The face of water’s future

Oct. 18, 2019
Nick Hines is a certified water technician and the nation’s first NRWA Apprenticeship Program graduate.
By Angela Godwin

It was Nick Hines’s last year of college. With a wedding just around the corner and a house that needed remodeling, he was looking for a steady gig to pay the bills. “When my wife and I went into BBP Water Corporation to pay our first bill, I mentioned to them, ‘If you ever need someone to work for you, give me a call.’”

Just two years later, Nick is proud to be a certified water technician with BBP Water Corporation in Spencer, Ind., and the very first graduate of the National Rural Water Association’s (NRWA) Apprenticeship Program.

Launched in July 2017, the NRWA Apprenticeship Program, which is approved by the Department of Labor, is designed to ensure a water sector workforce that’s well trained and capable of meeting the demands of the industry. There are currently 17 approved State Association programs and 13 more that are in development.

“I am the very first person in the nation to complete the Apprenticeship Program and receive my degree for it,” Nick told me with palpable excitement.

It wasn’t always easy but Nick was determined to reach his goal no matter what the obstacle. Even Mother Nature couldn’t stand in his way.

“A couple of months ago, my home town was hit with an EF2 tornado,” he said. “It caused a lot of damage.” At one point, Nick witnessed his neighbor’s roof blown off by the strong winds. “I felt very blessed that I only had one limb go down,” he said. “But we were without power for four days.”

That didn’t keep Nick from working on his classes. “I turned on my generator, turned on my phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot, and I kept working. A tornado couldn’t stop me from finishing this program on time.”

Looking back over his experiences the past couple of years, Nick believes the apprenticeship program has helped him develop a mindset for the field and turned a “job” into a career. “It’s really educated me,” he said. “It’s made me really well rounded in the field and broadened my horizons.”

It has also led him to a work environment where his fellow employees are more than just coworkers. They’ve “become a second family,” Nick said. “We’re really close. I spend a lot of time with them. If they ever need anything, or I need anything, they’re there to help me, just like a family.”

The future looks bright for Nick, who said he plans to keep advancing his career. “I might even consider getting more state licenses for what I do, just to kind of back myself up in this field and keep it going strong.”

I have no doubt he’ll do just that. His determination, resourcefulness, and sheer excitement about being in water will ensure his success and serve him — and our industry — well.

Congratulations, Nick! The water industry is lucky to have you. WW

Editor’s Note: To learn more about the NRWA Apprenticeship Program, please visit

About the Author

Angela Godwin | Editorial Director

Angela Godwin is the previous editorial director for Endeavor Business Media's Process/Water Group. 

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