Executive Director’s Message

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

This Executive Director’s Message highlights the June 27-28 Board workshop and meeting. CWEA’s fiscal year starts July 1 so much of this message is dedicated to the FY 14-15 program of work and budget just approved by the Board.

Investing in new CWEA programs for FY 14-15 – Our Members Are Worth It…On Saturday June 28th the CWEA Board approved another year of programs and the budget for FY 14-15 during the quarterly Board meeting in Oakland. We continue to reinvest in member services and new programs as the California economy improves.

The Board continues to focus on three key areas:

  1. Implementing more features from the new association management software, known as MyCWEA.org, which provides a strong foundation to operate our organization. Watch for CWEA contact hours in your member profile and the ability to submit speaker proposals online.
  2. Maintaining the high standards and trust in our competency-based certification program.
  3. Taking our educational programs to a new level with revamped, 21st-Century learning format.

Like many associations and agencies, CWEA faces an array of issues competing for our attention. Over the previous 12 months we completed our FY 13-14 goals while also managing special project requests from members, State Water Board leaders, fellow clean water associations, WEF, and other associations. The Board believes in staying focused, while leaving some room for staff to try new ideas as they come up. Remaining nimble helps CWEA and our members support the utilities of the future.

Project highlights for FY14-15:

  • Complete revalidation of the Mechanical Technology certification exams.
  • Embark on a strategic planning effort to imagine an even brighter future for CWEA’s certification program.
  • Overhaul opening day at Annual Conference to focus on high-priority topics for our water environment sector and present the info in an innovative and exciting manner.

Several of last year’s important projects will continue, including: ensuring staff are available to assist members and exhibitors as they start using MyCWEA.org; expanding our leadership development events; and supporting local section cert prep sessions at sites throughout the State.

The Board also believes in joining our fellow associations in California (known as the Clean Water Summit Partners) and approved investing in priority projects that benefit our profession, including:  continued funding for pesticide research; and supporting new, independent research into the ramifications of citizen lawsuits filed against agencies for sewer spills.

In addition, CWEA staff will invest time and resources to explore two priority WEF projects – a partnership program and a membership growth project. We expect both projects could benefit our members and their agencies.

Finally, to support our outreach messages CWEA is adopting WEF’s outstanding public education program called WATER’S WORTH IT™. As we try to survive the drought and with a growing backlog of water infrastructure projects – public education is key to our success. We need to build support for California water infrastructure and for our brave, hard-working water environment professionals.

In the upcoming year CWEA will focus on member services, certification, leadership development, and enhanced educational opportunities. We believe our members are worth it, WATER’S WORTH IT and so is CWEA!

Interested in using the WATER’S WORTH IT message at your agency? Check out the WEF tool kit at www.waters-worth-it.org/get-started. One requirement – WATER’S WORTH IT is always in upper case – we’re not shouting, promise.

Growth & improvement come with investment:  Member dues increase $8; Certification application fees go up $5 and renewal fees go up $2…With every budget, we look at the pricing of all of the products and services that CWEA provides – to both members and nonmembers – taking into account CWEA’s need for sustainability and investment in improved services, as well as our fiscal realities. During the worst of the economic crisis (2008 – 2011), the Board kept dues static despite increases in overall operational costs. We are still catching up from that dues freeze.

We are keeping CWEA on stable financial ground by prioritizing our existing program of work and setting membership dues at $156/year, an $8 increase. This allows us to invest from and replenish the project fund so we can continue building the MyCWEA.org association management infrastructure, and start our list of special projects to serve members and prepare for future opportunities. Being good stewards of CWEA finances requires us to manage our current commitments efficiently, while keeping an eye on longer-term trends that impact our effectiveness.

In order to cover ongoing revalidation costs to keep certification tests job-related and to ensure the credibility for those who hold CWEA certification, we are increasing certification application fees by $5 and renewal fees by $2, effective July 1, 2014. The Board continues to invest in the program – to minimize the impact of fee increases on our certificate-holders.

Certification FY14-15 Application Fee – CWEA Member Price
(non-members add $156)
Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4
$150 $165 $180 $195
Certification FY14-15 Renewal Fee – CWEA Member Price
(non-members add $156)
Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4
$79 $84 $89 $94

Local section & committee budgets approved…
The Board approved Local Section and Committee budgets for FY 14-15 and acknowledged the outstanding efforts of these groups: P3S Committee for starting a process to invest in more research projects and Southern Sections Collection Systems Committee for investing in programs that support certification.

Annual Conference mission and goals identified…The Board confirmed its intention to make CWEA’s Annual Conference a leading conference in the water environment sector that helps our future leaders leave the sector in a better place when they retire.  With our Annual Conference Committees, we’ll be working towards offering an Annual Conference that helps:

  1. paint a vision of the effective utility of the future and a roadmap to get from here to there
  2. grow leadership skills and capacity
  3. improve consumer / rate-payer education and communication

We’ll continue offering participants opportunities to address today’s challenges while adding opportunities to attract and serve the future needs of those who lead our sector’s workforce and those who lead major projects. We are committed to designing an overall conference experience that is experiential, participatory, visual, and that creates community and connections. We will begin designing and delivering education that helps equip conference participants to solve their most pressing problems and leverage opportunities. We’ll integrate 21st Century learning principles in our offerings. And we’ll be working to create an exhibit hall experience that focuses on helping and educating.

This won’t happen all at once. We won’t be turning the entire conference upside down; we’ll make some changes each year and see what works well and what doesn’t and learn from that. We made some changes to the 2014 Annual Conference and will continue with some changes to the 2015 Annual Conference. So keep an eye out for the 2015 Annual Conference, April 28-May 1, 2015 in San Diego. It won’t be the same old same old.

Plan ahead and mark your calendars now for the 2016 Annual Conference, April 26-29, 2016 in Santa Clara, and the just-approved 2017 Annual Conference, May 1-5, 2017 in Palm Springs.

CWEA & WEF to Host Inauguration Event at WEFTEC for Ed McCormick…CWEA will carry the California banner into WEFTEC  (September 27th to October 1st in New Orleans) as we host the inauguration event for incoming WEF President and CWEA member Ed McCormick. As the spotlight swings to shine on California we hope to show the very best of our clean water achievements and celebrate Ed’s achievements as a wastewater innovator.

We’re honored to have support for the inauguration event from: CWEA Redwood Empire Section; CWEA San Francisco Bay Section; Carollo; CH2M Hill; HDR; Hazen & Sawyer; RMC Water; Black & Veatch; Tetra Tech; JWC Environmental; and, many CWEA Past Presidents.

Next Board meeting…Our next Board meeting will be September 9, 2014 in Sacramento, CA, as part of the Northern Regional Training Conference. Committee quarterly reports, informational items, and requests for Board action are due August 21, 2014. Make it simple and use the report template at

Questions?  Feedback?  Comments? If you have any questions about CWEA or our Board work, contact me. I’m interested in knowing how things are going for you, seeing how we can help, as well as hearing your input on how we can improve.

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