As the WATERCON 2012 wrapped up, I took a moment to review my year as Chair for the Section.
The conference was a huge success again, but what does that really mean and what does it take? What it means for the Section is our cash position, again, is going to be strong; and the Section can continue to provide unmatched services to our members. This includes training sessions second to none, a voice in Springfield for issues that are important to all of us, special small systems training, a way for systems to benchmark their energy demands, a place to find out everything you need to know about backflow issues, an offer for YP's to get together, a water fountain trailer to be at your next festival at no charge, source water protection questions answered, web based training on current issue and new products, a web site packed with information including career opportunities around the State, opportunities to have a real impact on less fortunate communities in foreign lands by providing safe water and sanitary systems, etc., etc. This list could go on for a page or two. I haven't even touched on the relationships and friendships that are developed, and if you are involved at any level, you WILL develop or improve your leadership skills. With this short list of true benefits it is no wonder that the Illinois Section is recognized as a leader around the halls of AWWA in Denver. Our membership numbers could always be better, and there is no doubt I am singing to the choir in this article, but if by some chance you are not a member or know someone who should be a member please share this list with them, membership in AWWA doesn't cost, it pays! If this list is a surprise to you, I would suggest you consider getting involved with the Section, you will not be disappointed.
Back to the things I saw over my year as Chair, no doubt the web site is a big one, I hope by now you have had a chance to check it out, http://www.isawwa.org/ , there is a ton of information for everyone on this web site, you will have to come back to it a couple of times to drink it all in. 2011 was another banner year for our Education Committee, the amount of training the Section was able to provide this year was amazing to say the least. The Conference has been in somewhat of a transition mode over the past few years, but we are now committed to partner up with IWEA for the foreseeable future. The kinks have all been worked out and our two organizations really pull together to put on a premier conference year after year. Not only do the attendees love it, but the exhibitors are very happy with the opportunity to serve both industries in one location. And what would the conference be without those exhibitors? Those guys and gals spend countless hours and dollars to make sure this conference is more than just a couple of days in a hotel watching a power point presentation and seeing a couple of cardboard cutout booths. Not only would WATERCON not be possible without them, but the after hour activities could not happen without their time and support, thanks for that effort!
I will close with if you're not a member you should be and if you were not at WATERCON 2012 you should be there in 2013. I hope to see all of you there.