Introducing the North Coast Section Board Members

Members in the News

Ever wonder who keeps the local sections running, offering training to their members, planning dinner meetings and social gatherings and updating the websites? Meet the volunteer Board Members behind the North Coast Section.

Michael Hansen – President

My name is Michael Hansen and I am the President for the North Coast Section of the CWEA. I am excited to take this position after 7 years of being a local section board member.

I was born and raised in Riverside, California, but have been on the North Coast for 21 years. I attended Humboldt State University, and graduated with a double degree in Biology and Zoology. After graduation and several years of being a window washer, I took a laboratory technician job at North Coast Laboratories that changed my life. After 5 years on the job, a laboratory job became available for the City of Eureka, and I jumped at it!

My supervisor and manager at the time, were both huge supporters of CWEA, and they encouraged me to get involved. I became the Treasurer of the North Coast Section in 2006, and held the position until 2012. About this time, I made a decision that I needed to invest some time in myself, to make sure I was ready for the career opportunities that might present themselves in the future.

Fast forward to today, and my investment has paid off. I now have, in addition to my CWEA Laboratory Grade II certificate, a WW Treatment Grade IV and a Water Treatment Grade II certificate. This led to me getting my current job as Deputy Public Works Director-Utility Operations for the City of Eureka in 2017.

My earlier time in CWEA, and specifically, my time on the board gave me inspiration and opportunities for networking and training with local Water Heroes! Now that I am in my current position, I felt it was time to give back to the group that has meant so much in my career.

I hope everyone who reads this finds a way to participate in one of our training events this year. The trainings are a great bargain and a wonderful way to meet people that you have a lot in common with. Make sure to utilize the assets of the local section and State CWEA. We are here for YOU!

I’d also like to challenge everyone to look into taking a new CWEA certification test in the coming year (I’m thinking Biosolids Management), to help further your career. We have a local testing center that has flexible scheduling options. You won’t regret the time you invest in yourself.

Will Paddock – Vice President

My name is William Paddock. I am the Vice President for the North Coast Section. I was born in Othello, Washington in 1970. I work for Humboldt Community Services District as a Maintenance Mechanic in the Operations Department.

I have 20 years general construction experience. I have worked as a drywall contractor and a BBT cable & line technician. I graduated from Arcata High School (but don’t hold that against me), and have attended College of the Redwoods & the Northwest Lineman College. I also hold a Water Distribution Operator Grade 3 certification.




James Henry – Secretary

Let me take this moment to introduce myself. My name is James Henry. I am born and raised in McKinleyville. My first job was a paper route that I acquired when I was 13. I feel that I was pretty good at that job. I had an outstanding arm and good customer service when collecting money from customers.

I then moved on to be a pizza maker at Round Table. In a short amount of time I moved my way into pizza cook and delivery. I feel that I also excelled at that job and thrived at making people happy.

But I knew it was time to take my skills somewhere else. That’s when I was offered a position at a pharmacy where I worked the counter and stocked supplies. I was soon promoted to the delivery guy, delivering pharmaceuticals. I made a lot of friends due to my loving personality and excellent interpersonal skills that I developed up in my previous job experiences.

From there I went to work at the mill until I had a disagreement with a saw blade (that story will be a safety lesson very soon). Then I went to school but I won’t bore you with that. Back to the exciting stuff.

In 1994 I found a home working seasonal for McKinleyville C.S.D. Was I their first choice? No, I was their 4th choice. But I am OK with that. I moved irrigation pipe for 4 years until I was brought on full time in 1998. Was I their first choice?….no, but I was their second choice. Better than their 4th choice. I then worked my way up the ranks to Leadman in 2002. Was I their first choice?…no, but I was their second. Does anybody see the pattern here? Ok that one hurt a little bit. During this time I started a Karaoke business that I ran in my off-hours and did some Elvis impersonating. We probably shouldn’t discuss that any further.

Mickey Hulstrom – Treasurer

Which brings us to 2012. I was offered the Operations Director position. Was I their first choice? Of course I was. I mean why wouldn’t I be? By this time I was walking on water and sometimes wastewater.

So here I am now, Director of Operations, which is responsible for water, sewer, streetlights, parks maintenance and open space (and still doing Karaoke..Yes Elvis does make an appearance every now and then but like I said, we shouldn’t discuss that any further). I have an outstanding crew that has helped me shine all the way up the ladder. So after reading this, some of you are feeling sorry for me for not being the first choice most of the time, but don’t be. Everything above has made me who I am today. The rest of you are really hung up on this Elvis thing and you should be. I am amazing at it. Sure, I could have told you about college and all of the certificates I hold, but let’s face it, that is boring and this made you smile. Task completed.

Hello to all in the wastewater and water industry. I am Mickey Hulstrom and am employed by the Humboldt Community Services District (HCSD) as the Community Services Manager. I have been at HCSD for over 29 years . We provide water, sewer, and streetlight services to the communities that surround the City of Eureka. We do not operate a water or sewer treatment plant. We are primarily water distribution and sewage collection. My basic duties include handling all private development/construction projects within our district boundaries. Working at a small Services District requires one to wear many different hats. I am the District’s Plan Checker, Inspector, Pretreatment Coordinator, Code Enforcement Officer, and I help administer the District’s Water Backflow Prevention Device Program. You could say I am your one stop shopping representative for HCSD.

I am married to a great woman, Gidget, and have three sons, Zeke, Mikey , and Grayson . If you have played in the North Coast Section’s Annual Golf Tournament you will have seen either Mikey or Grayson as my caddy.

I arrived in Humboldt County in 1979 (from Phoenix, Arizona) via the United States Coast Guard and worked across the bay at the US Coast Guard Surf Boat Station. I then attended College of The Redwoods and earned an A.S. in Architectural Drafting as well as a 2-year Vocational Certificate in Architectural Drafting. This led to being hired by a local Engineering Firm and then ultimately being hired by HCSD.

I have been affiliated with CWEA for many years. I still have a Collection System Maintenance Certificate dated January 1991 from the California Water Pollution Control Association (CWPCA). The CWPCA became the CWEA. I am a past President of the North Coast Section (2006). I was also on the Board of Directors (Treasurer) for the 2005, 2007, & 2009 Northern Regional Training Conferences held at the Redding Convention Center. It was quite an honor (and an eye opener) working with the volunteers of our North Coast Section as well as the volunteers with the North Sacramento Valley Section on putting together such a large training event. Currently, I am the Treasurer for the North Coast Section and am happy to be working with a fine group of local volunteers.

Mike Freeman – Program Chair/Newsletter Editor/Webmaster

My name is Mike Freeman. I work for McKinleyville Community Services District and have for 26 years. I hold many certifications that are required for my job including a Grade II Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator and a Grade III CWEA Collections System Operator. I am married to a wonderful woman named Debbie and have been blessed with 3 children and 4 grandchildren. I’m very active in my church and enjoy spending time with family.

I have been involved with the North Coast Section for many years as the Newsletter Editor and as Webmaster for our local section website, I am also Program Chair for the section.

I encourage everyone to take a look at the website. I’m always trying to improve the site, make it more user-friendly, and keep it up to date as much as possible. I can be reached at [email protected] should you have any comments regarding the website or the newsletter.


Mike Foget – Membership Chair

Mike has 20+ years of experience in civil and environmental engineering for both public agencies and private sector clients. He has been responsible for design, review, and completion of a wide range of engineering projects, including those related to wastewater treatment plant improvements. Important North Coast projects that Mike has managed include the Town of Scotia infrastructure improvements and the remediation of Humboldt Bay’s Tuluwat Village on Indian Island. He has been the City Engineer for the City of Blue Lake since 2008.





Hal Burris – Membership Chair

Upon graduating High School in 1977, the only real goal I had was to get a good job that I could work at until I retired. Without knowing what kinds of opportunities were in the world, what I did was attend local Community Colleges working towards a Business Administration/Accounting degree. I worked in various occupations (service stations, restaurants, and pizza parlors) funding my education and eating until I landed a job as an intern with an Accounting Firm. After several months, it became apparent that I did not like sitting in an office with no windows. I spent several years as an unlicensed contractor doing remodel jobs and whatnot. My father was a Millwright, the kind that had to know and do everything possible to keep the mill running. He was a genius, electrical or mechanical, even the budding instrumentation field, it did not matter my dad could fix it. I watched him work and helped him when I could. He always told me not to go to work in the mills because there was no future in them. Times were lean and in the fall of 1983 I went to work in the Lumber Industry. After working for nearly thirty years for three different mils, doing cleanup, operating and working on lots of different machines I eventually became the Transportation Manager for nine years at my last location. My favorite job was driving a Jitney though. Increasingly stricter regulations on the timber, transportation, and tighter regulations for CARB emissions lead to the last facility I worked at closing down. I attended College of the Redwoods focusing on the Water/Wastewater curriculum that Clay Yerby and others had setup. I now have a career in the Wastewater Industry that is both challenging and enjoyable. As Chair of the local Chapter of the California Water Environment Association, I believe that informing the younger people of our community that careers in Water and Wastewater Industries are a viable alternative. Collection System Maintenance, Wastewater Treatment Plant Maintenance (includes Electrical/Instrumentation and Mechanical Technologist), Laboratory Analysis, Biosolids Land Application Management, Environmental Compliance Inspection, Industrial Treatment Plant Operations are just the tip of the opportunities that having a career in this field will open up for the generations of today and tomorrow.

Be sure to visit the North Coast Section’s new website to read more about what the section is up to.