National Apprenticeship Week Spotlight – Joni Synatschk
Joni Synatschk started her career after college in the health field working in laboratory research of virology, immunohematology, serology and urology. During her first year, she was working on research including the setback for private drinking water wells from on-site sewage disposal systems by studying the movement of viruses flushed down the toilet. The State laboratory was one of the first in Florida to do cryptosporidium testing in water. Little did she know, 10 years later, she would accept a job as a microbiologist at the City of Tallahassee Utilities’ certified laboratory working solely in water and wastewater. During 18 years with the City, she became very active in well remediation, distribution, wastewater and collection processes. Joni was able to work with and supervise laboratory, pretreatment, water and wastewater sampling, cross connection control and other aspects of the utilities’ requirements.
For the past three years, Joni worked with the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as Program Administrator for the Drinking Water, Operator Certification and Underground Injection Control Programs. During her time with the State regulatory programs, it became apparent that Florida’s number of active operator licenses is approximately 1 to 1 with the number of drinking water and wastewater facilities. This did not consider the number of operators that hold 2 and 3 licenses or those licensed operators that do not use the license for their daily job such as Engineers, management and consultants.
After leaving DEP, Joni was given the opportunity to work with Florida Rural Water Association as the Apprenticeship Coordinator. She has been with FRWA for eight months now and gratefully embraces the opportunity to educate and introduce the public to the water and wastewater industry.