Working for Water Together

By David LaFrance and Eileen O'Neill — As leaders of two prominent water associations, we talk a lot about the positive benefits of collaboration. In one of our recent conversations we asked ourselves two questions. The first was, on how many events, programs, publications, and other offerings do AWWA and WEF collaborate? And the second, perhaps...

By David LaFrance and Eileen O'Neill — As leaders of two prominent water associations, we talk a lot about the positive benefits of collaboration. In one of our recent conversations we asked ourselves two questions. The first was, on how many events, programs, publications, and other offerings do AWWA and WEF collaborate? And the second, perhaps more critical, question is, do our members know how much we do together?

In answer to the first question, we quickly rattled off a list of over two dozen AWWA-WEF collaborative efforts that cut across every part of our business; the list would have grown considerably if it had included the collaborations happening between AWWA Sections and WEF Member Associations (MAs).

Two of the collaborative events for which AWWA and WEF may be best known are the Utility Management Conference (UMC) and the Young Professionals Summit (YP Summit). For decades the UMC has brought water and wastewater executives, managers, and leaders together to discuss, develop, and solve the full spectrum of current and emerging utility management challenges. A few years ago, AWWA and WEF strategically expanded the value of the UMC by linking it to the YP Summit. The YP Summit helps emerging leaders develop leadership and professional skills along with strong professional networks. And by connecting the UMC and the YP Summit, we enhanced both. The next time these must-attend events will take place is Feb. 6-10, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.

Many of the programs on which we collaborate include other partners. For example, an important workforce-development collaboration among AWWA, WEF, and the US Environmental Protection Agency is Work for Water; other examples are listed in the chart (below).

We are proud of the business collaborations that we have developed over the years because we feel—based on the feedback we receive—they provide our members and the water sector with great value. And hopefully these examples help answer question 2 as we all continue to work together for water.

Examples of Other AWWA and WEF Collaborative Work

CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

  • AWWA Water Matters Fly-In (2011–2013
  • WateReuse Symposium*
  • DBIA (Design-Build Institute of America) Water–Wastewater Conference*
  • AWWA International Symposium on Potable Reuse*

PROGRAMS

  • Water and Wastewater Utility Leadership Center*
  • Value of Water Coalition*
  • WIFIA (Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) legislation*
  • Various research projects*

PUBLICATIONS

  • Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater*
  • International Standard Units for Water and Wastewater Processes*
  • Using Reclaimed Water to Augment Potable Water Resources
  • Framework for Direct Potable Reuse*

*Other organizations are part of this collaborative work.

(Posted December 2, 2016)

About David B. LaFrance

David B. LaFrance is Chief Executive Officer of the American Water Works Association, the world’s largest and oldest association of water professionals, with 43 sections throughout North America and more than 50,000 members worldwide.

Overseeing a staff of more than 150 in Denver, Washington D.C. and Mumbai, India, LaFrance guides AWWA’s extensive scientific, educational, and public policy work to build a better world through better water. Prior to joining AWWA in 2010, he was the Chief Financial Officer for Denver Water where, during his 17-year tenure, he also served as the utility’s Manager of Rate Administration.

LaFrance’s professional background also includes extensive water policy and management experience with the global engineering and consulting firm CH2M and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Source: www.wef.org