IT IS WHATEVER YOU MAKE IT
By Troy Larson
In looking around Central States it’s hard not to be impressed with how an organization with a defined charter and well-established culture can also promote such great individuality. Sometimes people focus on ways to contribute that perfectly uses their respective skills and other times people use the organization to develop skills such as public speaking or leadership. Some people enjoy the conference seminars and workshops to stay connected with old friends and others use them to network and create new connections. At the 91st Annual Conference you couldn’t help but be impressed with those who developed and continue to grow Global Water Stewardship. This is an initiative that was born in the minds of a few individuals and with their effort and the support of a strong organization, Global Water Stewardship has become a fantastic component of the organization.
I am not suggesting we should all do something as grand as Global Water Stewardship, it would be hard to sustain too many initiatives as ambitious as it is. I am, however, suggesting members look for opportunities within the WI Section that meets their sensibilities and professional passions and they get involved and put their own personal stamp on the growth and sustainment of this terrific organization. Examples of people who are doing this are easy to find. Review the roster of committee members involved with putting on any seminar, workshop, or other activity that provides networking and educational opportunities for our membership. Within the collection system seminar, for example, you will find people with a strong desire to further the education of professionals responsible for the maintenance, operation, and design of our collection systems. For me, the committee that has been most influential has been the Wisconsin Section Operations Committee. I joined the committee that at that time, was Chaired by Dave Arnott. Dave invested much of his time in getting the committee stronger with new members and improving coordination with initiatives like the operations teams. When I took over the committee, CSWEA was looking to hold seminars to discuss digester foaming and the Wisconsin Section Operations Committee was asked to conduct these seminars. This evolved into seminars addressing fundamental troubleshooting of common processes like activated sludge. Fundamentals, training, and troubleshooting all are important to me so as Committee Chair I enjoyed and benefited from leading a committee that focused on these attributes. Now Jeremy Cramer is the WI Section Operations Chair, and he has held true to the committee’s foundation while placing an emphasis on innovation and resource recovery. If I did not replace Dave, he might not have had the time to proceed with other endeavors and eventually become this year’s CSWEA President. If Jeremy did not succeed me, I would not have had time to become the WI Section Chair, an honor that I am thrilled to have. Someday, someone with ideas and talents that we have not considered previously will replace Jeremy allowing growth and change.
To me, this illustrates how individuals can insert their own style and passion into similar projects and create uniquely different outcomes. It also demonstrates the importance of having succession plans so we cycle through many different people who can bring unique perspectives to broaden our organization. I ask each of you to find a committee that you can invest some of your valuable time into and build on what has been built. Be confident and secure in what you have to offer and be generous with your skills and perspectives.
Note that in addition to our typical calendar of events the WI Section led by the Operations Committee, is hosting the EPA for a management seminar that will be held on July 26 in Oshkosh. Please look for information in upcoming e-mail blasts for this one-time opportunity.
I welcome Rachel Lee as the incoming WI Vice-Chair and Samantha (Sam) Austin as the incoming Secretary. Both Rachel and Sam have roots within the organization in the young professional committee and their perspectives growing the membership will undoubtedly bring value. Succession and change allowed them to take on their new roles, their previous accomplishments left their successors in great position to succeed.
Thank you to Veronica Loete for your service as Section Secretary and the great advice regarding the transition. Thank you to Alan Grooms for your pragmatic and practical service to the WI Section as you roll off as the now Past-Past Chair. Congratulations to Jay Kemp on completion of your duties as WI Section Chair and thank you for your guidance and assistance as I prepare for the year ahead.
As stated at the beginning, “It is whatever you make it”. Let’s make it a wonderful year!