CSWEA WEF Delegates’ Report


    by David Arnott & Tracy Ekola 
    Updated 2/11/22

    Greetings from Dave and Tracy, your WEF delegates from CSWEA!  We are looking forward to the Annual Meeting in May – hope to see you all in Madison!  Here some updates from WEF and the House of Delegates (HOD):

    WEFMAX Registration is OPEN. All are invited to attend the in-person WEFMAX meetings hosted by Hawaii WEA, WEA of South Carolina, and North Dakota WEA. There will be a different theme for each WEFMAX. Hawaii will focus on Communications, South Carolina will focus on Emerging Leaders, and North Dakota will focus on DE&I. A virtual WEFMAX is also being planned, however not yet scheduled.  CSWEA members are invited to register for these events to network and learn more about other member associations and WEF.  https://www.wef.org/membership/wef-member-associations/wefmax/

    WEF Strategic Planning continues. WEF, working with a consulting partner, THRUUE, has conducted a first round of focus groups. WEF members shared about what they value from WEF and industry trends. The Board of Trustees (BOT) has begun diving into WEF’s mission and vision, answering the critical question of “why does WEF exist?” The process will continue through the first half of 2022 with the goal of completing the work before WEFTEC 2022. The next planning sessions with THRUUE will occur after the WEF Board Meeting later this month.

    WEF/AWWA YP Summit . The WEF/AWWA YP Summit occurred in conjunction with the Utility Management Conference (UMC) in Orlando. The WEF Emerging YP Leadership Workshop was held February 20 and YP Summit on February 21.

    MA Grant Program Returns. The MA Grant Program has returned for 2022. The first round of applications has been completed and next round applications are due by June 24th.

    HOD Workgroups and Committee Off and Running. Each of the HOD efforts in our workgroups and committee are underway. Dave is working with the Communications and Emerging Leaders workgroups and Tracy is working with the Federal Advocacy Workgroup.

    The Federal Advocacy workgroup is continuing the work from 2020-2021 to assist with amplifying WEF’s advocacy priorities related to the federal government regulations and funding.  WEF has advocated for more resources for our communities and utilities.  This workgroup is focused on extending advocacy efforts to all member associations (MAs).


    The workgroup has created the following subcommittees to communicate and encourage advocacy efforts in 2022 through the following channels:

    • Print/ Newsletter to WEF members and MA’s
    • Webinar/ Presentations to WEF members and MA’s
    • Social Media/ Email Blasts to WEF members and MA’s


    WEF’s efforts helped increase appropriations by Congress to the Clean Water Revolving Fund (CW SRF).   Congress recently established several new infrastructure funding programs to address a variety of priority areas for wastewater and stormwater. Continued efforts are needed to further implement funding.  Recent past successes have been in part due to our members writing Members of Congress, visiting their representatives, and being informed on the issues.


    If you haven’t already, please consider becoming a Water Advocates (wef.org)

    Also check out information on Water Week  2022 here:  www.waterweek.us


    The Federal Advocacy workgroup is closely linked to the WEF Government Affairs Committee and has been tracking the Bipartisan 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:

    Steve Dye, WEF Legislative Director, is leading the effort to track developments of this bill. Steve can be reached at sdye@wef.org.  Tracy Ekola participates on both the Federal Advocacy and the Government Affairs Committee and can be contacted at tekola@brwncald.com.


    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.


    We have identified a series of leaders in the water industry to talk with the workgroup at our monthly meetings about the importance of and how to conduct clear communication with the various stakeholders in the water sector. The goal is that our workgroup will learn communication best practices from these leaders. Our first speaker was Randy Hayman, Esq. Commissioner & CEO of Philadelphia Water.  Randy shared some great insights such as: being willing to have the tough conversations, giving plenty of advance notice of meetings and presentations so stakeholders can prepare and they are not surprised, demonstrating that you are approachable and that you listen, and showing respect to your stakeholders by allowing them time to come back to you with questions and comments after an idea or initiative is first introduced.



    The Emerging Leaders workgroup is another workgroup at WEF.  For WEF to continue to grow, we need the engagement and advancement of new leaders from within the organization.


    This workgroup wants to identify different paths to WEF leadership to facilitate a broader

    spectrum of involvement by WEF members. To do this, at the workgroup meetings for the first part of the year, we will have one or two members share the WEF Story. These are stories of how they become involved in their MA and WEF.  We hope to uncover some non-traditional pathways of MA and WEF leadership and contributions. We will then share these pathways in hopes to spark interest among WEF member on ways to emerge as a WEF leader.



    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!    tekola@brwncald.com    darnott@ruekert-mielke.com



    Mission Statement

    To provide a Water Environment Federation (WEF) organization (Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin) offering multiple opportunities for the exchange of water quality knowledge and experiences among its members and the public and to foster a greater awareness of water quality achievements and challenges.