by David Arnott & Tracy Ekola
WEFTEC is the start of a new year for WEF Delegates. During this time, we reflect and report on the previous year’s progress as well as set the priorities for the upcoming year. Derick Wold completed his WEF Delegate position for CSWEA at the WEF House of Delegates (HOD) meeting held virtually on October 3, 2020, during WEFTEC Connect. This report provides a review of our WEF HOD activities and progress.
David Arnott begins his term as WEF Delegate, replacing Derick Wold. Tracy Ekola will continue to serve her term as WEF Delegate. Please feel free to reach out to David or Tracy with any ongoing WEF questions or for ideas on where you can get involved with WEF. As part of the transition, David attended HOD Orientation and collaborated with both Derick and Tracy on the role and responsibilities of a HOD Delegate. HOD members participate in WEF Workgroups, attend HOD meetings throughout the year, and report back to their member associations. Workgroup topics are selected each year and provide support as well as knowledge sharing opportunities to our member associations.
The WEF House of Delegates is the deliberative and representational body of the Federation. It advises the WEF Board on matters of strategic direction and public policy development.
WEF Strategic Plan. Goals and Financial Update
WEF ‘s strategic plan includes these five critical objectives and strategic goals: 1) Develop an engaged membership that is representative of the multiple practice areas of the water environment industry 2) Provide a broad range of professional content and programming that is relevant and widely valued by the water sector worldwide. 3) Generate an increased public awareness of the value of water leading to increased funding to protect water quality through appropriate levels of infrastructure, management approaches, and services. 4) Establish the conditions that promote accelerated development and implementation of innovative technologies and approaches in the water sector. 5) Operate a sustainable business that supports our mission and enables WEF to seize new opportunities in the emerging water sector. Further detail on these five critical objectives and strategic goals is provided in WEF’s strategic plan provided on WEF website: https://www.wef.org/globalassets/assets-wef/1—about/about-wef/wef-strategic-plan.pdf
WEF is financially sound and has a sustainable budget plan. This is due to the reserve/rainy day fund established in 2014 by the WEF Board. WEF exceeded their FY20 budgeted operating funds, however the reserve fund provided support to WEF in addition to deliberate reductions in expenses/overhead and eliminating non-essential programs during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Two new WEF initiatives include a focus on the MS4 program and working with ASCE to establish an Infrastructure Report Card for stormwater infrastructure similar to their report cards on transportation, water and wastewater infrastructure. https://www.asce.org/templates/press-release-detail.aspx?id=32309
Ongoing WEF Initiatives include WEFTEC Connect, Brave Blue World, WEF InFlow (Introducing Future Leaders in Opportunities in Water), WEFMAX, LIFT (Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology), and Access Water. Access Water is an online platform that offers water professionals, researchers, consultants, professors, and students an authoritative body of more than 20,000 informational resources covering all aspects of the profession, written by and for water professionals. Users can log onto Access Water from any internet-enabled device. This resource provides valuable information that can help professionals on the job, at home, in the field, or anywhere else. www.accesswater.org
WEF’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Sub-Committee was recently created as a result of DE&I taskforce recommendation. This group will be advisory to WEF Board of Directors. This initiative was highlighted during HOD meetings and other WEFTEC Connect events. There will also be a future HOD workgroup to assist with this effort as well.
HOD Workgroups 2021. The new workgroups began meeting October 3, 2020. Tracy Ekola is participating in Financial Diversification and Federal Advocacy; David Arnott is participating in Public Education and Conference Resources. Workgroups are open to delegates as well as any WEF member that has a specific interest in these topics. Please contact Tracy or David if you have an interest and would like to get involved in an HOD Workgroup.
In addition to the four WEFMAX locations for 2021 – Utah, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Prince Edward Island – WEF is also planning a separate Virtual WEFMAX.
2020 MA Grant Program. The Five awards were made as below before the program was halted and funds shifted to COVID Relief Program. WEF Member Coronavirus Relief Program was established by Board of Trustees and consists of six committee members appointed by WEF President. The purpose of this committee is to provide emergency financial assistance to MAs. WEF FY20 Budget includes $200,000.
Congratulations to CSWEA for the $10,000 Student Design Initiative grant award and thank you Mohammed Haque and Mike Holland for efforts in obtaining the funding and implementing the spectacular 1st Annual Midwest Design Competition! CSWEA was one of five member associations to receive the grant award. Other member associations included Alabama for Student Membership Website Initiative, Alaska for Membership Website Upgrades, Michigan for Developing Training Course and New York for Work in Water Initiative.