CSWEA Active Membership: The Key To Our Success
By Patrick Haney
Three years ago, I relocated to Minnesota from Colorado in a move to return to my passion for water (both professionally and recreationally). Immediately I was welcomed with open arms by the CSWEA community. Since then I’ve met friends, professional colleagues, and observed the dedication of the MN Section leaders. I continue to be impressed by the quality and time of the volunteerism that the Minnesota Section leadership has provided over the years.
Fast forward to today, and I am honored to be serving as the Minnesota Section Chair. Earlier this month the Minnesota Section Leadership met to transition our roles as chair and vice chair. We discussed and identified potential challenges and opportunities for the coming year. As the meeting went on, we realized how much effort could go into all our potential initiatives. These initiatives included changes to our financial management, adding a utility management workshop similar to the Wisconsin Section, starting a wastewater treatment committee and utility management committee, re-aligning leadership of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, membership outreach, inclusion, and diversity, networking events, and collaboration with other water and water resource recovery organizations within our state. We all saw the mountain looming before us. We were ready to climb, but quickly realized we needed help.
While the MN Section will prioritize our initiatives for the next year at MNX in June, one thing that we realized is re-energizing and expanding our membership needs to be a focus over the next year.
To accomplish our goals of the future, we need to promote membership not just in terms of new members, but within our current members as well. Much with the theme of the Central States Annual Conference, we all need to start Transitioning to a New Generation of leaders. By all accounts, that doesn’t necessary mean just targeting young professionals, but rather actively amongst seasoned professionals. Further, we need to provide meaningful participation, leadership, and educational opportunities for all our engineers, operators, and utility leadership.
To actively seek new CSWEA participants, re-invigorate our current members, and inspire the young members of the future, the Minnesota Section plans on re-emphasizing the importance of our Membership Committee. The membership committee will help organize more networking events, work closely with our young professionals and public education committees, and bring new energy through a focus on diversity and inclusion.
The Minnesota Section Leadership, in conjunction with the Membership Committee, will be focused on outreach activities to encourage active membership of our consultants, utilities, manufacturers, and equipment representatives. We need to educate our future members and their respective organizations about the value of actively participating in CSWEA. This outreach isn’t intended to replace the leaders of today, but allow for future growth of our organization and expand the positive impact Central States has on our communities.
The Minnesota membership and section leadership has accomplished so much the past year. We’ve had record attendance at the Conference on the Environment and Innovative Approaches to Wastewater Operations Conference. We continue to have successful collection system workshops, stormwater tours, and conducted the first MN R2E Water and Energy Innovations Seminar. I couldn’t be more impressed or prouder of our Section. I’m confident that we can continue these successes in the future; and expand our footprint, service and impacts on the water resource recovery community.
I wanted to end this message with a final and sincere ‘thank you’ to the Minnesota CSWEA Section Leadership and Members. I’m thankful for the friendship and guidance over the past three years. I’m excited to serve as the Section Chair for the next year, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to our organization in the future.