Wow, the Annual Meeting a tremendous success! It was so wonderful to see everyone in person again, it felt like a family reunion. Lindsey Busch, LAC Chair, and the rest of the team put so much planning and coordination efforts into the event and it really showed. The Technical Program Committee, under the leadership of Emma Larson and Mandy Sheposh, knocked it out of the park. The Technical Program continues to be one of the reasons why this Annual Meeting is so successful, year after year. Although there were challenges, Mohammed and Amy did a fantastic job with the transition back to an in-person event. There are so many people that put their mark on this event. Congratulations and thank you to all who made it happen! It was truly an example of how great our CSWEA organization is, and the willingness of so many members stepping up and volunteering to help when and where needed.
I could not be prouder or more honored to start my new role as the CSWEA President. I want to thank Jane, Mark, Doug, and the rest of the Executive Committee, all state section committee members, and, of course, Mohammed and Amy for their leadership the last two to three years. There were a lot of challenges and everyone has stepped up, adapted and found a way to make things happen. An incredible example of adaptation and collaboration to achieve great things. That is one reason why I love this association and being part of it – the people.
In the last year, I have been thinking about goals and objectives for the next 12 months for our organization. There are three things I am hoping we can all focus on.
Number one is mentoring and engaging our emerging leaders (which also happens to be one of WEF’s focus areas). There are many people that have mentored and encouraged me, and I cannot say thank you enough to you all. I want to thank Patti Craddock specifically. She was that person at my first Annual Meeting that took the time out of her busy day to say hi, welcomed me, and introduced me to others. At every Annual Meeting that I attended after, she would be there with a big hug. Her energy and passion are contagious and I just love being around people that get that sparkle in their eye when they talk about what they do. Find those people around you and welcome and engage them. The motto for this focus area is “Be Like Patti.”
Number two is to think big, have bold ideas, and be brave enough to implement them. We need to take risks, adapt, and evolve. We need to see the future, and go there. We need to think outside of the traditional realm of wastewater and stormwater treatment. We are all charged with many responsibilities in this industry as water and energy professionals. Some of those responsibilities include: protecting our receiving waters, providing cost-effective services to keep user rates low, and reducing our carbon footprint. Ultimately, the biggest responsibility we have, and the goal that many of us have: do today, what we can, to leave this a better place. My colleague shared this question with me not too long ago, which struck her and I alike. The question was “What kind of ancestor do you want to be?” The motto for this focus area is “Big, Bold, and Brave.”
Lastly, the third focus area, is take action and don’t underestimate the impact of small actions. Big aspirations and goals can be very overwhelming. Sometimes that prevents you from acting upon those goals. Focus on what you can do, and act upon that. One little action can generate the momentum for great things to happen. Then you combine all those “little things” together from you and those around you, then you can watch success unfold before your very eyes. The motto for this focus area is “Big Goals, One Small Step at a Time.”
We will be holding the Central States Exchange (CSX) in Wisconsin Dells on July 28–29, 2022 at the Kalahari Resort. We will be taking some time during this event to brainstorm ideas on how to implement these focus areas and develop an action plan for the next year. Hope to see you there!