Operations Challenge Team - WEFTEC 2021 Competition


Due to the team's strong performance in the July 2021 NYWEA Ops Challenge Competition (click here for a summary and photos), the GVC Water Recyclers qualified for the national competition, held the week of October 18, 2021, at WEFTEC in Chicago, Illinois. The team peformed very well! Please click here to watch a video summary created by the team, and scroll down for a summary by team captain Lucas Kasperowicz and photos of the competition. Congratulations to the GVC Water Recyclers!



WEFTEC 2021, by Lucas Kasperowicz

It’s 8am on a Saturday, and I’m sitting in the Rochester airport with my team and then-girlfriend, now-fiancé, Ashley. The pressure? I couldn’t feel any. My squad as cool as cucumbers. I boarded the plane ready to go into my final battle: WEFTEC, the premiere waste water event of the year on this side of the hemisphere.


We placed 14th out of 18th in our division. Immediately after each event, we were able to identify and acknowledge the things we could have done better, which is both a good and a bad thing. In the events we do best in, collections and safety, we hit some snags and received penalties during the competition, despite them always going smoothly during practice. It just goes to show that no amount of practice can make up for unexpected issues during the real thing. Snags or not, we persevered and put our best boot forward because we work for Monroe County Pure Waters Division, and that’s just how we’re built.


It may sound defeatist to some, but having been to WEF before, I knew the bar to do well at an international competition was much higher than at any state competitions. In other words, it was clear we were going to be small fish in a very large pond (but, hey—we made it to the playoffs!). Most teams in division 1 and 2 (there are 4 divisions total) have all the equipment to practice on for every event, and many of them have consisted of the same members year after year. Unfortunately, we lack some equipment for practicing the maintenance event, and our team members are all pretty green, so the competition was fierce. I’m not trying to make excuses, but it was primarily a learning experience for our team.


One adage I always tell my fellow teammates is you either win or you learn, and learn we did. As the captain of the team, my main goal was to perform research, as much as we could, so we can be successful in future years. We were able to record not only our competition performances, but the performances of several other teams, so that the team can take away as much information as possible and become even better. So, based on my personal metric of success, we did great.


Despite our less than stellar performance, our trip to Chicago was nothing other than spectacular. As a team, we had a blast, and it really brought us closer. Working hard while practicing during the earlier part of this year and making it to WEFTEC was a blessing and an achievement in and of itself.


Due to multiple life-altering events this year, I will be stepping down from the Operations Challenge team, and Angelo Dinottia will be taking over the role as Team Captain. I have complete faith in him and the remainder of our team. I will continue to be available to the team for insight and help if required, but I have no doubts they will carry on the spirit of the Genesee Valley Chapter Water Recyclers admirably without me.