“I can say that personally you get back what you put in to an organization. I have put a lot of time into CWEA and I believe I have gotten back everything that I have put in.”
CWEA Board of Directors
Chair, Training Coordination Committee
Environmental Compliance Inspector Grade 4
Laboratory Analyst Grade 4
This month’s leader Q&A is with Cassie Pruhdel, a member of CWEA’s Board and Chair of the Training Coordination Committee. Cassie is a retired Technical Services Supervisor for the City of South San Francisco. She is now President of her own company, Casandra Prudhel Consulting.
1. How did you get your first job in our profession?
I got my first job in wastewater in 1977. I was getting married and needed to relocate to the Bay Area. I checked the want ads and there was a job for a wastewater lab tech. with background in microbiology, biology and/or chemistry. A perfect fit for me.
2. How did you first get involved as a CWEA volunteer?
I went to a dinner meeting in the mid-90’s and our assistant superintendent introduced me to the Santa Clara Valley Section chair who introduced me to the current state lab chair. They needed a local section lab chair, so I volunteered.
I was local section lab chair from that point until I retired in 2012.I have most enjoyed planning training both at the local section level and the state level.
3. What does it mean to you being a certified Laboratory professional and why is it important for our profession?
It meant that I had demonstrated my knowledge by passing the certification tests. For my agency it is required to have a grade four to be a supervisor.
When I took on the additional duties of the Environmental Compliance Supervisor I also had to obtain grade four Environmental Compliance Inspector (ECI) certification.
4. What was it like for you taking your Lab certification tests? Any advice for test takers?
I admit that I went straight to the grade three after working for the City for four years.
I then waited 12 years before taking the grade four. I took it once in 1994 and did not pass, then I waited another five years before taking it again. It did take me numerous attempts to pass the grade four lab.
I was luckier with the ECI tests. I took one grade level per year for four years and was able to pass each one.
My advice: STUDY, STUDY, STUDY and don’t give up.
5. Is there something surprising about the lab profession most people don’t know?
The lab profession isn’t for everyone. I consider myself a “lab rat” at heart. To me working at the bench is very fulfilling and not monotonous at all because each analysis and each sample is different.
Some people look at lab work as boring doing the same thing over and over but I never found that to be true.
6. Do any fellow CWEA volunteers stand out as particularly inspiring?
Well, Kathy Suter stands out as the first female president of the organization and also my personal mentor.
7. What should new people know about the laboratory profession and CWEA?
It is a wonderful field that is always changing. Wastewater will be the salvation of many drought stricken areas and it is exciting to be a part of that.
I believe that being part of CWEA is very rewarding. You make many contacts and can build a huge network of skilled professionals who are always willing to help out. Networking is one of the most positive aspects of CWEA. I have enjoyed the camaraderie a great deal. I also get a lot of satisfaction from the acknowledgement that I have helped the organization and fellow members.
I can say that personally you get back what you put in to an organization.
I have put a lot of time into CWEA and I believe I have gotten back everything that I have put in and then some.
Do you want to become involved in CWEA’s Training Coordination Committee, write Cassie firstname.lastname@example.org
Have advice for new people entering our profession? Add your ideas in the comments field below…