5 Questions with a Pipe Cleaning PRO – Shawn P. Austin Sr.

Name: Shawn P. Austin Sr.

Employer: Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD)

Job Title: Flow Monitoring Technician

Years in the Industry: 3 years in the sewer industry, 16 years in public utilities (13 with the City of Cleveland Water)

1. How did you get your start in the industry?

I got my start with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District on October 31, 2016, as a Field Technician with the Sewer Systems Maintenance and Operations Department.

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I was promoted to Flow Monitoring Technician in May of 2018.

Prior to my career at the Sewer District, I worked for the City of Cleveland’s Department of Public Utilities for 13 years. At the City I was a machinist helper (3 years), machinist (3 years), vibration analyst

(6 years) and then I transitioned into management, where I held the position of machinist supervisor (1 year).

2. What does your typical day look like?

A typical day for me starts off with verifying data by checking screens to ensure the integrity and quality of data that has been collected in NEORSD’s sanitary sewer collection system. Other essential functions that may be included in a typical work day for me includes the installation, maintaining, repairing and troubleshooting of portable level and flow monitoring equipment including meters, sensors, and communication cables to provide data and evaluate automated site operation to reduce combined sewer overflow frequency and volume.

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Another aspect of my daily tasks is investigating the operational condition of various combined sewer regulators, outfalls, sanitary sewers, and stormwater conduits and streams. My team and I will then collect and assemble the data from various internal and external sources to assist in the investigation of the wastewater collection system and stormwater related problems. Lastly, my team and I will review, evaluate, and respond to the Ohio Utility Protection Service notices as directed.

3. What is the No. 1 challenge facing our industry?

I feel as though the public does not understand the specifics of our industry and the importance of protecting our environment. Whether it’s clean and safe drinking water, or returning treated wastewater back to our rivers and lakes, our work is critical to protect public health.

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4. What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with your fellow PROs?

Approach your job as if you are creating or building a legacy. Perform your job diligently and safely, to your best abilities, knowing that the work you perform daily will someday positively impact and improve your family’s lives, as well as the lives of others for generations to come.

5. When you are not at work, what is one thing you enjoy as much as being a Pipe Cleaning PRO?

Mentoring, coaching and training young student athletes to be the TOTAL ATHLETE: Mind, Body and Spirit. I coach and coordinate a youth organization that trains youth athletes from ages 6-14. My organization commits to teaching a social economic development component, by providing our young student athletes with character training that is paralleled with team building activities, in efforts to cultivate and help them develop the proper mindset for success.

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