I am in awe as I sit in the sunshine typing this message and staring at our most critical and precious resource – water! We are so fortunate to live in a region where we have such a plentiful supply of fresh water. We tend to take it for granted when we go to open the faucet that clean, fresh water will be delivered and when we flush the toilet the wastewater will disappear. I am proud to be part of the Water Resource Recovery Community and to help lead an association that works every day to reclaim and recover our most vital resource so that we can all live in a healthy and rich society. I am truly honored to lead the Wisconsin Wastewater Operator’s Association (WWOA) as we look to the next 50 years.

During my term as President, I plan to attend at least one meeting in each Region and to get to know you a little bit more. The WWOA serves as a valuable network and resource for all involved in the clean water field and to the communities we serve. The seminars and meetings not only help enrich our knowledge, they also serve as a valuable resource to public education. I strongly believe public education is a primary component to improving our final treated product, reducing maintenance costs, and gaining the trust and respect for our work so that the public ultimately understands and appreciates the true value of water. One of my goals as President is to help increase the public’s awareness of our work and to promote the Resource Recovery field to future workers and leaders. I encourage you to get involved in the organization and to send me any ideas, questions, or complaints you may have for the

The dedication and service of the WWOA founders and members was highlighted very eloquently by the keynote speakers who opened the 50th Annual WWOA Conference in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Joe Gehin, Duane Schuettpelz, and Ken Sedmak gave an excellent historical presentation of the WWOA and Wisconsin Clean Water Regulations. Wisconsin and the WWOA were frontiers on treating water and recovering resources in the United States. In addition to the Keynote Presentation, the 50th Anniversary Committee led by Past President Wade Peterson, put together several special events and displays for the conference including 50 years of photographs depicting WWOA’s history, the 50th Anniversary Clarifier Edition, and the entertainment after the Awards Banquet. Jeff Bratz, who served as the Vice President and Technical Chair for the 50th Annual Conference, put together an informationally packed
technical program which included two workshops, 38 technical sessions, and an Operator’s Competition between five teams, including two student teams. Troy Larson led the Operators Tricks and Tips session which was very well received. The WWOA Board of Directors hopes to make this a constant fixture of the WWOA Annual Conference and welcomes all members to submit their tricks and participate in the educational sharing discussion. I also encourage all members to submit their tricks and tips to the WWOA Webmaster throughout the year to post on the website.

The awards banquet on Thursday evening recognized the 2016 WWOA Award winners and honored the past recipients. Please make sure you check out the WWOA website and this issue of the Clarifier to see photographs of all the honorees. I also want to give a special welcome to our two new WWOA Directors, Ricky Mealy and Jeremy Cramer, who were elected to the Board during the Business Meeting on Thursday. They are a great addition to the WWOA Board of Directors.

The 50th WWOA Annual Conference came to a close Friday morning with Paul Kent’s engaging Jeopardy game of New Developments in Water and Wastewater Regulations. Thank you to all who organized, presented, and participated to help make the 50th WWOA Annual Conference a great success with a record number of 840 attendees, including 149 exhibitors. The Board of Directors and Committee Members are working hard to plan the 51st WWOA Annual Conference in Middleton on October 17 – 20, 2017.

I want to thank the WWOA membership for putting their trust and faith in me to serve as your president. Serving on the Board of Directors and working closely with my fellow Directors and WWOA members is definitely a highlight of my career. A special thank you goes out to the Immediate Past President, Lyle Lutz, for showing me the ropes and helping give me direction. I look forward with excitement to the 51st year of the Wisconsin operators recovering resources!

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