From the President: Reflecting Back, Looking Forward

September 24, 2013

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Cordell Samuels, 2012–2013 WEF President

Cordell Samuels, 2012–2013 WEF President

I am proud to have served the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) as president this year. As my term comes to a close, I am struck by how fortunate I have been — both in my chance to be involved with WEF — especially recently, as many exciting things have been happening at the Federation — and in my choice to enter the water profession.

As I have heard from many of my colleagues and have experienced myself, when you first join the water sector, you cannot possibly imagine everything that lies in store for you. My career has brought many challenges, as well as unexpected rewards. Reflecting on the past year, I can say the same of my time as WEF president. WEF has been a remarkable organization to be associated with, in no small part because of the members who tirelessly devote their time and expertise.

WEF drives innovation

This was a year in which we continued to implement WEF’s strategic direction, directing our resources toward programs that have the greatest impact on the water sector. Whether it’s through WEFTEC® and our other conferences, our technical initiatives, our award-winning publications, or our public educational materials, WEF is driving innovation in the sector, enhancing the expertise of water professionals and raising awareness about water issues.

This was a year in which innovation has become synonymous with how WEF works. For instance, WEF is collaborating with the Water Environment Research Foundation (Alexandria, Va.) on such initiatives as the Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology, which has the goal of accelerating adoption of new technologies. We are producing “road maps” to help utilities achieve important goals, such as energy self-sufficiency and meeting stringent nutrient limits. And at WEFTEC, which will be held Oct. 5 to 9 in Chicago, the Innovation Showcase Pavilion will feature educational sessions, networking events, and exhibits focused on innovations in technology and operations. The pavilion will offer information on new products, financing and alternative project delivery, water clusters, and many more topics of interest.

WEF boosts collaboration

This also was a year in which WEF collaborated with several partners on important initiatives. I have enjoyed the chance to work closely with volunteer leaders of various organizations in the water sector to advance our partnerships and collaborative activities. We have covered some important ground and know that both challenges and great opportunities remain.

WEF and the American Water Works Association (AWWA; Denver) historically have collaborated on several important activities and continue to do so. The Utility Management Conference, Young Professionals Summit, and legislative Fly-In are examples of joint efforts that have proven valuable to the water sector and benefitted both organizations. WEF and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (Washington, D.C.) continue to work toward collaboration in the legislative and regulatory arena to ensure that all of our members have access to the most up-to-date information on U.S. government activities that affect all of our day-to-day jobs.

These are just a few examples of seizing the opportunities, moving beyond challenges, and doing our part to provide exemplary service to the water sector.

WEF looks to the future

Looking ahead to WEFTEC, I am very excited about what we have planned.

For the first year, we are co-locating the Stormwater Congress at WEFTEC so attendees of either event may benefit from the offerings of both. Our technical program once again will be the highest caliber and will be well-matched by one of the largest exhibitions we have ever hosted. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of speaking with the WEFTEC 2013 Opening General Session keynote speaker, Kevin Carroll, who will talk about succeeding in business by embracing the spirit of play. Carroll’s message will be inspirational for all of us who have passion for this great profession — I invite you to join us for what is sure to be a memorable event.

With all of WEF’s strengths, the future of the Federation looks bright indeed. It has been a privilege to lead WEF for the past year. While I am a bit wistful that the year passed so quickly, I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to have worked so closely with so many of you. Thank you.

Cordell Samuels, WEF President 2012–2013

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