Wise Water Words - Volume 51, Issue 3 (Fall/Winter 2014)
From the Chair(Submitted by Doug Woodbeck - Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services)
Well, another year has come and gone, changes have been made, new avenues explored, and new leaves are about to be turned over, again. As the new Chair, seeing what's been accomplished in the past, I have a deep appreciation for the time, dedication, and effort that it takes to make this association one of the best in the country. I pray and trust that, because I have many talented NSAWWA members in this state to help me, we will be able to do good things in the year to come.
Our visiting dignitary, Brenda Lennox, AWWA Vice President, from the Northwest Section was a nice addition to our conference. I believe Brenda enjoyed her visit to Nebraska and had some encouraging words and wisdom to share with all attendees.
Considering the conference this past November, all the comments I've heard about the conference have been positive. Doing a self-evaluation, I know there are some things that could have gone or been done better by me from a coordination standpoint. If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I would do some things better. However, being I have never had any part of coordinating a large conference such as this, I think it went pretty well.
From the various competitions that took place at the conference, here are the winners:
Backflow Challenge (prize money split between team members):
- 1st: Brett Logue, Ken Swanson, Greg Vacha, and Kevin Lutz ($60.00)
- 2nd: Andrew Koster, Casey Junck, Mary Boden, and Tony Martinez ($40.00)
- 3rd: Jordan Bang, Mike Parde, Keith Kontour, and Mike Parde ($20.00)
- 1st: Bruce Uden, Bob Scarborough, and Russ Bergsten ($600.00)
- 2nd: Brett Logue, Ken Swanson, Greg Vacha, and Kevin Lutz ($400.00)
- 3rd: Kirk Beguin, Chris Batt, and Steve Kelley ($200.00)
- 4th: Andrew Koster, Casey Junck, Mary Boden, and Tony Martinez ($100.00)
- 1st: Brenda Lennox, Joel Christensen, Jerry Obrist ($60.00)
- 2nd: Allison Speicher, Bruce Dvorak, and Vince Kuppig ($40.00)
- 3rd: Ken Ekeler, Steve Owen, and Dave Byersdorf ($20.00)
- City of Lincoln – 1st Best Overall
- City of Aurora – 2nd Best Overall (1st - Best Un-treated Water)
- 1st: Chad Roberts (City of Norfolk, $60.00 gift card from Cabela's)
- 2nd: Dennis Watts (City of Norfolk, $40.00 gift card from Cabela's)
- Laura Hardesty and Dennis Watts were the only two participants, each receiving a NSAWWA embossed flashlight for playing the game.
- Fuller Award – Kevin Tobin (MUD)
- Water Industry Service Award (WISA) – Mike Nuttleman (Norfolk), Brad Harris (Layne Christensen), Eric Lee (Lincoln Water System), and Gary Hellwig (City of Plattsmouth).
- Longevity Award – Robert Wiebke (posthumously, Village of Cook)
- Volunteer of the Year Award – Brian Gongol (D.J. Gongol and Associates, Inc.)
- Safety Award – The Cities of Norfolk, Chadron, and Auburn
- Best of Show Vendor Award – Nebraska Environmental Products (there were 61 vendors at the conference)
Obviously, we have several officers that have moved up in the chair hierarchy for the Section. We also have some new Committee Chairs and members. I want to welcome Brittany Travers to the Board of Directors (BOD) as our newest Trustee. Brittany works for WTG Midwest in Omaha, and she is co-chairing the Young Professionals committee with Andrew Synhorst from JEO. Jordan Bang has taken over for Christian New as the Chair for the Water for People (WFP) committee. Jordan works for the City of Fremont Utilities Department.
The WFP raffle raised $2,955 and the Poker Tournament raised $3,350. Total donations in 2014 for WFP from NSAWWA is $11,800.00, 4% over our best year of 2012. To all who helped raise the money or donated so graciously, a very big and heartfelt THANK YOU. The following people donated prize money to WFP:
- Chris Miller of Miller and Associates donated 1/2 of his $400 first prize poker winnings.
- Eric Obert of JEO donated 1/2 of his $250 second prize poker winnings.
- Jim Wathen of CDM Smith donated ALL of his $100 third prize poker winnings.
- Brenda Lennox, AWWA Vice President and our honored guest, donated ALL of her $60 Top Ops prize.
- Mike Parde, of the City of Fremont, donated ALL of his $20 Backflow Challenge prize.
At the Business/Board meeting at the 2014 conference, there were two items brought up that I want to try to get straightened out this year. One of those is a conflict in our by-laws regarding the number of Trustees on the BOD, and officers holding more than one position on the board. To correct this issue, a modification to the by-laws is needed. Any change to the by-laws needs to be first approved by the Section, then by National AWWA. I hope to have this clarification completed and ready for official adoption by the Section at the Fall Conference 2015.
The second item was regarding NSAWWA membership for being a member on any of our committees. Some of the various committee SOP's require NSAWWA membership for committee members and some don't. The majority do not. The question was raised about non-members being able to guide the Section committee activities and direction without having a vested interest -- NSAWWA membership. If you're not a member, should you be able to have a voice in how the Section is run? I believe this item is important and warrants our attention this year. Whether we decide to allow non-members to have an influential part in the Section activities or not, I believe all of the Committees should be run the same. So, the SOP's should all have the same membership requirements.
A new ad-hoc committee has been formed, "Total Water Solutions". While, as this article is being written, I'm not exactly sure about the tasks before this committee, I look forward to seeing what they come up with that will benefit public water systems in Nebraska. This in addition to the potential benefits afforded other water users in all facets of the water cycle. This is a new endeavor endorsed by National AWWA and they will provide guidance and direction for the committee to move forward with this project.
In closing, I want to encourage anyone who has ideas or comments about the direction the Section is moving, or any new ideas, to contact me, or any of the other BOD members and provide your input to the process. Together we can make a big difference for all water users.