Michael Buchholzer – WCW Member Profile

Working-in-Water-logoWCW Member Profile – Michael Buchholzer

Michael BuchholzerName: Michael Buchholzer
Position: Director of Environmental Services
Organization: City of Yorkton/Yorkton SK
Core Function: Management of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, Water Treatment Plant, Landfill, Recycling and Project Management for affiliated facilities.
Born and Raised: I was born and raised in Melville, Saskatchewan.  I left Melville when I was 18 years old to complete my education. I then worked for a short time in Nipiwin Saskatchewan, where I was an inspector for Saskpower’s Hydro Dam.

Education/Training

Completed a diploma in Civil Engineering Technology from the SIAST Palliser Campus in 1983.  I have a Class 4 Certification in Water Treatment, Wastewater Treatment, Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection.

History in the industry and as a WCW member

Industry:

I started in the water and wastewater industry as an operator when I was 23 years old. I was fascinated by the design, engineering, and biological processes that occurred within mechanical wastewater facilities. My position of operator was short lived, I progressed to Manager of Water and Wastewater and now Director of Environmental Services. Throughout my career I have managed numerous capital projects such as the installation of water/sewer trunk mains and the largest project in the City’s history, the construction and design of the Logan Green Water Management System which includes the Queen Street Water Treatment Plant.

WCW Member:

I have been a long term member of WCS AWWA and respect the hard work and programs coordinated through the support of WCW. The summits, workshops, and conferences are educational training aids for managers, operators, consultants and municipal leaders are a window to obtaining information as it relates to changes in federal/provincial policy and regulations and provide training in the water industry.

Typical day

I start my mornings reviewing and responding to email inquires such as residential and commercial development servicing, dealing with consultants and provincial regulators in regards to our landfill expansion and the new wastewater regulations, discussion with the Ministry of Agriculture regarding the operations of our large scale composting program, and working with business and community groups to create new and innovative recycling or composting programs.

I work as a team with other city departments such as public works, planning and engineering and finance, working closely with developers to create a service plan that meets their needs and future growth of the city.

Job satisfaction

I like the work diversity and the ability to use your imagination on projects. As Yorkton goes through a period of unprecedented growth I am proud and excited to be part of a team that has planned for our future. We have laid the foundation for great things to come, a 40 year plan for our landfill, a sewer and water distribution master plan, and a water treatment facility that will meet the city’s requirements for the next 25 years.

Main challenges

I think our biggest challenge is succession planning. Obtaining educated and experienced staff is difficult. The City operates a Class 3 water treatment facility and Class 4 wastewater facility. We are a small community and require our operators to be certified at both certification levels. Operators, certified to this level, are difficult to find or nonexistent.

Career highlights/Mentors

I have a few career highlights. My first would be the Logan Green Water Management System. This project received 3 national awards and 2 provincial awards. It was a project that involved working with community groups, federal and provincial organizations, watershed groups, wild life fish and game, and consultants. It was created by the community, for the community.  A personal accomplishment was receiving my Class 4 certification in water treatment, wastewater treatment, water distribution and wastewater collection.

I don’t specifically have a mentor, but I have many individuals who have guided me through life and helped me “mold” my view points.  Some of my past and present supervisors, consultants I worked with, councils, city staff, have all influenced me.

Advice for a successful career

Listen to your clients. As a utility provider, we must realize that residents cannot cancel their service and sign up with a new service provider. We are here to service the community. Another point would be to take criticism positively. Listen to what individuals have to say and see if you can change your methodology.

Time away from work

During the summer, I enjoy spending time at the lake golfing, fishing and boating. My winter activities consist of travelling to warmer climates, ice fishing and snowmobiling.

Our Partners AWWOA MWWA NTWWA SWWA WCSAWWA WCWEA WCMSSA