From the President: Thanks to Our Volunteers

February 8, 2018

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Jenny Hartfelder, WEF President 2017–2018

Jenny Hartfelder, WEF President 2017–2018

As 2018 begins, the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) is midway between the previous and the upcoming WEFTEC. WEF volunteers already are working on content for WEFTEC 2018, which will be held Sept. 30–Oct. 3 in New Orleans.

Volunteers become the cornerstone of WEF

Volunteers and staff will gather in Atlanta this month to attend our midyear meeting, which provides an opportunity for members of key committees to meet face-to-face and develop programming for WEFTEC 2018.  Through working sessions, technical committees also will develop and review programs that help WEF achieve its strategic goals and work toward its mission and vision.

Committees and the volunteers that work in these committees are the backbone of WEF. Currently, WEF has 30 committees that provide an opportunity for volunteers to use their technical knowledge to improve our profession and the water sector. WEF members who are not already engaged in a committee, either on the national or local level, should consider participating. Think of an area of the water sector that interests you, and I am sure you will find a committee in this area. WEF’s committees focus on everything from management to design to operations to biosolids to stormwater to collection systems.

As we continue looking for ways to involve young professionals in WEF and the water sector, I want to make sure that our members know about an exciting part of the midyear meeting: the WEF Springboard Program. The program was developed to increase opportunities for students and young professionals to get involved in WEF with an emphasis on integration into WEF’s technical committees. After reviewing applications, WEF selected 14 young professionals to attend the midyear meeting and join committee working sessions. The chosen applicants received travel expense assistance to facilitate their participation in the meeting. I am very excited to meet these and the other young professionals attending the meeting and help them become engaged in WEF committee activities. I encourage all WEF’s young professionals to consider applying to attend the 2019 midyear meeting.

Our volunteers also plan and deliver technical content for other WEF events, including the

Do any of these topic areas interest you?  Would you like to take part in one of these conferences by planning, giving presentations, or attending? Explore WEF’s website to learn more about submitting abstracts or attending these conferences.

Get involved at the local level

Another great way to get involved with WEF is to volunteer at the local level for your Member Association (MA). MAs also have technical committees that help them meet their strategic goals, and these committees need volunteers. Thriving MAs with solid volunteer involvement is critical for the overall strength of WEF.

MA leaders gather each year at WEFMAX meetings to exchange ideas and learn from each other how to strengthen these organizations. These meetings, planned by the WEF House of Delegates, will occur

  • March 14–16 in Indianapolis;
  • April 11–13 in Little Rock, Ark.;
  • May 9–11 in Anchorage, Alaska; and
  • May 23–25 in Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

The 2018 WEFMAX meeting will focus on engagement, membership, and workforce development. Operator-focused training courses also will be offered in conjunction with the WEFMAX meetings in Arkansas and North Carolina. A Young Professional Summit will be held in conjunction with the WEFMAX in Indiana. I thank all the volunteers who are planning these meetings, as well as all the members who plan on participating.

I cannot thank all our volunteers enough for their service and commitment to WEF and our MAs. We would not be able to deliver such high-quality and varied programming and services without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers and WEF staff. Volunteers work through WEF’s committees, the WEF House of Delegates, and MAs to help WEF achieve its mission and vision. Thank you for your energy and hard work.

Jenny Hartfelder, WEF President 2017–2018

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