As I sit here waiting for a deer to pass within range of me and my bow, I can’t help but think about how fast time flies being on the State Board. I remember coming to the first meeting after the WWOA Conference and receiving my first committee assignments from then President John Bond (Thanks for the Rotifer). Now after all these years I’m the President of this great organization, and it’s time for me to write the President’s Address.
The 47 Annual WWOA conference was a huge success in Stevens Point, we had just under 750 attendees. Kelly Zimmer and the Technical Committee put together a great technical training program with 39 sessions.
The conference started on Tuesday with the Preconference Workshops and then the regional officers meeting. After listening to what the regions accomplish every year I’m so impressed at the value we get from each regional meeting. The meet and greet was again a good time with old friends and new reacquainting with each other and telling stories of the last year. Wednesday morning started with President Wade Peterson giving his opening comments. Fortunately the technology all worked otherwise we would have been looking at hand puppets to fill the time until our keynote speaker started. This year’s keynote speaker was Jody Urquhart and she kept everything light with her topic “The Nerve to Serve, Say Hello to Humor and Good Bye to Burnout”. She reminded us to smile, and told us that if we did, our body would be healthier. I want to thank Rick Mealy for a being a good sport and helping her out with her speech. After the Keynote the Exhibit Hall opened and the Technical Sessions got on the way. There were 39 total presentations between Wednesday and Thursday with Phosphorus again being the biggest draw. Great job by Kelly Zimmer and the technical Committee on picking such informative topics, Also a special Thank you to the presenters and moderators! I was told that the Guest Program was a great time, thanks Jeremy Cramer for setting it up! At noon on Wednesday the Operator Competition started with five teams for the first time in a long, long time. Congratulations to the UW Stevens Point Team for winning the competition!! A big Thanks to Jeff Bratz, regions, sponsors, judges and competitors. Thursday got on the way with more training sessions then the Operator Luncheon. Executive Secretary, Karen Harter, gave the financial report for 2012. Elections were held and WWOA Board Directors, Lyle Lutz was elected Vice President, next was the election of Directors to fill outgoing Past President Randy Thater and outgoing Director Jim Bergles positions. A huge thanks to both of these guys for their hard work for the organization. Re-elected to Director positions were Jeff Bratz and Jeff Simpson (Juice). Newly elected Directors were Don Lintner from New Holstein and Jeff Smudde from New Water (Green Bay). Congratulations to ALL! The afternoon tours were to the Stevens Point wastewater Treatment Facility and Stevens Point Well II / UW Stevens Point Education Center. The evening social Hour stated off the Annual Awards Banquet, then President Peterson passed the gavel to me and so started my year as President of this great organization. Special thanks to Wade for all the help over the past years, you made this transition very easy!! Congratulations to all of the award winners and to the 49 new Lifetime Members. Then the entertainment of card playing and raffle prizes got going; great idea Kelly! The conference closed on Friday with the Farewell Breakfast and Gil Hantzsch from MSA giving a presentation on “The Value of Water (and Your Role in it!). I hope everyone attending had a great time and I as I plan to attend meetings in every region of this coming year, I hope to see all of you.
The WWOA Board of Directors are already working on the 2014 conference that will be held in Green Bay, October 7-10 at the KI Center. Hotel information is posted on the WWOA.org website so don’t forget to make reservations early.
The Government Affairs and Spring Biosolids Symposium are already being planned so check the website for dates along with signup information.
Well as I stated at the start of the message, I’m still sitting on stand waiting for the big buck to show himself, I would like to again thank each and every WWOA member for the opportunity to be the President of this great organization. I and all Board of Directors are available for comments and questions anytime. So please give us a call, email or even better talk to one of us at regional meeting or sponsored events coming up this year. We look forward to serving you and work to make the organization the best it can be.
I’d like to say Happy Thanksgiving a little late by the time you receive this but a very Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thanks again!
Kevin L Freber