Executive Director's Message

Executive Director Elizabeth Allan

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

This Executive Director’s Message brings you highlights from CWEA’s September 9 Board workshop and September 10 Board meeting.

Annual Conference growth workshop… As part of CWEA’s ongoing growth strategy, we’ve been working with two consultants from Velvet Chainsaw, a business improvement consulting company with a specific focus on meetings, conference and tradeshow markets. They sent a “secret shopper” to our 2013 Annual Conference in Palm Springs, interviewed several key exhibitors/sponsors and CWEA attendees, analyzed past attendee data, financials and program elements, reviewed CWEA mission and strategy, completed a high-level analysis of competitive events, and led a deep-dive two-day session with CWEA leadership and staff.  The result was a comprehensive set of recommendations for our annual conference. The Board scheduled an extra workshop on September 9 with Velvet Chainsaw to discuss the recommendations and to better understand 21st Century adult education principles and techniques that improve knowledge retention, understanding, and wise transfer to the real world.We expect to integrate recommendations over time beginning with our 2014 Annual Conference by refreshing our opening general session, helping our speakers prepare by holding speaker webinars, lengthening breaks between sessions to give our attendees the chance to network and engage, and offering mobile app for the on-site conference program.

CWEA’s new AMS member service debuting soon… Every day we use more and more technology in our professional and personal lives. Keeping pace with our members’ evolving use of technology, CWEA is rolling out a new online customer service system that will be integrated with our website. Over the next few months you will notice improvements when:
•    Registering for educational events
•    Renewing certification and membership
•    Managing your continuing education
•    Connecting with your fellow water environment processionals

The Board believes replacing our Association Management System (AMS) is an essential project in making your membership experience even better. To help support the agencies and wastewater professional of the future, CWEA needs to invest in our infrastructure so we can become the association of the future. Replacing our AMS is the largest technology upgrade project CWEA has ever undertaken. It’s even larger than the computer-based testing program we rolled out a few years ago.

Our original go-live target of mid-October proved to be too optimistic; we’re now targeting mid-December for go-live for core functionality followed by a phased approach to additional features . Check your email for a welcome message with instructions on how to log in to start using our new system. Make sure we have your current email address in our records because it will be your user name. No need to keep track of a confusing online or member number any longer!

FY12-13 financial results look good…Preliminary, unaudited results for FY12-13 show us ending the year with income over expense of $60k (including operating expense and Project Fund use), versus our planned budget deficit of -$532k. Income was over budget 4% ($116k), operating expenses were under budget -8% (-$283k), and Project Fund use was under budget -45% (-$193k). Altogether, expenses were under budget -12% (-$476k). Operating expenses were lower than expected primarily due to savings from a renegotiated contract for office space. Much of the reduction in Project Fund expenditures is a result of some AMS implementation expenses shifting to FY13-14.

Watch for unaudited FY12-13 results in your Member Value Report, mailed in October and you can see CWEA’s performance measures including our preliminary (unaudited) results in our year-end dashboard. Watch for audited results in your E-Bulletin and Wastewater Professional in January.

Early indicators for FY13-14… It’s far too early to know how this fiscal year will turn out, but we are seeing stable trends for membership and certification.  As of the September Board meeting, the Northern Regional Training Conference in Modesto was slightly below its projected budget. Tri-State Seminar registration at its new Las Vegas location was a record high and exhibitor spaces sold out quickly.

Scholarship 2014-15 grant appropriation increased 10%… The Board approved a 2014 total grant appropriation of $17,100 from CWEA’s Kirt Brooks Memorial Water Environment Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship Fund is a grant-making program for students who are engaged in the water environment field and who are members of CWEA or sponsored by CWEA members. This is an increase of 10% over the award amount last year, is consistent with our financial policy for the Scholarship Fund, and is based on the stabilization and recent growth of the scholarship fund.

Scholarship applications are due on January 15.  Learn more about the Scholarship Fund and download an application form at http://www.cwea.org/cwq_cweaglance_desc_scholarship.shtml.
Donations are accepted any time!  Consider donating or increasing your donation in order to meet the Scholarship Fund’s goal of $500k by 2015.  Just $11.00 from every CWEA member would help us reach our goal!

Check out our dashboard for CWEA numbers…Want to know how many members CWEA has and how many are in which local sections?  Ever wondered how many people hold a CWEA certificate and in which vocations?  Waking up at night because you don’t know how many people are attending CWEA state and regional events?  Find out the answers to these burning questions…and more…in the one-page dashboard we produce every quarter for our Board.

The Board’s next meeting will be January 24-25, 2014 in San Diego, CA.

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