When I was first elected to the Board back in 2013, little did I know what the winter of 2013-14 had in store. Getting through six and a half feet of frost to repair watermain breaks, frozen water and sewer services, even delayed street construction in the spring while waiting for the frost to come out.
Now we have 2020…
As I take over as president it will be interesting to see what is in store for WWOA and me during the coming year. For those of you that don’t know me, my wife Terese who many of you have seen working registration at the conference and other WWOA events, and I have been married for 39 years. We have four grown children, three grandchildren and a fourth on the way. I have always considered my family to be one of the things that I am most proud of. I have been a treatment plant operator and member of WWOA for over 30 years. Prior to that I grew up on a dairy farm and owned one for several years before getting a Water and Wastewater Treatment degree from Moraine Park. There are a lot of similarities between farming and being an operator. The keeping of records, working in all kinds of weather, never money to buy what you need. The comparisons are many.
I want to give a big “hats off” to Jeff Smudde for all of his work leading WWOA and keeping us on track to achieve everything that we did as an organization during this difficult year. I have come to rely on Jeff a great deal for his knowledge over the last seven years. I know that I will continue to do so during my last two years on the Board.
The rest of the Board and other committee chairs are to be commended also for their ability to handle changes in normal procedures and accomplish the goals that they set for their committees. Nancy Short who was the interim executive secretary for WWOA put in many extra hours making sure that the virtual conference came off as smooth as possible. After the conference the Board voted to remove the word interim from her title. Congratulations Nancy. I look forward to working with Nancy and her assistant Katie Young Eagle during the coming year.
There was a total of 354 people registered for the conference. That number is about half of the normal, but all things considered a pretty good turnout. Rick Mealy did a fantastic job as technical chair for the conference. He worked with presenters and managed to rearrange the technical program into a workable virtual format in the days scheduled for the conference, to the advantage of our attendees. The sessions that would have been presented on Tuesday, as pre-conference workshops, will be available as virtual classes for credit later this year. Government Affairs and Spring Biosolids Symposium are also going to be virtual in 2021. Keep looking to the website for information pertaining to these training opportunities.
Earlier I mentioned that I am proud of my family. Another family that I am proud to be part of is WWOA and the people involved in this industry. Moving into 2021 I hope, as I’m sure we all do that we can begin to have in person meetings. I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces and getting to know many more members of our wastewater family.
Take care everyone, and I hope you have a happy holiday season.