by David Arnott & Tracy Ekola
A lot of exciting things are happening now at WEF. Please see our update that follows.
The WEF administrative year starts at WEFTEC each year. New officers include:
Speaker of the House – Steven Drangsholt, Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association,
Speaker House-Elect is Donnell Duncan, Geogia Association of Water Professionals
WEF President is Jamie Eichenberger, Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association
WEF President-Elect is Ifetayo Venner, Florida Water Environment Association
The WEF HOD meeting was held on October 16, 2021. At this meeting, there was an interactive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) exercise that demonstrated the variety of backgrounds that we come from and how this shapes us as individuals (i.e. you will hear more about this later in the update).
At the WEF Leadership Forum on October 17, 2021, a new Biosolids Communications toolkit was introduced. Samantha Villegas presented highlights of the toolkit and the importance of having a proactive outreach program for biosolids for use in your community. A link to the toolkit is:
House of Delegates Policies and Procedures
The HOD Policies and Procedures updates were formally approved at the WEF Delegate quarterly meeting on December 9, 2021. The updates were changed to be in-line with the recently updated HOD bylaws.
The WEFMAX events are designed to foster idea and best practice sharing among the MAs. This year, the WEFMAX events will be live. For those that cannot attend in person, a portion of the WEFMAX events will be available in a virtual format. In addition, a separate virtual WEFMAX is scheduled. Stefanie Farrell (email@example.com) is the WEF WEFMAX Committee Chair. The WEFMAX events for 2022 are shown below:
Honolulu, Hawaii April 20th-22nd. Ala Moano Hotel
Charleston, South Carolina May 11 -13th, Francis Marion Hotel
Fargo, North Dakota June 1st – 3rd. Radisson Hotel
2022 WEFMAX Virtual May, Dates to be determined
WEF Technical Committees
Joining a WEF committee is easy and can be a great way to gain and share information with your CSWEA committees or state section committees to help build and inform our industry network. If you are interested in joining a WEF technical committee, please go to www.wef.org and navigate to membership then committees to review the committees. To apply to a WEF committee, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: Name, WEF ID Number, Committee of Interest and one to two sentences explaining your interest in the committee.
The WEF Outreach Committee has been disbanded. WEF felt that the committee fulfilled is charge and was ready to move to focus on other initiatives.
The former WEF DE&I and workgroup is now a committee. The workgroup in 2021 created a toolkit for MAs to use in creating their own DEI committees. The link to the toolkit can be found at www.wef.org/DEI. DE&I continues to be an important initiative at WEF. WEF has partnered with the Silverene Group for consulting services on its DE&I program. The Silverene Group is available to help MAs directly for thier DE&I programs. MAs should contact Lisa Ruane at WEF if they are interested in using the Silverene Group.
WEF Code of Conduct
The new WEF Code of Conduct (CoC) was discussed at the HOD quarterly meeting December 4th. The CoC was written for WEF. The WEF CoC can be found on page 4 the WEF Volunteer Handbook – wef-volunteer-handbook-aug21.pdf
This applies to all WEF events and MA events by extension. MAs are strongly discouraged to just use WEF’s CoC, however, it can be used a guideline. The WEF CoC Committee will not hear MA member conduct complaints. MAs encouraged to write their own enforceable CoC that are written around their specific operations.
The WEF Government Affairs Committee has been tracking the Infrastructure Bill which was signed into law on November 15, 2021. The main parts of the bill are shown below.
Further detail on the Clean Water for Communities portion of the bill is as follows:
It is important to note that new programs in the bill are not funded yet. They have to go through future appropriations process in Congress to receive actual funding. Steve Dye, WEF Legislative Director, is leading the effort to track developments of this bill. Steve can be reached at email@example.com.
New workgroups have been formed for the 2022 administrative year. An overview of the workgroups is as follows.
The Communications workgroup aims to help people with a technical background communicate more effectively. Communications is an important discipline within the water sector, just like engineering, project management, and other technical areas. Our ability to fulfill WEF’s Strategic Plan, enhance our communities and protect the environment hinge on our ability to communicate the right message to the right audience in a way they can receive it and act. But, for too long, we have relied on our own abilities as engineers, scientists, and technical leaders to create and deliver these messages – often resulting in ineffective communications. Therefore, this workgroup will focus on building allies that support and advocate for increased communication efforts in the water sector to create change. This workgroup will utilize expertise from communication professionals in the water sector to share case studies that demonstrate the value of communication, methods to measure communication effectiveness to gain buy-in, tips on how to increase budget and staff to expand communication efforts and more. This workgroup will support a collaborative effort with the Public Communications and Outreach Committee (PCOC) to increase committee engagement, MA participation and demonstrate WEF’s commitment to growing communication professionals.
Dave Arnott is on this workgroup.
The Emerging Leaders workgroup is another workgroup at WEF. WEF relies on a constant influx of new leaders to join Committees, the House of Delegates, Member Association Boards, the Board of Trustees, and other leadership opportunities. Many of these roles are filled by the same group of individuals and have overlooked emerging leaders from elsewhere in WEF including the Students and Young Professionals Committee. For WEF to continue to grow, we need the engagement and advancement of new leaders from within the organization. Therefore, this workgroup will support the organization by identifying barriers to entering leadership positions, creating pathways into leadership roles, and developing resources that better enhance emerging professional transitions.
Dave Arnott is on this workgroup.
Federal Advocacy is the last WEF workgroup. This workgroup will continue the work from 2020-2021 to assist with amplifying WEF’s advocacy messages and priorities and will collaborate closely with the WEF Government Affairs Committee (GAC). WEF has been able to, in collaboration with other organizations in Washington, DC, advocate for more resources for our communities and utilities. In the legislative side, advocacy efforts have been able to maintain appropriations by Congress to the Clean Water Revolving Fund (CW SRF), and recently was successful in getting the CW SRF reauthorized and funding levels increased. Additionally, Congress recently established several new infrastructure funding programs to address a variety of priority areas for wastewater and stormwater. Continued grassroots advocacy will be critical to maintain funding for these programs. In the regulatory side, WEF has been instrumental in providing technical comments and science-based evidence on matters related to permits, methods development and more recently, recommendations on worker safety. Our successes recently have been because of our members writing Members of Congress, visiting their representatives, and being informed on the issues.
Tracy Ekola is on this workgroup.
As WEF Delegates, we are here to support you and represent the interests of the CSWEA to the House of Delegates and WEF. If something is on your mind, please feel free to call or e-mail. We are here to serve you/CSWEA and be a liaison to WEF leadership. We look forward to hearing from you! firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com