CSWEA WEF Delegates’ Report

    Highlights from wefmax

    by Eric Lynne & Derek Wold


    The House of Delegates (HOD) members are busy this time of year attending WEFMAX and completing committee work before WEFTEC. Eric, Derek and Mohammed represented CSWEA at WEFMAX this year in Nashville and Scottsdale. The WEFMAX takeaways are summarized below, please use these advancements to enhance CSWEA’s alignment with the four mission objectives promoted by WEF.


    March 27-29


    Session I – Host Session

    • AZ Water – The representatives from AZ talked a lot about their Leadership Series and Annual Conference. The Leadership Series has been well received and focuses on examples of how leaders became successful and professional development. The conference has outgrown its current space and after a long search, they settled on the Phoenix Convention Center. The biggest takeaway is that this is a combined conference with AWWA, which significantly increases their attendance. Most of the attendees that I talked to have a joint annual conference with AWWA.
    • WEF Operator Training
        • A new textbook, Wastewater Treatment Fundamentals – Liquid Train, is complete. The book is getting really good reviews and also has a trainers kit and slides for operator training available for purchase. We may want to consider this for CSWEA operator training.
        • AZ Water presented on their operator events, which focus on competitions and networking events (typically a bags tournament car show, etc.) and are often on weekends. AZ has similar struggles as CSWEA with a large area to cover with several population centers.

    Session II – Engagement Innovations

    • Ohio presented on the videos they created. This is similar to the My Water Legacy video that we prepared at our annual conference last year. A focus of the discussion was on how to use the video and get it out to people.
    • Rocky Mountain presented on YP engagement. They basically host their events in Denver and struggle with engaging the members in New Mexico and Wyoming. Webinars is one way to engage. Note that AWWA has made push recently to end joint YP events. Biggest challenges are keeping YPs together (AWWA) and employer support.

    Session III – Workforce

    • Pacific Northwest presented on their initiatives to engage women in water. They have a long standing networking event at their annual conference and an annual award for the Top Woman in Water.
    • Central States presented on training and engaging operators and GWS.
    • Our takeaways included a need to engage a more diverse workforce when they are younger, a need to attend STEM programs and talk about getting diverse workforce involved, and a need to expand our outreach to inner city schools.

    Session IV – HOD Diversity and Inclusion Workshop

    • This was more of generations talk. Learn, Communicate, Act.

    Session V – Partnering

    • WEF staff presented on their current initiatives and ask for input on how they can support the MAs more.
    • The session transitioned to clarify how MAs utilize WEF and what roles should be:
    • What is WEF’s Role?
      • To host WEFTEC
      • To bring MAs together
      • To provide support and resources to MAs to succeed, thrive and continue to grow.
      • To provide overarching vision of organization as a whole since MAs will have their own vision – keep moving in same direction; guidance and vision globally.
      • To be a national and global voice.
      • To be a safety net for MAs that are going through challenges.
      • To provide consistency – MAs and people involved are constantly changing so WEF needs to be the consistent voice.
      • To contribute content creation and training resources.
      • To provide access to national speakers for regional conferences.
      • To provide operator certification.
      • To be a national voice for congressional rulemaking of our governance.


      What is MA’s Role?

      • To have MA Conferences.
      • To monitor legislation in our states.
      • To provide member engagement since we are closest resource to our members.
      • To hold localized operator training, local seminars.
      • To communicate with WEF and making it known what MA’s needs are – can be intimidating.
      • To be eyes and ears for WEF and help identify issues whether big or small.
      • To provide local networking opportunities for our local groups.


      How do WEF/MA Intersect?

      • Exclusively – true partnership, there may not be any exclusive roles – partially responsible for success of WEF and MA.
      • Both WEF and MA define customer as our member. Becomes difficult if the voice is different (MA-only membership). WEF needs to look at MAs as customer as well and better define how that partnership works. All MAs are different (sizes, structure, resources).
        • Self-serve (i.e. Monthly articles).
        • Leadership development resources (i.e. WEFMAX, WEFTEC Leadership Day).
        • Communications (i.e. WEF Leader, YP Connection, This Week in Washington, HOD Speaker Quarterly Update).
        • Membership Resources (i.e. Planning guide for membership, new member welcome letter).
        • Marketing Resources.To look at each service to see which items are valuable.

    Session VI – Membership

    • AZ Water – Conference Vendor Pricing.
    • Iowa WEA – Officer position Descriptions.
    • New Jersey WEA – Scholarship Guidelines.


    May 29 – 31


    • Virginia is hiring additional paid staff to manage membership for items that were neglected, such as on boarding, exit surveys, and populating their database.
    • Kentucky-Tennessee hosts a Utility Manager’s Forum that is by invite only (no vendors or consultants).
    • Kentucky-Tennessee has rebranded their organization (no one could easily explain what a Water Environment was) to focus on Clean Water – the final product of our work. They are working on a handout to help utilities figure out the process of re-naming a facility. A key feature to their next event is to have four craft brews develop several barrels of ‘Next Round Brewing’ an effluent derived beer.
    • Michigan has adapted the Utility of the Future Award to a Premier Utility Management Performance (PUMP) award for facilities that lead the sector.
    • WEF’s new operator manual is available. These manuals will serve as an option to the traditional ‘Sacramento’ Books. Central States would get a discount on these books if we wanted to purchase a set for the Operator Training seminars. WEF is now developing a trainer’s kit to complement the book. WEF is trying to assemble links to the certification advancement pathways for each state.
    • Pacific Northwest hosts a Women in Water event. Events are encouraged to be women only to allow those less outgoing a spot to network and/or have a voice. They are currently looking into developing a (7S) shovel as necklace form to accommodate clothing that does not accommodate a pin/clip. A new T-Shirt for Women in Water is available for purchase and proceeds go toward a scholarship.
    • For meetings where we need to vote or provide preferences/feedback, consider use of a live (anonymous) survey on www.polleverywhere.com via text messages from cell phone.
    • MA Resources Workgroup is assembling useful info from all MAs. Items that are currently being assembled include.
      • Annual Report template.
      • Organizational Chart for MA and Local Arrangements.
      • Webinar Organization/Management
      • Risk adverse investment guide to create a scholarship program.



    For the third year, the Committee Leadership Council is seeking nominations for the Volunteer Service Recognition Program to recognize individuals for outstanding service. Nominations are due June 30.


    WEFMAX 2020

    Future WEFMAX conferences will be held in Hawaii, South Carolina, New York/New Jersey, and North Dakota. Look for an update to the timing and location of each at WEFTEC this September.



    Just as CSWEA utilizes an executive director to keep us organized, so does WEF. Eileen O’Neil had served in this role for many years. After a proper search, WEF has hired Walter Marlowe to lead the organization. If anyone wants additional information on the new hire, contact Eric or Derek. Walt will start on September 9, 2019.

    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.