“Make YOUR section work for YOU. Get Involved!”
By James Kerrigan
With summer officially underway and the recently completed annual meeting, things are heating up for Central States. With record attendance and a busy agenda, this year’s conference pushes us full throttle into the summer months. It is an exciting time to be in CSWEA and we have a lot going on, so hold tight, this is going to be fun! Here’s a snapshot of what is going on in your section, and where you can get involved.
In late June, the annual Collection Systems Seminar takes place which will draw some of the best and brightest of our region together. This event has been gaining in strength year after year and provides a great opportunity for sharing knowledge and ideas amongst CSWEA and other organizations.
The newly combined Operations and Safety Committee is busily planning its annual seminar for later in the summer. This committee has taken on the additional responsibility of leading the Certified Operator Training Program for the Illinois Section. By all accounts the first session was hugely successful. Watch this space for additional updates.
In similar fashion, the Biosolids and Energy – Resource Recovery Committees have combined their resources and reinvigorated their roles. The consolidated committee is currently working on their next seminar for later in the fall which will be a great addition to the calendar.
As always, the Young Professional (YP) Group has provided their membership with inspiring and educational events that, as would be expected, are suffused with youthful energy. Even seasoned professionals looking for new ideas should consider attending their events as they have proven to be both fun and productive. Be on the lookout for the next date.
On top of what’s already in the works, there is still more to do to keep the momentum and enthusiasm from the annual meeting going throughout the year. The good news is that there are excellent venues in place to do just that – the multiple CSWEA committees. CSWEA is a great way to not only make contacts in your field but lifelong friends. It is the committee members that make the sharing of knowledge both informative and enjoyable, which is basically CSWEA’s mission statement.
The question for some is how to get involved, and how to get others that might not know the section to also get involved? How? For me it was a subtle nudge from an enthusiastic engineer who basically answered my question with the following; “You NEED to join CSWEA!”. That sounded like a ringing endorsement to me and I am thankful for it. Someone brought it up at the YP meeting this year that they were “voluntold” to join a committee and attend a conference. That suggests that we’ve all got to be better at spreading the word. Sometimes the first step can be quite daunting. In my experience, a little nudge can go a long way.
Here is what I would suggest. Come to the section meeting. Its low key, fun, interactive, and you will find that just about everyone who is anyone is there. While you’re there, look beyond your age and experience for new faces to associate with. While the Students and YP’s provide a some guaranteed camaraderie, there is a lot to gain from the more mature and experienced members. Of course, there is no need to wait for a next meeting to get involved. Just pick a committee that sounds interesting to you and reach out to the Chair. If that sounds daunting, contact me personally and I’ll help facilitate your involvement. There is never a perfect time to start so why not now?
As we continue to grow and strengthen our section, we wouldn’t be where are today without the hard work of our predecessors. I’d like give a big shout out to Chris Marschinke our immediate past Chair. Chris has provided much guidance for me as he handed over the reins. His are big shoes to fill. He has also set us out on a strong path forward that I, together with your section officers Amanda Streicher and Bob Swirsky, hope to keep moving in the right direction. Both Amanda and Bob are so well known with their tireless work on various committees with GWS and CSWEA, that any introduction here is probably unnecessary.
With that I invite you to contact me and let me know what you think is good, what is not so good, and what you’d like to see more of. With Amanda and Bob in the fold we have a good group, but input on how to make the section even better will come from you, the members. It’s easy to fall back on a “that’s the way it was always done” mentality. We’d like to move forward with “this is how it should be done” and get everyone actively involved, not just being a member.
Slan go foill (Bye for now)