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WEF Delegates’ Report – CSWEA

    CSWEA WEF Delegates’ Report


    by David Arnott & Tracy Ekola 
    Updated 6/11/22

    Greetings from Dave and Tracy, your WEF delegates from CSWEA.  Here some updates from WEF and the House of Delegates (HOD):

    WEFMAX Update. All are invited to attend the in-person WEFMAX meetings.  There are four events scheduled for 2022.  The Hawaii WEA hosted a WEFMAX on April 20-22 that focused on Communications. Dave and Tracy were not able to attend this event as much as we wanted to. WEF Delegate-At Large, Mandy Sheposh, did attend.  Feel free to reach out to Mandy for detailed information.

    The South Carolina WEA hosted WEFMAX on May 11-13 where Emerging Leaders was the theme. Dave Arnott attended this event. WEF had identified that the same groups of people tend to be on committees and in leadership positions in WEF.  WEF would like a broader spectrum of member participation.  Specific hurdles and potential solutions for WEF participation among Emerging Leaders were considered in detail at this event.

    The North Dakota WEA hosted a WEFMAX on June 1-3 that focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I).  The event included an interactive DE&I activity that can be used at a member association (MA) workshop/meeting.  The activity was 60-90 minutes and included a prepared power point presentation that can be customized for each MA.  Discussions during the DE&I activity included goal setting, issue identification, action plan, and DEI initiative implementation.  For more information, please feel free to contact Tracy Ekola at tekola@brwncald.com.

    In addition, a virtual WEFMAX is also scheduled for July 21 from 1 to 2:30 CST.  This WEFMAX will focus on the WEF Strategic Plan underway currently. More details will follow for this WEFMAX.

    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/.  Feel free to reach out to Dave and Tracy for details on the South Carolina and North Dakota WEA WEFMAX events.

    WEF Strategic Planning continues. It has been ten years since the last Strategic Planning effort. WEF started this new initiative in July of 2021. 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. Highlights from this effort will be shared at the virtual WEFMAX on July 21st.

    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.

    WEF Code of Conduct.  WEF strongly encourages MAs to create their own Code of Conduct (CoC). If an MA does not have its own CoC, the WEF CoC applies.  If an MA does have its own COC, in general, the WEF CoC does not apply. WEF is also working on an event-specific CoC.  Stay tuned for more details on this.

    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).


    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.  In addition, the focus for continued SRF funding levels for the FY23 Budget is part of our ongoing ‘ask’.

    Recent WEF Fly-In information is attached and was presented to various legislators during Water Week in Washington DC.

    Steve Dye, WEF Legislative Director and 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 and share them with WEF and the MAs. Some best practices are as simple as using the right language at a public meeting.  For example, using the term “wastewater discharge” instead of “effluent” resonates more with the general public and is more understandable.


    The workgroup has broken up into two subgroups.  The first subgroup is considering messaging methods.  This subgroup will look at various forms of communication such as written, digital, videos and how these forms are used to reach specific audiences.  The second subgroup is looking specifically at social media and will research effective forms of digital communication.



    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 has been analyzing various polls and has followed up with 5-10 minute interviews from Emerging Leaders at the Orlando YP Summit held in Orlando of this year.  The feedback will help guide our group.


    The deliverable to WEF from this group is being developed and will probably consist of a WEF social media tool to for water professionals to identify pathways to WEF involvement.  Ideas include potentially a WEF LinkedIn or Instagram tool with short questions and answers.  The tool would be made available to MAs as well.



    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.