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OCWA’s OpExpo 2023 was a Great Success

Our Annual Event hosted another Record-Breaking Crowd,
with Full Training Sessions, Multiple Teams in all Competitions, and a Great BBQ

This year’s Operator Expo had everything the Orange County water community has come to expect from OCWA: a strong slate of training sessions, a wide array of spirited competitions, and a delicious barbeque lunch. Everyone had a great time as they earned Certified CE training units, interacted with dozens of vendors, and enjoyed watching or partici­pating in the contests. Plans are already underway for next year’s event.

Special thanks are due to the many Sponsors and Exhibitors who participated in this year’s event. Twenty-eight Vendors joined us to display their products, demonstrate their uses, and answer all the operator’s questions. In addition, Thirteen Sponsors stepped forward to help ensure the success of the day. Without the generous support of our Sponsors, and the dedicated attention of the Exhibitors, our event would have been nowhere near the success we all enjoyed. We are especially indebted to Irvine Ranch Water District, for once again generously hosting our event at Rattlesnake Reservoir.

Photos of all the days events,
and a listing of all the Sponsors and Vendors,
are available on the OCWA website.
Click here for the photos
and click here for Sponsors and Vendors.

There was lot to learn and even more fun to be had at this year’s annual event. We had a record number of participants sign up for this year’s event, with 230 operators, representing 25 water agencies from Orange and Los Angeles counties sign-up for the event, and the training sessions were well-attended. Each participant earned 1 contact hour for each training session attended.

In the first hour, Steve Hernandez of WaterWisePro, led the group through a wide-ranging discussion on Building the Distribution Team Through Onboarding Programs.

This presentation was followed by a thorough overview of Design and Construction of New AWWA D110 Type 1 Prestressed Concrete Tanks and Inspection, Rehabilitation, and Retrofits of Existing Concrete Infrastructure. Led by Tanner Bennett, with DN Tanks, attendees were given a comprehensive overview of the technology.

At the conclusion of the Continuing Education classes, it was time for the day’s competitions.

Six teams were prepped and ready to go for this year’s Pipe Tapping Competition. The winner scored high enough to earn fifth place on the OpExpo’s all-time Championship Rankings.

The winning team, the LADWP Tapping Kings, came in First Place with a remarkable time of 1:27.32. Close behind them, in Second Place with a time of 1:34.16, were the Santa Ana West Coast Tappers.

Other teams that competed included the L.A. Tappers, the Huntington Beach Tappers, and a team from Anaheim and a second team from Santa Ana.

Special thanks to Boyd Schultz with Laguna Beach County Water District who organized and ran the Pipe Tapping Contest. Set up for the event was done the day before by crews from both IRWD and LBCWD. Afterwards, teams from the City of Santa Ana, City of Anaheim, and Irvine Ranch Water District assisted with dismantling and the final cleanup of the event.

In the morning’s other event, almost two dozens teams signed up for what turned into a spirited Horseshoe Competi­tion. Ably organized and run by Fred Ojeda from Yorba Linda Water District, the event was a real crowd pleaser, with many close matches. First Place was taken by a team from Irvine Ranch Water District, while Second Place went to a team from Yorba Linda Water District.

The morning’s educational sessions and competi­tions were capped off with a delicious lunch catered by Blake’s Place of Anaheim, followed by an opportunity drawing with a great range of prizes donated by the sponsors and vendors, every­thing from tools to gift cards.

All agreed it was a great day of education and compe­ti­tion, and every­one left look­ing forward to 2024’s event. Should you have suggestions for improving next year’s event, contact anyone on the OCWA Board. And make plans now to attend next year’s event!

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