GRAND CHUTE — It's a profession that some may take for granted, but Fox Valley Technical College plumbing instructor Randy Lorge teaches his students how important their trade really is.
"So many people think that plumbing is just about putting pipes together," Lorge said. "It's their purpose as a tradesman to provide safe, potable water."
That's why his student Adam Koenigs was thrilled to join Lorge in a global plumbing competition.
"I think all plumbers' work makes a big impact," Koenigs said.
Koenigs and Lorge, along with another student, Peter Hollmaier, will be part of Team USA in the 2015 Community Plumbing Challenge. They'll travel to Nashik, India.
"I'm always excited to make a difference," Koenigs said.
Team USA and three other global teams will compete, creating designs to revamp the plumbing in an Indian school.
"Our project is to develop and implement a new hand-washing system for the school," Lorge said. "Currently the school has 500 kids and they only have three sinks."
The designs will be judged before the teams arrive in India in November. The team whose design wins will become project manager. All teams will then work to implement that design.
"We've got a great team, got some great thinkers, and I like the plans that they've come up with so far," Lorge said.
The plumbing in other countries like India doesn't match up to what we have here in the United States, and that will be a big challenge for Team USA to deal with.
"For us in today's age, it's like looking back 50 years and saying 'O.K., were going to use these materials,'" Lorge said.
But it's a challenge Lorge and his students are ready to tackle.
"To be able to take what we do and what so many people take for granted, and to be able to go over and touch the lives of the kids there," Lorge said.
"That's our main focus, is to help the kids," Koenigs said.