about it, but I had a goal of becoming a supervisor within a year, which is technically somewhat unrealistic. However, I was able to get extra certifications to become a licensed operator within a year instead of two years and everything fell into place. I became a senior plant operator and a licensed plant operator within a year.
You recently received a Class A Wastewater license, what does that mean?
The Class A Wastewater license is the highest license we can receive in the field of wastewater and it was issued to me in February. It was pretty tough to obtain, it takes a minimum of 8 years working in the field and many hours of TCEQ training. The test is made up of 80 multiple choice questions and four essay questions.
How did it feel to achieve that?
It was a goal of mine from day one to get the highest license in this field that I could achieve. The coolest part was that I got a phone call from TCEQ a few days after taking the test to congratulate me. It was incredible because all I expecting was a letter. The person with TCEQ told me to make sure I cherished this achievement because there’s not a lot of licensed wastewater operators anymore, and that I got the highest grade in my testing session. I was on cloud nine after receiving that phone call.
Favorite part about your job?
I honestly wish I knew about this job ten years earlier that I got into it. I love the fact that I’m serving my community and knowing that what I’m doing is worth something to people. I also love the guys I work with and work for, we really have a great group. Jody and Ramiro wanted me to learn and know what they do and it made me a better operator.
Hobbies outside of work?
I play softball and like to hang out with my fiancé and my family.
Three words to describe yourself:
Loyal, dedicated, and willing to serve.
Fun facts about yourself?
I worked the Super Bowl while I was with Papa John’s at the Patriots vs. Panthers game, so I met a lot of famous bands and football players. That was a great experience. I worked other special events and got to meet and hang out with a lot of celebrities like the Foo Fighters.
I am also hoping to get married to my high school sweetheart before then end of this year.