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E-Splash January 2013 - Chair Report
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Illinois Section AWWA - E-Splash -  January 2013


Chair's Report
Kevin Lookis

 

The holidays are now behind us, and this means we are only a short time away from this year’s WATERCON that will be held in March! The conference looks to be bigger and better than ever, and the Technical Program is incredible. Please keep in mind that, in most cases, the contacts and networking that happens at WATERCON can be just as rewarding!

When I became Chair of the Section last year, I talked about the number one priority I had for 2012 and early 2013 . . . TRAINING, TRAINING, TRAINING! I wanted us all to work together to increase and to improve the education opportunities for operators looking to obtain a license and those needing hours to maintain one. I am very happy to say that, as I step down as Xhair and put the Section into the very able hands of John Van Arsdel, this goal was more than met! The Technology Committee’s T-CON was a huge success, and I thank the Committee profusely for all of their hard work. I attended the conference and it was an excellent experience. I would encourage you to attend this June. In addition, the use of webinars for training was increased, and they are becoming very popular. These offer the opportunity for us to view them when the time is right for each individual or utility, and this allows for greater flexibility for all. The use of water utility and municipal locations for partnering on training seminars was also increased and was also a big success. This type of arrangement offers individuals a chance to obtain training that can be more cost effective and also closer to home for operators. If you or your utility/business has not thought about trying, this please give it some thought!

The use of our new website was also a huge success this last year. The functionality of the site is amazing, and I have only touched the tip of the iceberg on all of the uses that are available. As we move forward into this ever-increasing technological era, the use of the site will become more and more important.

I enjoyed my tenure as Chair of this Section and feel that I learned a lot about what we do and what more we can do. I was fortunate to attend the AWWA Summer Workshop for staff and officers in Denver last summer and learned a lot. We should be proud that out Section is one that is emulated often and looked to as a trailblazer in the industry.

The biggest issue now facing both the Section, but more importantly, the water industry as a whole, is the aging of our membership. There are so many people who will be retiring in the next 5-10 years, and this truly could become a crisis. All of us need to work more to encourage people to get into our field. As we all know, it is an excellent career path. I cannot tell you how many great people I have met in this industry and what a positive influence many of the individuals I have met and worked with have had on my life. This issue will be a long term goal for the Section. We are looking for ways to partner with entities to improve what we do in attracting both members as well as nonmembers to join our industry. In addition, this spring, the Section will be working on a Strategic Plan for the coming years. If you are interested in participating please let us know!

On that note, the Section needs you and your help as a volunteer! The cornerstone of our organization relies heavily on the support that comes from members who generously give their time to serving on committees and who participate in ISAWWA activities. Take a look at the Committee list in the back of SPLASH and see if there is a committee that interests you. Don’t hesitate to contact me or the Committee Chair directly to volunteer. Remember that the Section greatly appreciates your time. I know that I would have loved to spend more time as Chair, participating in a lot of functions, but everyone understands that work does come first. While I know that we are all "doing more with less”, I am thankful for the time we all get to invest in the Section.

Last but not least, a big thank you to Laurie, Lisa and Sandi, the excellent staff we have at the Section. Without them we could not have come close to accomplishing all of our goals!!!

See you in Springfield at WATERCON!

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