Fontus Blue: How long have you been in the industry? How long have you been at your utility company?
Schaffer: I’ve been in the industry for 23 years and at Wilmington Water and Wastewater for five years.Fontus Blue: What is the size of the community you serve? How many service connections vs. population?
Schaffer: We serve 5,000 customers with a population of 12,400. Fontus Blue: What is a challenge your utility company is facing this year? What do you expect to be an upcoming challenge in 2023? What about the next 5 years?
Schaffer: On the wastewater side, we are designing a new plant. On the water side, PFAS is a problem in our reservoirs. In 2023, I expect inflation will put major pressure on utilities to increase rates much more than has been necessary in the past 10 to 15 years. And in five years, aging infrastructures are going to become even more of a problem.Fontus Blue: Has working with Fontus Blue changed/improved your utility and utility operations? How so?
Schaffer: Fontus Blue’s software and staff have provided great input for both the water and wastewater operations. Their input has given us confidence we are doing the right things to best serve our customers. Fontus Blue: If you could share one piece of advice with other utility personnel and leaders in the space, what would it be?
Schaffer: My advice for others in the industry would be to make all decisions with the intention of providing the best product and service for the customer. Fontus Blue: What are some relevant newsletters, blogs, or industry leaders you follow for insights and inspiration?
Schaffer: Both AWWA
provide great information on trends in the industry.