From the President: WEF on the Move

August 24, 2016

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Paul Bowen, WEF President 2015–2016

Paul Bowen, WEF President 2015–2016

Less than two months remain before WEFTEC® 2016, which marks the end of my year as Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) president. As I look back on this year, I realize how much has been accomplished. WEF is on the move. Our strong reputation for collaboration, innovation, and education continues to grow. The WEF brand is broadly recognized and seen as the mark of leadership in our sector. This solid reputation would not be possible without our members, Member Associations (MAs), committees, and exceptional staff.

Dedicated members, MAs, and staff strengthen WEF

WEF is comprised of outstanding members who have a tremendous passion for water and the environment. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with many members this year and continue to find them willing to invest their time and effort in this organization. Without these dedicated individuals, reaching our vision would be more difficult. Their effort, productivity, and collaboration strengthen both WEF’s reputation and brand.

Our MAs are remarkable. They carry local messages as well as WEF’s state- and regional-level messages to their members. Their officers and committees diligently work to provide technical information and resolve issues for their members.

WEF has an amazing staff that often works behind the scenes. During the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know and work with several of them. They are highly motivated professionals that work tirelessly to benefit our members and MAs. Much of what WEF does and is known for is the direct result of our staff’s efforts.

Members form bonds and become family

One of the remarkable feelings I’ve experienced is the sense that WEF members are like family. Whether it’s attending an annual MA conference, a WEF specialty conference, or an international meeting, I see members greet each other with tight handshakes, pats on the back, and warm hellos. Greetings are followed by lively conversations catching up on personal and professional history as well as exchanging the latest technical information.

Meeting demands to create a new future

Our profession faces difficulties — a changing work force, rapid innovations, aging infrastructure, lack of resources, and increasing public demands. These issues challenge us to move beyond our comfort zone and force us to think, be innovative, and create our future.

Our customers continue to raise expectations for our performance. They and our future generations demand that those expectations be met. In response, we must engage our young professionals in our work so they can provide new insights and knowledge. We must embrace innovative solutions. The WEF and Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF; Alexandria, Va.) Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) program offers evidence of innovations that work. And we must make needed infrastructure improvements that rely on creative and sustainable solutions and financing.

This year we will gather in New Orleans for the 88th WEFTEC. This provides an opportunity to gather as members, MAs, friends, and family, and take advantage of an incredible number of educational, networking, and other opportunities. Technical sessions will contain the latest and greatest ideas from water professionals around the globe, so you can learn from the experts. The exhibition will be packed with new equipment and, once again, contain an innovation pavilion. The pavilion will host some extraordinary new vendors with amazing ideas.

Yes, WEF is on the move. And we’re moving forward to create the future of water.

Paul Bowen, WEF President 2015–2016

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