CSWEA WEF Delegates’ Report
by Eric Lynne & Derek Wold
Many members may not realize that amidst the hustle and bustle of the May Annual Conference, some of the Member Association leaders sneak away to WEFMAX (which stands for: WEF Member Association eXchange) which is similar to CSX, but on a national level and mostly focused on the House of Delegates.
Typically, about 40 delegates and leaders attend each of the four locations available. Prior to transitioning out of the Delegate role, Mark Eddington attended the IWEA’s event held in Indianapolis. Looking for some warmth, Eric Lynne attended the North Carolina event.
Several structured discussions, as well as open forums are held to encourage everyone to share their programs that work and those that struggle in an effort to continue improving the industry. The following are some highlights from the WEFMAX discussions:
WEF and HOD Update
- The House of Delegates has a steering committee that ensures WEF’s actions are in alignment with the Missions listed on the right. These provide the building blocks for most of the initiatives from WEF, and can also be a guide for MA actions. Rest assured that CSWEA is in strong compliance with these.
- Watch for a relaunch of Water’s Worth It at WEFTEC. Dig up those 2012 era shirts and buttons!
- A new dashboard has been created to expedite committee rosters, meeting agendas, notes, and track deliverables.
- WEF continues to be financially stable, with approximately 50% coverage in reserve
- Working to develop a Delegate Selection Criteria for use by each MA’s nominating committee to explain the role of a Delegate and some preferred characteristics of a Delegate.
- WE&RF merging with WRF fully in 2019
- Of the 45 member associations in North America, CSWEA is one of 5 cutting edge associations that have brought the LIFT Affiliate status to their membership. Contact Jeremy Cramer, chair of the Innovation and Technology Committee for additional information.
MA Exchange Tidbits:
As mentioned above, the concept behind WEFMAX is to disseminate those tidbits to the membership, so we’ve summarized a list of relevant items that other Associations are doing that could make our organization better. If you see something that motivates you – let’s find a way to implement it!
- Mentoring program that the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association utilizes, as seen here (https://pncwa.memberclicks.net/mentoring-program)
- WEF has developed a Grassroots Guide & Toolkit for Fly-In attendees to increase the effectiveness of everyone’s visits with legislators.
Annual Meeting Enhancements:
- Allocate timeslot for academic (MS/PhD) presentations of research
- YP Speaker Challenge (S&YP Session/Tract) reviewed and awarded to top 3 or so, monetary (or consider conf. attendance.)
- WEF has recently developed a great public outreach water palooza toolkit for educational events with young kids. This would be a great way to boost CSWEA’s connection with the next generation of water professionals.
- No dues increase planned.
- Reciprocity Initiative (CSWEA gave free MA only memberships, as a thank you WEF is providing a similar amount of free WEF memberships), 37 to be exact. This program will repeat again, but may be discontinued beyond 2019.
- MAs can request a code from WEF to give away free association only memberships. This may allow WEF to capture all our membership in one useful database.
- Some MAs offer a retired member package: this consists of a free conference membership that allows a retiree to attend the event, but offers up a portion of their time as a volunteer (photographer, registration, mentor, etc.).
- NEWEA indicated they are scheduled to perform 12 YP Poo & Brew tours this year, each with decent attendance.
- Reach out to the regional veterans workforce development groups as NEWEA has found veteran “Water Warriors” are a good fit for our industry.
- Some clusters of MAs are hosting regional Operations Challenges to improve existing teams and drum up interest in the program from other operators.
- 34 California utilities have developed a regional consortium, BAYWORK, to identify and enhance the workforce for wastewater operators. All their materials are open-source and available online: http://baywork.org/. One item that would be impactful to high school graduates is a brochure regarding why and how to get into the water industry.
- The Ondemand Waste Water Library (OWWL) (https://www.wef.org/resources/publications/owwls/) are continually being updated, check it out. If a topic is missing, voice your concern and we’ll try to get it prioritized.
- WEF will be releasing a new set of operator training materials this year. It will start with a beginner level (now available for pre-sale, $99). Next the focus will be towards offering an online course and a solids volume in 2019.
- NEWEA, RMWEA, and Baltimore shared example utility training events (operator exchange training, a leadership certificate course, and mentoring). All have had great success and are worth considering for our region.