Executive Director's Message

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

The Executive Director’s Message covers the meetings of CWEA’s State Board of Directors on your behalf after each quarterly Board meeting. This issue highlights the June 26-27 Board workshop and meeting. With our fiscal year starting on July 1st this issue is dedicated to our FY15-16 program of work and budget just approved by the Board.

Our accomplishments from 14-15 included:

* 9,500 members strong as of May 2015
* 21st Century Education & AC Growth Strategy – momentum generated with AC15 improvements – check out the 5 Great Video Moments from the Opening General Session and Awards Luncheon.
* Cert Strategic Planning – plan for 15-16
* Cert Prep – 13 sessions held by Local Sections drawing 500+ professionals
* Agency outreach – increased connection with agencies primarily through CASA, WEF, Baywork

Be sure to view our “storyboards” that give context for our FY15-16 budget, our membership and certification fee increases, and our investment in special initiatives from our Project Fund. Also download our most current dashboard showing the metrics the Board tracks to monitor progress on our strategic plan. We review this dashboard at every Board meeting.

FY 15-16 Program of Work: It’s Back to the Future for CWEA! Major Certification Strategic Plan Underway; 21st Century Education Coming to More Events
On Saturday June 27th the CWEA Board approved another year of programs and the budget for FY 15-16 during the quarterly Board meeting in Oakland. We continue to reinvest in member services and programs as the economy improves. See the infographic, which details the budget for FY 15-16.

FY15-16 Key Goals
Goal Purpose
Build (and renew) our Association’s infrastructure to support continuing growth – including: staff reorg/onboarding new staff; expanding the use of our association management software; and develop a multi-year marketing plan Achieve a measurable return on investment on our marketing plan, achieve increased participation, and improve member value.
Maintain high certification standards with stakeholder research and action plan for FY 16-17 Stay on top of emerging certifications, develop certification programs that are responsive and relevant to stakeholders.
Implement our 21st Century Education Plan Improve participants’ learning and engagement and their experience at our education events.
Enhance Local Section Support & Services Expand support from headquarters for certification prep sessions and assign the new Communications and Marketing staff to assist local sections with communication and marketing support.

We’ve staged work on our key priorities, which are in addition to our core work, with the following timeline:

Jul – Dec 2015

  • Staff reorganization, hire, onboard, new staff –See new Staff Directory attached
  • Conduct discovery phase / due diligence on WEF Utility Partnership Program (UPP)
  • Complete current cert revalidation cycle
  • Refine & begin implementing Yr 1 marketing plan & begin developing multi-year marketing plan
  • Analyze updated conference loyalty data (21st Century learning measures)
  • Complete negotiation on Tri-State Seminar Mutual Participation Agreement (expires 12/2015)
  • Review/Revise policies identified for FY15-16 (including FP 104 – Local Section Finances)
  • Complete negotiation on SSS WDR training agreement with SWRCB (expires 12/2015)
  • Plan AC 16, including 21st Century learning improvements.
  • Address emerging certifications (e.g. potable reuse operator, advanced treatment, Green Infrastructure construction and maintenance)

Jan – Jun 2016

  • Certification strategic planning…complete “straw man” strategic plan, begin and complete stakeholder research, complete cert data analysis.
  • Plan program of work and develop budget for FY16-17
  • Plan and execute AC 16, including 21st Century learning improvements
  • Implement year 1 marketing plan & develop multi-year marketing plan
  • Plan and execute netForum version upgrade (our association management system)
  • Continue to address emerging certifications



  • Develop certification action plan based on certification strategic plan (Q1); implement action plan (beginning Q2)
  • Conduct strategic planning for the overall organization
  • Implement WEF UPP (if recommended in FY15-16)
  • Introduce new format for Northern Regional education events (shifting from multi-day Northern Regional Training Conference to multiple one-day events).

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.

Growth and improvement come with investment.  We are keeping CWEA on stable financial ground by prioritizing our existing program-of-work and setting membership dues at $164/year, an $8 increase. This allows us to offset investments made from our project fund so we can continue building the MyCWEA.org association management infrastructure, continue our projects and programs 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 credibility for those who hold CWEA certification, we are increasing certification application fees by $5 and renewal fees by $2, effective July 1, 2015. The Board continues to invest in the program – to minimize the impact of fee increases on our certificate-holders.

Certification FY15-16 Application Fee – CWEA Member Price
(non-members add $164)
Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4
$155 $170 $185 $200

Certification FY15-16 Renewal Fee – CWEA Member Price
(non-members add $164)
Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4
$81 $86 $91 $96


Local section & committee budgets approved

The Board approved Local Section and Committee budgets for FY 15-16. Committee budgets, totaling about $76k in expenses, are included in CWEA’s state-level operating budget.  Local Section budgets total about $590k and are not included in the state-level operating budget. We do include Local Section financial activity in our financial reports as well as our audit and tax filings.

A few good volunteers needed
CWEA always has volunteer opportunities available which help you develop leadership and management skills while you give back to your profession. Here are some areas where your contributions will have a major impact in the coming year:

Contact information for all CWEA Committee Chairs and committee descriptions can be found online at mycwea.org.

Next Board meeting

Our next Board meeting will be October 29, 2015 in Oakland, CA.

About the Author

Megan Barillo

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