WEFs NEW FOCUS
by Eric Lynne & Mark Eddington
WEFTEC is more than just the technical sessions, exhibit hall, and operations challenge; it is a time for MEETINGS! The House of Delegates (HOD) meeting is one of many behind the scenes tasks that help keep WEF a well-oiled machine. Year over year, we see a new WEF president, a few different trustees, and delegates, but overall the same general mission: 1) to connect water professionals; 2) enrich their expertise; 3) increase the awareness and value of water, and 4) provide a platform for innovation. WEF adjusts the business plan to reflect current and future needs, this year having a focus on member value, development of a national operator certification system, and several other trackable initiatives.
There are five standing committees, because of their criticality to the sustainability of the HOD, as follows: Nominating, Steering, Budget, Outreach, and WEFMAX. Eric Lynne is now serving as the Chair of the Outreach Committee in its efforts to keep all the delegates informed with the activities of WEF, the other HOD committees, and workgroups.
Each year there are a handful of workgroups that are focus groups with specific tasks to improve the organization. The workgroups were identified as follows:
Member Relations: This is a rebranding of a previous workgroup, with a primary goal of implementing the new dues strategy.
* Provide input and disseminate information on WEF dues strategy
* Provide input on 2017 WEFTEC Membership Recruitment Initiative
* Continue dialogue on WEF and association only memberships
Operator Initiatives: This workgroup is re-emerging to enhance WEF’s operator taskforce and operator advisory panel in their mission to help attract, prepare, and retain the next generation of operators.
* Develop promotional materials to support Operator Ingenuity Contest
* Survey associations on operator workforce development
* Review operator training materials to provide a gap analysis for content
Student Chapters Communications: This workgroup is new, and was developed based on feedback from the membership that student relations need to be enhanced.
* Review student chapter communications with associations and WEF to develop a gap analysis
* Identify challenges and successes that associations experience with students
* Update and maintain current contact information resources for student chapters and universities
* Provide improvement concepts to streamline communications with chapters
Note the workgroups are open to anyone (not just delegates). During the meeting, each delegate is asked to choose a workgroup to participate in for breakout sessions. It was clear that the Student Chapter Workgroup was a high priority to many associations, especially CSWEA, as all three attendees from our region (Eric Lynne, Mark Eddington, and Tracy Ekola) were present to participate in this relevant task force. Monthly meetings are scheduled – so ask your delegates for feedback as this develops.
After the HOD meeting, the delegates joined the Students and Young Professionals in the construction of their 10th Annual Community Service Project. Over 230 volunteers built a bioswale, rain garden, and permeable classroom at a local Chicago elementary school.
VOLUNTEER SERVICE RECOGNITION PROGRAM
The Committee Leadership Council and House of Delegates created the Volunteer Service Recognition program and awarded pins to several individuals for outstanding service.
A hot topic for outreach has been WEF’s Utility of the Future program. This year an additional 25 water utilities were added to the Utility of the Future program, including CSWEA’s own St. Cloud, MN. Consider submitting your facility to receive recognition for forward-thinking, innovative utilities that provide resilient, value-added service to their communities. Note, that recognition is only valid for three years; however, it can be reapplied for based on continued successes or advancements in other areas at any time.
WEF has hired a communication’s director, which has sparked change in the organization. Travis Loop is active on the social media front, and inidcated plans for re-branding the Water’s Worth It campaign.
Finally, four (4) locations have been chosen to host WEFMAX in 2018. WEFMAX offers an opportunity for MA leaders at all levels to join together, share success stories and ideas on how MA members can be better served. These fast-paced, interactive meetings are open to all members and provide for both enlightenment and networking with other leaders of the water profession from throughout North America and beyond. The locations and dates are as follows:
* April 11-13, 2018: Little Rock, AR
* April 25-27, 2018: Indianapolis, IN
* May 9-11, 2018: Girdwood, AK
* May 23-25, 2018: Wrightsville Beach, NC
All association leaders are encouraged to attend at least one of these events if able.
DELEGATE TRANSITIONAL NOTE
Mark Eddington is currently serving as our second delegate through 2020. At the May 2018 Annual Conference Mark will be stepping down to serve as the 2nd Vice President; Derek Wold will continue the delegate term through 2020. Eric Lynne will remain the senior delegate during this transition and will engage Mark and Derek respectively for HOD activities.