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E-Splash November 2012 - Trustee at Large
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Illinois Section AWWA - E-Splash -  November 2012

Dennis Bowe
Trustee at Large

The Drinking Water Industry is facing a serious institutional knowledge vacuum. Increasingly, the baby boomer generation of water professionals is retiring, taking with them valuable experience, knowledge and insight. As a recent retiree, I must admit that I unintentionally contributed to a reduction of knowledge capital at my former water utility when I walked out the door on my final day at the office.  

In a recent employer survey, 76% of firms responding reported there was no succession plan in place to address employee retirements. The loss of skilled intellectual labor coupled with a loss of knowledge base will have serious consequences if the trend is not reversed. This is especially true in the Drinking Water Industry. Few among us have the time or interest to transfer information and knowledge to our colleagues and subordinates.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Knowledge sharing is widely recognized as the most effective method of ameliorating this loss. We must all participate in measures that reduce and mitigate the so-called "brain drain” syndrome. The majority of ISAWWA committees and programs are committed to the mission of developing and educating water professionals. From the Backflow Committee to the Young Professionals Committee, there are a myriad of opportunities to share knowledge and wisdom. If you are a veteran water professional,  ISAWWA is a tremendous forum for sharing your individual intellectual resources and experiences. Clearly, the strength of an organization comes from the membership. This is also true of industry. Please consider contributing toward Section and water industry strength. Everyone has something to contribute. There is a committee with a relevant constituency for you. Feel free to contact an ISAWWA Officer, Trustee, or Committee Chair to discuss your role and your committee membership.   Share your knowledge and experience; share your time and talent - join and participate in ISAWWA committees and programs. Do what you can to perpetuate the professionalism and capabilities of the (your) Drinking Water Industry.



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