Karen Kubick, PE
Wastewater Enterprise Capital Program Director
San Francisco PUC
Value of WEF Membership Questions
“It’s so important for professionals in our sector to make connections, and WEF enables me to establish a peer group that stretches across the nation. I love WEF!”
1. How has WEF membership benefitted you and your career at SFPUC?
I joined in 1989, and one of my first experiences was presenting at the WEFTEC conference in San Francisco and I loved it! Throughout my career WEF has played an essential role – I’ve participated on several committees including working on the water reuse committee, and I attend WEFTEC every year.
WEF enables me to establish a peer group that stretches across the nation and across many disciplines – operations, finance, communications, and capital projects. It’s been wonderful for me and it’s turned out to be one of the most important groups that I’ve had the opportunity to join that enhances my career development.
In addition to networking, I think all the resources WEF brings to its membership are also important – such as, WEFCOM (online community); insider reports on critical issues; educational webinars, and technical publications.
2. What is the value of WEFTEC – WEF’s annual conference?
I think WEFTEC is a significant part of the association – it’s a chance to meet people from around the world, get to know them, and share ideas; more specifically a chance to spend time with your peer group and discuss common issues. The program is wonderful every year. Few people realize how big our sector is until they see WEFTEC – the sheer scale of it can be overwhelming and simultaneously inspiring.
WEF is staying ahead of industry trends and there are always so many interesting things going on at WEFTEC. All year long we’re preparing for the conference – from the ‘call for papers’ to getting our folks connected at WEFTEC. There are so many great SFPUC initiatives and WEFTEC is our opportunity to share them with other agencies.
We send representatives from a variety of backgrounds and departments and they’re all at WEFTEC working their angle. Some are there to see equipment and meet with the manufacturers or to discuss issues with them; while others attend to give talks, participate in workshops and network.
Everything is there at WEFTEC – all in one place. It represents where our industry is going. The new ideas, the new technologies – how people are tackling the challenges we face. If it is happening in our industry you’re going to see it at WEFTEC.
3. Why did you choose to join the WEF Board of Trustees?
Becoming a Trustee involves a rigorous approval process and I was thrilled to be selected. I wanted to give back to the association that has given so much to me over the course of my career. I’m interested in making the process easier for new people entering our profession who want to get involved or attend their first WEFTEC. I’m contributing to the Board of Trustees by representing the large agencies. We’ve benefitted greatly by what our team has gotten from WEF, it’s time to give back.
I’ll represent the large agency point of view and will work to make sure WEF is sustainable. One of my key initiatives is to make WEFTEC a career-building experience for young professionals. I want to see this association develop as a really exciting place for others, just like it was for me.
4. For young professionals what can they get out of WEF (besides the reduced rate membership fee)?
At SFPUC we make an effort to bring some of the younger staff to WEFTEC – they’re going to make some great professional contacts there.
Go out and work on the annual WEFTEC Community Service Project – you’ll get to network with a lot of other young professionals from across the nation in addition to meeting seasoned veterans at that event.
At WEFTEC you’ll realize how big and how impressive our industry is – and how you have to plan ahead. Our leaders schedule some time to walk the halls with our young professionals in an effort to make the experience less daunting. Seasoned veterans have the opportunity to sit down with a YP and give them some perspective, show them that other agencies/companies are doing the same things as theirs, and help them make the connections that will benefit them throughout their career.
I want to work to make WEF and WEFTEC a rewarding experience for everyone. Find a committee, find a connection – make a connection with your peers. I want to help people do the same thing I did when I was younger and make their first (of many) WEFTECs an exciting experience.