Western Environmental
Testing Laboratory
Galena High School Career Fair 2015

We here at WETLAB are proud of our continued involvement in the community.  That involvement takes many different forms, recently including helping to inspire young minds to be interested in science.  Below, four WETLABbers share their experience presenting at a local high school’s career day. 

Career Day at Galena High School:  April 23, 2015

-Jennifer Delaney, AJ Lewis, Maiya Greenwood and Cory Baker-

Each year, Galena High School hosts a Career Fair for its sophomore students.  The career fair exposes students to the possibilities and realities of a successful career path.  Sophomores are invited because 10th grade is often the point at which they begin looking into colleges and potential career interests. Professionals from various backgrounds participate as speakers, teaching kids about their careers, their educations, how they got to where they are, volunteer services, the importance of networking and more.

WETLAB is now a veteran of this event, as this was our second year participating.  We met early at Galena High School to set up the displays at our booth. We had pamphlets with pictures of the lab, Erlenmeyer flasks with concentrated and dilute green slime, yellow and red acid vials to represent Nitric and Sulfuric Acid, a specimen cup with pink solution to simulate the presence of CN (properly labeled on the cup), and a tiny volumetric flask dyed blue to simulate the presence of MBAS.  Most importantly, we had the WETLAB mascot, the Labrador, wearing its personal protective gear to demonstrate proper PPE and to show that science can be fun.  These visuals helped to engage the students by prompting questions that led to discussions about their own interests and the breadth of scientific study and career paths.

We presented to six groups of students for 20 minutes each.  First we introduced what WETLAB does and the importance of our business.  Most students seemed knowledgeable about the importance of water quality and the need for environmental testing in Nevada, as well as locally here in the Truckee Basin.  Next, we each described our educational backgrounds, work experiences, and the importance of networking and volunteering.  With different backgrounds and career paths, students were able to hear our individual perspectives and learn about our unique experiences that led us to our current careers.  This helped to emphasize that there is more than one way to find an interesting and fulfilling career if you follow your passion.  While we all had varying messages, the resonating theme was to work hard, build a professional network, ask for help along the way, and keep your doors open to different opportunities.

It will be a few years before these kids enter the workforce, but their desire for a career in science and their level of interest is encouraging. Our industry has a promising future if we continue to feed and encourage young minds, teach them how to overcome challenges, and pursue what is important to them. Hopefully, networking in a more intimate setting plants the seed that will inspire our future workforce to grow and work towards their goals, prepare for higher education, and gain crucial career experience.


WETLab's booth to demonstrate a Laboratory Scientist career path.

WETLab’s booth to demonstrate a Laboratory Scientist career path.


For many years WETLAB has committed to giving back to our community.  We believe it’s our responsibility to leave a mark and make a difference in the communities where we live. 

Hello!  My name is Nick Ross and I am the Operations Manager at Western Environmental Testing Laboratory.  As part of our 2015 Volunteer Program we tasked ourselves to work together as a group for one large event.  Ideas for the event were submitted by our staff in January and the company would vote on a cause to pursue before the end of February.  As the ideas came rolling in, one in particular caught my attention.

The newest member of our team (Kat) nominated the Veterans Guest House.  This is a special organization because of my family members that have served and sacrificed for this great country.  My grandfather and uncle both served in the U.S. Navy.  During World War II my grandfather was in the south Pacific for over 4 years spending the end of his time on or around the island of Kwajalein.  I wish I knew more…but an already quiet man was even more subdued and didn’t like to talk about those moments in his life.  This just proves the quote, “all gave some, some gave all.”  And finally, my younger brother is a pilot currently aboard the USS Carl Vinson.  Carl Vinson is deployed as part of the Carl Vinson Strike Group supporting maritime security operations, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.  His sacrifice will be to miss the birth of his first child.

Those are some of the reasons why I personally felt connected to the Veterans Guest House.  And why I wanted to help support the men and women that give so much.  If you haven’t donated yet, please do and WETLAB will match your donation dollar-for-dollar before March 6, 2015.  Visit www.VeteransGuestHouse.org/donate and enter WETLAB on the “Donation Note or Organization” line

Hello Gracious Readers,

My name is Lance Bell, and I am the Business Development Manager for Western Environmental Laboratory. I am writing today to share with you why support for the Veteran’s Guest House is important to me. Men in 3 of the last 4 generations of my family tree have faithfully served our nation in the armed services in some capacity. Both of my grandfathers served in WW II, including one who was shot down over Europe during an air mission and subsequently spent 3 years as a POW in a German Stalag camp. My Uncle was stationed in Europe during the Korean War, and now my oldest son serves as an Airmen First Class in the US Air Force Air National Guard.

I had the privilege to attend my son’s graduation ceremony from Basic Training at Lackland AF Base in San Antonio, TX in October of 2013. Every week some 300-500 airmen successfully advance, and it was inspirational to witness the dedication and commitment demonstrated by the men and women who have chosen to make as part of their dream and ambition the desire to protect this nation, and defend the values and principals upon which it stands.

As I think of the Veteran’s Guest House, I am reminded not only of my own family’s service, but also that of all those veterans and their families, and the sacrifices that they have had to make and endure because of their commitment to the rest of us. Here in Reno we have an opportunity to show our gratitude in support of something not only unique in concept, but noble in cause.

Visit www.VeteransGuestHouse.org/donate and be sure to enter WETLAB on the “Donation Note or Organization” line. Remember, if  you donate before March 6th, 2015, WETLAB will MATCH your donation

I’m Cassie and I’m the HR/Admin manager for WETLAB.  My reasons for wanting to support our areas only veteran’s guest house is because my daughter was in the military and has utilized the VA hospital here in Reno and raves about the wonderful quality of service and care she has received there.  After all the horrible things that have been brought to light around the nation about other VA hospitals I’m very thankful that we have such a gift locally.  Unfortunately a lot of veterans have to travel a great distance to get here and then have to deal with the stress and financial burden of a place to stay on top of their medical issues.  The Veterans guest house not only provides a safe, welcoming place to stay for the vet, but also the vet’s family regardless of their ability to pay.   I am very proud of my daughter for taking on the challenges of the military and am glad for this opportunity to support her fellow soldiers.

Visit www.VeteransGuestHouse.org/donate and be sure to enter WETLAB on the “Donation Note or Organization” line. Remember, if  you donate before March 6th, 2015, WETLAB will MATCH your donation

My name is Danny Tile and I am in Business Development at WETLAB. I wanted  to share a  few of the reasons why I support the Vererans Guest House (VGH). First and foremost I’m a Vietnam Veteran. As a war veteran if I needed to have any medical procedure done, I believe that the VA Hospital in Reno is one of the best on the West Coast.  If veterans don’t live close by, it can be expensive for them and their families while they are receiving treatment; they would need to pay for a hotel room, spend money on food and gas and logistics in general. The VGH can provide temporary overnight housing (including use of the kitchen) to those veterans and their families receiving medical treatment from out of town. They ask people pay what they can afford and don’t turn anyone away regardless of their  ability to pay. Additionally,  the house is located right across the street from the VA hospital which makes getting to the hospital very easy. And finally, to have the support of the wonderful  people who run the VGH is of great comfort to these families.Veterans have kept this country free from the time of the Revolutionary War. In my opinion, this the least we can do for them.

Visit www.VeteransGuestHouse.org/donate and be sure to enter WETLAB on the “Donation Note or Organization” line. Remember, if  you donate before March 6th, 2015, WETLAB will MATCH your donation

I am the newest member of the WETLAB crew.  Going by Kat, I am an analyst on the bench team spending much of my time getting water all over the place.

During my interview process, the lab manager had mentioned how active the company is in the community.  I was beyond thrilled and impressed with just this one little mentioning. Then within the first month of my being employed with WETLAB, the 2015 big event nominations had opened.  I knew immediately that I wanted to nominate the Veterans Guest House.

Over the past six years, I have been lucky enough to spend countless hours with the men and women who make the Veterans Guest House a ‘home away from home’.  I have volunteered at multiple radiothons and poker runs as well as attended events such as Boots Meets Fashion and summertime BBQs.

Whether it is volunteering or attending one of the events, I will always walk away with stories from some of the most courageous people I will ever have a chance to meet.  I have met World War II veterans and spouses who make sure that you enjoy one of their home made treats just to see a smile on your face.  I have met Vietnam veterans whom are immigrants from Europe and the United States military was their only way to achieve the American dream.  I have met an Iraqi War veteran who has become one of my best and most influential friends in life.  I have met currently active members of our military and can only thank them for their services.

All of these men and women have given our community a chance to support the most deserving people in our country.  The least that I was able to do was bring awareness to my fellow WETLAB employees.   I am more than grateful that they have chosen to put time and effort into fundraising for this cause as well as matching all that is raised.  If you have a spare moment, please take a chance to support your veterans.

‘We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give’ — Winston Churchill

Visit www.VeteransGuestHouse.org/donate and be sure to enter WETLAB on the “Donation Note or Organization” line. Remember, if  you donate before March 6th, 2015, WETLAB will MATCH your donation

My name is Max Reynolds and I am a veteran. I was in the Air Force from 1972 until 1979.

I utilize the VA Sierra Nevada Heath Care System and see the number of patients that they care for. It is a facility in very high demand and covers an extremely large area.

One of the organizations that supports that facility and it’s veterans is the Veterans Guest House (http://www.veteransguesthouse.org). It is literally a house that is used to house family and friends of veterans that are there from to far away to drive home. Surprisingly the Veterans Guest House doesn’t utilize any government funding. This organization is in my opinion, about people helping people. They are people who believe that our veterans deserve assistance when medical care is needed. Our veterans have served our country honorably during war and peace time. They deserve whatever assistance the people of this country can provide when they are in need.

If you have the money to donate please do so. If you have the time to volunteer then please do so. You and people like you are the ones that allow the Veterans Guest House to continue helping our veterans and the people who brought them to the Sierra Health Care Facility.

Thank you to all the other veterans that have served and are serving. Also to the people that assist them when they are in need, such as the Veterans Guest House.

Visit www.VeteransGuestHouse.org/donate and be sure to enter WETLAB on the “Donation Note or Organization” line. Remember, if  you donate before March 6th, 2015, WETLAB will MATCH your donation

Veterans Guest House Support

My name is Andy Smith and I am the quality assurance manager at Western Environmental Testing Laboratory (WETLAB) in Sparks, Nevada. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that truly cares about not only the environment for which or company exists but also the community as a whole. WETLAB donates countless hours volunteering in the community with organizations like the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful just to name a couple. This year we have also decided to “adopt” a cause as a company-wide fundraising event in order to have a focused effort to make as big of an impact as possible. For 2015 the effort is being focused on the Veterans Guest House, or VGH, located in Reno, Nevada. The VGH is a “home away from home” for families of U.S. military veterans while the veteran receives medical care in any Reno/Sparks medical facility. The house serves a 250 mile radius, and beyond, throughout Northern Nevada and California.

I have joined this fund raising effort with full force for various reasons, the same reasons you would: the wish, or quite frankly the need, to “support the veterans”. All of us have friends and loved ones who’ve served or are currently serving our country, many times far from home. WETLAB itself employs a few veterans and we have siblings and spouses currently serving so it hits close to home. A piece that always strikes me as critical is continued support for troops long after their tours or service time has ended. They have sacrificed unknown quantities for us, not just their time and efforts in the service, but things that I’ll never know. Because of this I want the support we all give to be continuous and never ending.

I have spent some time volunteering at the local VA hospital in a position of great need although on occasion a heartbreaking one.  I spent many hours in the palliative care section of the hospital which unfortunately became basically the hospice care center for many. Palliative care treats people suffering from serious and chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiac disease such as congestive heart failure, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and many more. The goal of volunteers like me was simply to have friendly visits with the veterans in that section. We chatted, played cards or board games, we even shared a meal or two. I was fortunate enough to spend time with many older veterans of WWII as well the Korean and the Vietnam wars. One particular gentleman, an extremely friendly man, was a veteran of the Coast Guard and was on duty at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Needless to say he had some great stories. The thought of these veterans, in perhaps their greatest time of need, having to worry about where their loved ones may be staying, troubles me. Keep in mind the nearest VA medical center outside Reno/Sparks is in San Francisco. To know that family is staying in a wonderfully comfortable house literally across the street must provide some level of comfort to those in the care of the local VA hospital. Of course the Veterans Guest House has expenses and costs that many times the veterans simply can’t afford and the house will not turn them away. This is where I, and you, can help. We can donate funds to the house and therefore the veterans. This is my way to provide un-ending support, perhaps years after the veterans have served, but also for veterans who’ve just returned home. If you donate before March 6th, 2015, WETLAB will MATCH your donation. Visit www.VeteransGuestHouse.org/donate and be sure to enter WETLAB on the “Donation Note or Organization” line.

Veterans Guest House Story

In the early 1990s, veterans visiting the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Reno noticed that windows on a car were fogged up on a cold morning.  This meant only one thing – someone spent the night in their car.  It was discovered that a wife and her children had spent the night in their car while her husband was in ICU.  This family had no other choice but to sleep in their car so they could be together while he was in the hospital.  These veterans, our founders, said “never again on our watch will this occur.”  This is when the idea for the house began.

In 1994 the “Spouse House” was opened in a 1935 bungalow located across the street from the VAMC.  This house could sleep 5 guest a night and was providing 800 guest nights a year.  It became apparent that the need to support our veterans and their families was greatly needed.

In 2002, the Spouse House name was changed to Veterans Guest House.  In 2004 a new house was built with 12 beds replacing the original bungalow.  The need for a larger home continued to grow and in 2012 a second house was open.  The Veterans Guest House provided lodging to over 5,200 veterans and their families in 2014.

This “Home Away from Home” which provides veterans and their families temporary overnight lodging while they are receiving medical treatment is privately funded and receives no government funding for it operations.  It does maintain a non-profit 501(c) (3) status from the IRS.  Donations are always welcome and the community support during the Radiothon fundraising event is crucial for our operational budget.

How I became involved with the Veterans Guest House

I was telling a good friend that I had visited my Dad at a VAMC in California and had no place to sleep but in my rental car.  I had asked the VAMC if I could take a blanket out to my car so I could get some sleep before meeting with the doctors in the morning and it was just scary to think I was sleeping in my car in a parking lot.  My friend said here in Reno we have the Veterans Guest House to support our veterans and families while they are getting medical treatment.  I knew right then that I wanted to support the Veterans Guest House.  I was asked to help with a Radiothon over 10 years ago and I have never stopped helping.  I have seen how important the Guest House is to our veterans and their families.  They know that they have a safe place to call “home”.  I am now a board member and have continued to see the need for our lodging.  The Guest House is truly an amazing place and I know every day I am supporting and giving to a fantastic organization. – Carol Langford




Wetlab’s Phaedra Harmening and Gerry Miller recently spoke at a Cub Scout’s Overland District’s Club Scout Day Camp on Saturday, June 14 in Elko County.

Over 150 Cub Scouts visited Wetlab’s Botany Bay, one of nine stations that included archery, armor making, dragon training, knights in space and tournament sparring. At the Botany Bay station, Harmening and Miller gave each scout a pencil and notepad for notes, and worked with the Scouts on ecological concepts.

One question they posed was, “if Elko County’s population is 50,000, with four zeros, how many zeros are in the current world population of seven billion?”

Harmening and Miller likened the Scouts and their parents to members of a species they called “Overland District Scouts,” who, at the end of the day, would all go back to their individual ecosystem niches, using the analogy to explain the introduction of algae, bacteria, dragons and works into ecosystems.

The two Wetlab volunteers discussed the water cycle, how nature abhors a vacuum, and the place of the top three cereal crops – rice, wheat and corn – as they are used to feed the world.

At the end of the day, when the Scout camp came to an end, the Future Knights of the Round Table gave the loudest round of applause to the scientists from Wetlab.