History

What would eventually become Operator CERTIFICATION Training, Inc. was proposed in early 1986 when members of the State of California Health Division, Sanitary Engineering Department, approached company co-founder, Robert A. Funk, P.E., CET with a request to begin teaching municipal water plant operator certification courses during the evening at Delta Community College in Stockton, California. The need for formalized training and the opportunity to teach evening courses during the Spring of 1986 was the start of a new teaching career for Robert Funk.

 

The business of offering municipal utility operator training as a private enterprise started as a part-time venture in February of 1987 when Mr. Funk conducted his first private training session in Sacramento, California under the company name of R.A. Funk & Associates. The two-day weekend program was attended by 30 people supported by a small mailing of only 300 pieces.

 

By mid-1987, Funk signed on as an instructor with Northwest Center For Professional Education (N.W.C.P.E ) in Portland, Oregon to teach water treatment classes in several areas of the country. However, before very many programs were completed, N.W.C.P.E. was sold to a larger seminar firm in the Eastern United States in late 1988. The new owners promptly closed the Portland office and canceled all of N.W.C.P.E.’s environmental training contracts. As a matter of necessity, Robert A. Funk and Ronald M. Sharman, subsequently joined forces and formed Operator CERTIFICATION Training (OCT) as a partnership in early 1988 in order to continue offering part-time water and wastewater certification review classes. At that time, Mr. Funk was employed full-time as a staff environmental (sanitary) engineer by a local consulting engineering firm while Mr. Sharman was a full-time staff instructor of water and wastewater at nearby Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon.

 

In 1991, OCT was re-organized as a full “C” Oregon corporation by the Funk family when Mr. Sharman chose to leave the partnership. Although still operated as a part-time training venture, the firm was starting to grow. That same year, Mr. Funk became a Certified Environmental Trainer (CET) by education, experience and written examination to qualify the firm for contracts with the U.S. Government; particularly the Navy and Air Force.

 

By 1993, OCT, Inc. evolved into a full-time professional training organization offering training services in three western states. As a full-time business, the organization was now in a position to offer a full menu of training/education services; operations seminars, workshops and certification review sessions for water and wastewater operator personnel nationwide utilizing a network of highly qualified, contract instructors. A complete spectrum of training was then offered in water treatment plant operations, wastewater treatment plant operations, distribution system operations, collection system operations, pumps, and management training year-round for both public, and in-house, sessions across the country. Please contact us for a complete Class Catalog which lists over 65 prepared classes that OCT staff members deliver for water – wastewater operators.

 

As of September, 1994, the company was able to offer registered professional environmental engineering services when Mr. Funk became a fully-licensed, registered professional civil/environmental engineer specializing in water / wastewater project work.

 

By 1995, the list of self-study materials first published by Mr. Funk in 1986 – 87 had also grown considerably. At this time, OCT become a recognized industry publisher and distributor of approximately 100 water / wastewater training manuals and aides for operators throughout the United States via direct mail. Each year since, the company has added approximately three new manuals to its list of publications. Some of OCT’s published training manuals are also used by community colleges to conduct evening classes.

 

During mid-1996, the company purchased a state-of-the-art, fully digital computer based, VHS desktop video production system to move forward with production of a host of VHS video training tapes for water plant, water distribution operators, wastewater plant and collection system operators. In time, OCT expects to have the most inclusive library of instructional videos for operators available within the water industry. Now, the company was in a position to provide off-the-shelf prepared and recorded classes in mathematics and operations theory, plus custom produced VHS tapes which run from 1.5 – 3.0 hours.

 

In April, of 1998, the company added an interactive CD-ROM writer to address operator needs via computer. Each of the above technologies provides the company with a means to extend its services via Distance Learning programs to accommodate small and remote small water system, or wastewater system, operators who are unable to travel to central training locations.

Several years ago, it was brought to the Company’s attention that there was a need for translation of training materials into several foreign languages; notably Spanish. Within the past two years, a number of water plant operator self-study manuals have been translated into Spanish. To ensure accuracy in Spanish language translations, OCT has worked with the Mexican Institute of Water Technology in Morelos, Mexico.

 

In the Spring of 2000, OCT, inc. opened its own printing and publishing department to provide better service, and faster service to the water – wastewater industry. Operators will find over 100 workbooks, training aides, practice examinations and other support items in our Product Catalog.

 

In February 2001, OCT, Inc. applied to IACET (International Association of Continuing Education and Training) to become an Authorized Provider of Classes for Water / Wastewater Operators.

 

On July 17, 2001 OCT Inc. was appointed an Authorized Provider by IACET. On August 22, 2001, IACET listed Operator Certification Training, Inc. on its website under “Authorized Providers” with a direct link to OCT’s web site.

 

OCT opened its first permanent Northern California classroom facility in April / May 2003 in Building 1017 at the former McClellan AFB located 8 miles north of downtown Sacramento off highway 80. It is now called McClellan Park.

 

OCT Academy is currently applying for additional academic credentials from the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE) to become a Degree Granting School. June, 2004.

 

September 2011, OCT was awarded their first grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant benefits small water system operators located in the northern regions of California, southern Oregon, and Washington state. The grant will enable small water system operators to attend courses and classes for $25.00 each. This is a huge benefit for small water system operators.

 

September 2012, OCTWQA was again awarded a grant from the United States Department of Agricultre. The grant will enable small water system operators in the Northern and central regions of California, Nevada, and southern Oregon to attend classes and courses for $25.00. This small water systems grant helps operators who serve in communities with 10,000 people or fewer.

 

 

Non-Profit School

In 2007,and to comply with the State of California, Water Resources Control Board, Title 23, 1972 Water Certification regulations, OCT Academy opened OCT Water Quality Academy, by filing 501 (c) (3) Articles of Incorporation to become non-profit school. Shortly afterward, members of the wastewater certification office worked with OCT staff pesonnel to develop a full wastewater class catalog that lists over 40 classes that are accepted for academic class credit. OCT is now looked upon as the successor to the old WQCI state funded training program that was formerly based in San Marcos, CA. It was closed in 1995 for lack of funding.

 

Currently, at McClellan Park, OCT, Inc. has seven(7) full-time, and four(4) part-time employees. More information regarding our staff and their individual responsibilities can be found on our Organizational Chart.

 

As of June of 2012, OCT, inc legally became OCTWQA, Operator Certification Training Water Qualtiy Academy. The movement from one entity to another allows OCTWQA to operate at a non-profit 503(c) status. OCTWQA will use this non-profit status to help educate the operators nationally, apply for grants which will further operator education, and continue to strive for excellence in education. The new non-profit status, coupled with the grant writing program, will strengthen the mission statement -

"Through education each operator can meet his / her responsibility to protect the health and

well-being of the community he / she serves."


OCT Academy and Water Quality Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges,
programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on
the basis of its educational policies, admissions policies and other school administered programs.