Veterans in Water: Kody Tompkins, City of Barstow

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Kody Tompkins, Chief Plant Operator
Army/Served 9 years

What is your role?

I’m the Chief Plant Treatment Plant Operator for the City of Barstow’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. I hold a Grade V Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, Grade IV Collection System Maintenance, Grade II Water Treatment Operator, and Grade II Water Distribution Certificates.

What / who inspired you to work in water?

I fell into the environmental sector by accident in 2002 as a laborer at the facility. I had no clue what I was getting myself into, but the Chief at the time said, don’t you want to be a part of something great?! You can protect and save more lives in a day than a doctor in his/her lifetime. I was hooked from that moment, going from laborer to Chief.

What fuels your passion for your work?

I love the challenge of running a facility. From the day to day operations and problem solving, to the great personnel I get the pleasure of working with. All with the same goal in mind, protect the environment and provide the greatest service possible to our community.

What is the biggest mis-perception about working in water?

Most people don’t even think about what happens when they flush and if they do, it generally is followed with the “yuck” mentality. It is so much more than that, there isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t learn something new or presented with a new challenge. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Why should veterans join this field?

Veterans usually bring a great set of skills and characteristics to the table that are so valuable to the water sector. The military builds discipline, attention to detail, pride, leadership, strong work ethic, and they never accept failure.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

Being able to walk away each day feeling that I’ve had a direct hand in protecting the local environment is the best feeling.



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