The annual Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) is just around the corner. WEFTEC® 2015, which will be held in Chicago, marks a new cycle for WEF and the organization’s leaders. At the event, I will complete my term as WEF president. In addition, Sandra Ralston, Charles Bott, Garry Macdonald, and Erin Mosley will complete their service on the WEF Board of Trustees; they have helped WEF achieve many successes during their collective 17 years on the board. I am extremely thankful and grateful for each of them.
Introducing new Board of Trustee members
As WEF continues to move forward, we will welcome four new members onto the board during WEFTEC. They will bring new perspectives to help further the continuous improvement and strategic direction of WEF. Those joining the Board of Trustees are
- Joan Hawley, chair of WEF’s Committee Leadership Council and CEO of Superior Engineering (Milwaukee);
- Karen Kubick, member of WEF’s Water Reuse Committee and manager of capital programs for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission;
- Lynn Broaddus, president of Broadview Collaborative Inc. (Wauwatosa, Wis.); and
- Claus Homann, chief operations officer and chief of strategic development for Aarhus Water Ltd. (Aarhus, Denmark).
Setting and accomplishing 2015 goals
After the record-setting WEFTEC 2014 in New Orleans last September, WEF’s Board of Trustees established six priority goals for the year. After evaluating our progress in achieving our goals, the board members have determined that for each goal, WEF either successfully has met or is poised to meet each goal by WEFTEC.
- Establish measurable, long-term, strategic goals to guide organizational priorities during the next 5 to 10 years.
- We have established measurable goals as part of a comprehensive strategic plan and have established a new mission, vision, core values, and critical objectives.
- Build teamwork in the organization to optimize alignment of WEF’s Board of Trustees, House of Delegates, Committee Leadership Council (CLC), and staff to work toward achieving WEF’s mission.
- Members of the house, CLC, and staff liaisons have populated board committees to promote collaboration and received quarterly reports from the board president to enhance communication. In addition, members of the house, CLC, WEF Member Associations, board, and staff provided input to amend WEF’s constitution and bylaws, and the CLC chair has been invited to all board meetings.
- Accelerate the transformation of the water sector from wastewater treatment to water resource recovery.
- The Energy Roadmap, WEF’s first publication focused on resource recovery, continues to be a top-seller for the organization more than a year after its publication. WEF published The Nutrient Roadmap, its second resource recovery-focused publication, in July. WEF also has allocated funds to increase staff resources working to accelerate water resource recovery in utilities of the future.
- WEF soon will begin developing water sector goals to help accelerate the transition to water resource recovery. We also are working with our partners, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Association of Clean Water Agencies (Washington, D.C.), to establish a utility of the future recognition program.
- Enhance customer service for the 45 WEF Member Associations (MAs) in North America.
- WEF established a Stakeholder Engagement Group and increased both staff support and budget-related resources to providing responsive support to MAs. In addition, WEF sent a trustee and a staff member to half of the MAs annual conferences.
- Establish a clear, focused, global strategy with specific goals, and implement a plan to achieve these goals.
- WEF’s new global policy was adopted by the Board of Trustees in July.
- Develop future WEF leaders to ensure effective succession planning for WEF’s Board of Trustees.
- WEF modified its constitution and bylaws to allow the speaker of the house and CLC chair to attend and participate in all board meetings. Numerous house and CLC leaders also participated in board committees. Members from one of WEF’s Communities of Practices and one of WEF’s committees were placed on each board meeting agenda. In addition, travel for WEF’s president was reallocated to others to increase the visibility and experience of other board members and WEF leaders.
In the 10 months since WEFTEC 2014, WEF successfully has achieved these goals and added other accomplishments:
- WEF completed the first major overhaul and modernization of its constitution and bylaws in more than a decade. The overhaul provides WEF the flexibility to add up to three additional Board of Trustees members to meet the needs of WEF and provide diverse perspectives for decision-making. It also enhanced the roles of the House of Delegates at the WEF Committees.
- WEF launched the new WEF Stormwater Institute. MAs and several stormwater organizations have expressed a desire for WEF to help provide a unified voice to support stormwater professionals.
- WEF strengthened global partnerships with the International Water Association (London), the Japan Sewage Works Association (Tokyo), the Korea Water and Wastewater Association (Seoul, South Korea), PUB Singapore, the European Water Association (Hennef, Germany), and the Korean Water Pollution Control Association (Sejong City, South Korea). These partnerships help us deliver state-of-the-art information and technology to members.
- WEF published The Nutrient Roadmap, second in a series of resource recovery publications, and is working on finding partners for the third publication in the series on water reuse.
- WEF implemented the first streamlining and reorganization of its committee structure to respond to the needs of volunteers in the future while providing additional leadership opportunities for WEF members through Community of Practice director positions.
WEF and all of its leaders have had an extremely productive year working to provide value to our members. I am proud of the work of the thousands of engaged WEF volunteers and our service-oriented staff to help achieve these goals. I look forward to seeing you at WEFTEC 2015 in Chicago.
— Ed McCormick, WEF President 2014–2015