Executive Director's Message

Executive Director Elizabeth Allan

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

This Executive Director’s Message briefs you on the work on your behalf of CWEA’s Board of Directors over the last few months. The Board met on April 16 and 20, hosted our Annual Conference in Palm Springs, and held CWEA’s Annual Business Meeting.

State of the Association…
Our 12-13 President Carrie Mattingly updated attendees at our April 17th Annual Business Meeting on the State of the Association. Accomplishments included…celebrating 75 years of technical certification…membership at record high of 9,441 at the end of March…continued high quality face-to-face training at the state and local section level…reinvigorated regional committees – the go-to-place for local section collaboration and discussions…a renewed Memorandum of Agreement with State Water Resources Control Board to provide training related to the SSS WDR…and on-track advancement of the infrastructure replacement of our Association Management System. The Association received a clean annual audit with one GAAP departure, which we anticipated (for treatment of membership dues on a cash basis). So far into our Fiscal Year all current indicators suggest that overall we are performing at or better than budget year-to-date. The last quarter of our Fiscal Year (ending June 30) is when a lot of the magic happens. So….over the next few months we will be on heightened alert to monitor performance to budget. The slate of board candidates was also approved during this meeting.

2013-14 Board elected…
Members attending CWEA’s April 17th Annual Business Meeting unanimously approved the slate of candidates for the 2013-14 Board of Directors as recommended by the Board:

  • Vice President from the North (becoming President in 2015-16): Phil Scott, District Manager, West Bay Sanitation District.
  • Director from the North (to be Treasurer): Gayle Tupper, retired from East Bay Municipal District.
  • Director from the South: Chuck Greely, Senior Project Manager, Dudek & Associates.
  • WEF Delegate Director from the North: Giti Heravian, Lab Director, Fairfield-Suisun Sanitation District.

Two additional directors joined the Board who are not elected by the general membership, but come to the Board through their respective committees:

  • Southern Regional Committee Chair/Director: Megan Yoo,  Design Engineer, Tetra Tech.
  • Technical Certification Program Chair/Director: Soma Bhadra,  Owner, PROTEUS Consulting.

Christoph Dobson, Director of Operations at Sacramento Area Sewer District, took office as CWEA’s 13-14 President on April 19th at the Annual Conference closing banquet. Sandra Ralston, WEF’s President-Elect, installed the entire 2013-14 Board at the Annual Conference installation/banquet. You can find the CWEA Board contact list at: http://www.cwea.org/cwq_cweaglance_board.shtml.

AC 13 proceedings will be available on our website by July 1…meanwhile a few AC Factoids…
Our 85th Annual Conference, held April 16-19 in Palm Springs, was very well attended and is receiving very positive reviews, especially on the strength of the technical program, the new cutting-edge track and large number of exhibitors Applause to our AC Committee and the standing committees who developed the program and events. A special thanks to AC 13 Co-Chairs Gina Cloutier and Connie Leonard. More than 200 volunteers, including speakers, make our Annual Conference possible. Here are a few AC factoids:

  • 1,060 attendees and speakers participated, including 200 at 8 pre-conference workshops-
  • 226 exhibit hall booths, for the first time we sold out 3 weeks before the conference!
  • Over $41,750 was received in sponsorships
  • 152 attendees went on 5 technical tours including 40 on a new full-day tour
  • 31.2 maximum contact hours, 28 Department of Public Health hours and, 5.6 SWRCB CEUs per attendee at the 49 technical sessions, 8 workshops, and 5 tours
  • The LA Wrecking Crew (LACSD) successfully defended their Operations Challenge Title at this year’s conference.  The Vallejo North Bay Ryders (VSFCD) and the South Bayside Sewer Avengers (SBSA) both competed fiercely in an attempt to defeat the Wrecking Crew.  All 3 teams look forward to representing CWEA at WEFTEC 2013 in Chicago.  A special 3 team Ops Challenge exhibition took place just prior to the main event.  The 3 teams were the “Has-Beens” (Past CWEA Presidents), “Board Stiff” (CWEA Board Members) and the “CakeEaters” (SYP & CWEA Staff).
  • Opening general session highlights…California’s Wastewater Professionals: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going speakers covered past accomplishments in water protection, current trends, and future needs. Dr. Nick Pinhey took us all back to the beginning of water recycling in his talk entitled “Back to the Future: California’s First Indirect Potable Reuse Facility.” The audience then witnessed the always “dignified” installation of 2013 Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers (5S) members. Local reporter K Kaufman shared her perspective on the water issues in the Coachella Valley. Ron Wildermuth from West Basin Municipal Water District updated the audience on the success of outreach in his talk entitled “Influencer-Focused Outreach: Successful, Award Winning and Measurable.” The opening session concluded with a fresh perspective by Dr. Carl Hensman with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Hensman talked about the impacts that can be made globally by innovative resource recovery.
  • We also had over 40 elected officials and their staff, join us for the day on Wednesday to get a first-hand update on the water issues in the Coachella Valley. The program included a tour of the exhibit hall.
  • The Conference featured two free-for-CWEA-members pre-conference workshops: Technical Certification Program Train the Trainer for study session moderators; and a leadership development workshop lead by Cynthia D’Amour. Cynthia energized and led the group of over 50 people to grow and develop their leadership skills within our organization and at their jobs.
  • AC 13 proceedings will be available at www.cwea.org by July 1st.

Local Sections & new 5S Shovelers donate $24,791 to our Scholarship Fund…
Nine Local Sections and one Committee presented $15,000 in donations and $8,372 in pledges to CWEA’s Kirt Brooks Memorial Water Environment Scholarship Fund during the Annual Conference. New 5S inductees were challenged to gather donations for the Scholarship Fund while at the conference and quickly raised $1,419. Donations and pledges during the conference totaled $24,791, one of the highest contribution levels in recent AC history. Those contributions bring the Fund to approximately $387,443. The Board is looking forward to reaching its $500k goal by 2015. With 9,441 members, that would only take an $11.92 donation from each member to reach our goal. Scholarship donations are accepted throughout the year, not just at our Annual Conference.

The Fund provides annual scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 to students in the water environment field. Seven scholarships were awarded for the 2013-14 school year, totaling $15,500. Scholarship applications for the 2014-15 school year will be available online in September. The application deadline is January 15—plan now for next year. Scholarship applicants do not have to be members of CWEA; however, they do need a CWEA member sponsor.

Dashboard updated as a measure of our progress…
We have found our Strategy Map to be an excellent tool for demonstrating how our resources and work line up to meet our strategic outcomes and to fulfill our mission by highlighting cause-and-effect linkages. The companion Dashboard shows the data and details used to measure our progress. The Dashboard shows a quarterly snapshot of CWEA’s event attendance, certificate-holders and applicants, membership numbers, financial performance, communications results, as well as milestone progress on key projects and initiatives. Review both the Map and the updated Dashboard online at http://www.cwea.org/mlr_leader_strategicplan.shtml.

Next Board meetings…
CWEA’s next Board meeting will be June 27th (workshop) and June 28th (meeting) in San Leandro. A big item on the Board’s June agenda is the next program of work, budget, and fees for our 2013-14 fiscal year beginning July 1.

Other upcoming Board meetings:

  • September 10, 2013 in Modesto (at NRTC).
  • January 24, 2014 & January 25, 2014 in San Diego (includes strategic-thinking workshop).
  • April 29, 2014 & May 3, 2014 in Santa Clara (at AC 2014).

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