It’s a beautiful Sunday here in early November. I got the plants done, some farming, and now just sitting down to watch the Packers. For the last 18 years, I have been reading the President’s Message in the Clarifier and it’s hard to believe that it’s my responsibility now.
The WWOA is coming off another successful conference held at Wisconsin Dells. What a conference! Attendance was just shy of 900 people. Kevin Freber and the Technical Committee put together a great technical training program with 39 sessions. The session attendance was also great will one session having 161 attendees! Big thanks to all the presenters and moderators!!
Tuesday started with two pre-conference workshops, then the regional officers’ meeting, and concluded with the meet and greet. The last few years we have had some entertainment at the meet and greet and this year’s was a family bluegrass band. Thanks Jim Bergles for arranging that. Wednesday started off with President Randy Thater’s welcome address with an Olympic flavor. I got nervous when my picture came up. I didn’t know if my likeness was the Queen or James Bond. Then keynote speaker, Mike McKinley delivered a great speech “Working together to get better… YOU make the Difference”. The vendors’ exhibit opened with 118 booths in the exhibit hall and 6 booths out in the hall. The Operator Competition event is back!! There were three teams with North Central regional team taking high honors. Let’s see if we can get a team from each region for next year’s event. Thanks go out to Jeff Bratz, the contestants, the sponsors, and the judges. Thursday continued with training sessions, then the Operators Luncheon. Richard McKee presented the 2011 financials. An open discussion transpired about the future of the Directory. Elections were held. Kelly Zimmer was elected Vice President. Lyle Lutz and Sharon Thieszen were re-elected as Directors and Jeff Simpson was elected to the vacate Director’s position. The afternoon’s bus trip to Badger Ammunition/Bluffview Sanitary District was packed. The evening featured the Social Hour, Awards Banquet and Entertainment. President Thater passed the gavel to me. Randy, thanks for the mentoring! Congratulations to the award winners and the new 38 lifetime members! The Dueling Pianos Act closed out the evening. Friday concluded the conference with the Farewell Breakfast and Paul Kent’s discussion about changes in DNR and the Phosphorus rule.
I hope all of you that attended had as good a time as I did. I hope to see many of you this next year, as I fulfill my goal to attend a meeting in each region. As I said in my President's Address, “This is a great organization, and I am honored to serve as your President.”
The WWOA Board of Directors have already started the planning the 2013 conference. The 2013 annual conference will be October 22nd -25th at the Holiday Convention Center in Stevens Point. Kelly Zimmer has the “call for papers” out. Check out the website for more details. The Stevens Point WWTP will be the host facility. There is no housing bureau, so please contact the hotels directly.
The Government Affairs Seminar and Spring Biosolids Symposium are also in the preliminary planning stages. Be sure to check the web site and watch for the mailings for these always informative days.
The Directors are involved in three other working groups:
1.) DNR’s revamping of the state certification/testing and realigning of the subclasses.
2.) DNR and AWWA collaboration to create some new training opportunities.
3.) DNR’s desire to modernize/go electronic with the CEU credits slips/reporting.
As I stated at the conference, please feel free to contact me or any WWOA Board member to give us your thoughts, comments, questions, or concerns. I can assure you that anything brought to the attention of any one of us will be discussed via emails, phone calls, or at a Board meeting. My contact information, as well as any Board members, can be found on the back page of The Clarifier or on the web site. We need as much input as possible from the membership in order for us to better serve the needs of this organization and its membership.
I would like to wish everyone a happy and enjoyable holiday season. Make sure you take the time during this holiday season to enjoy time spent with family and friends. That is all for now and until next time – take care.