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Engaging and Retaining Membership Through Partnerships and Programs “Keystone of the Drinking Water Community” Michael T. Brown, P.E. Barbara.

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Presentation on theme: "Engaging and Retaining Membership Through Partnerships and Programs “Keystone of the Drinking Water Community” Michael T. Brown, P.E. Barbara."— Presentation transcript:

1 Engaging and Retaining Membership Through Partnerships and Programs “Keystone of the Drinking Water Community” Michael T. Brown, P.E. Barbara Martin

2 Outline PA Section Overview Partnership For Safe Water PAWARN Operator Training Membership Specials Other Programs and Partnering

3 PA AWWA Overview Created in 1948 1,900 members, 250 operator members 150 utility members 6 Districts with Trustees Board of Directors WUC, Ed Tech Council Chairs 2 full-time staff, 2 part-time staff, 3 Partnership reps

4 PA Water Industry Approx. 9,000 public water systems serving 11 million people (88% of residents in state) –10,000 Water Treatment Facilities –350 Surface Water Filter Plants Municipal systems serve approx. 80% of water customers Majority of funding is through local rates Strong SRF Program - Pennvest Most pressing issue: –Aging infrastructure

5 PA AWWA’s Experience using the Partnership for Safe Water to Engage Members and Drive Growth

6 What do these Utilities have in Common? PA AWWA Members and Partnership for Safe Water Subscribers

7 Partnership for Safe Water Partnership for Safe Water mission: –To improve the quality of drinking water delivered to customers of community water systems by optimizing operations. Two programs –Treatment plant optimization (1995) –Distribution system optimization (2011)

8 Eligibility Treatment program –Surface water filtration plants of all configurations Distribution program –Any system that applies a disinfectant Size – no limitations, large or small AWWA membership not required

9 AWWA Members ~80% of Partnership subscribers are AWWA members Partnership subscribers are approximately 5% of all AWWA utility members Partnership can be an opportunity to recruit new members

10 AWWA Members Partnership subscribers are engaged members! –6 Section Chairs –10 on AWWA Board –Many Trustees and other Section board roles –Well represented among Fuller Awardees

11 PA AWWA Involvement Only 12 Sections with mention of PfSW on website Only 3 besides PA have more than a link

12 PA AWWA Partnership 1996: received first sizable grant from PADEP to administer the PfSW in PA – Funds for public relation and education Goal to optimize surface water plants and make them more efficient Five-year grant at $75,000 per year Staff 3 Contract/Part-time Partnership Reps to promote and assist with the program


14 Pennsylvania Subscribers 119 plants (50 utilities)… most in country! –Serve 87% of PA filter plant population –27% of subscribers –64 award winners –50% AWWA utility members 19 distribution systems –14% of subscribers –84% AWWA members (utility/individual)

15 “Partnering” in the Partnership AWWA/PA AWWA Water Utility PA DEP PA DEP grant supports PA AWWA administration of Partnership for Safe Water program. Support from state, PA-AWWA, and members help to keep the program successful.

16 Benefits to PA DEP Better cooperation and relationships Increased compliance Cost savings % with Commendable Rating

17 Benefits to Utilities Improved water quality and public health protection Preparedness Positive recognition Consumer confidence & support Improved internal communications Operator enthusiasm Cooperation with other utilities Cost savings

18 AWWA Benefits Member engagement Revenue

19 Member Engagement Recognition Assistance Training Networking =Added Value PA AWWA recognition for joining program (York Water Company ) PA AWWA and DEP provide Partnership awards in addition to AWWA awards (Ephrata Area JA receives Directors Award) PA AWWA Partnership reps Bob Donnelly and Gordon Miller provide onsite assistance

20 Section Activities have Included Partnership Mixer – award ceremony at section conference Partnership Summit Newsletters Marketing materials Custom awards Optimization conference (2010) Training Training credits PA AWWA’s Phase IV “waterdrop” award PA AWWA’s 15 th Anniversary mug and member directory

21 Service Providers, too… PA AWWA looks to service providers to sponsor Partnership events: –Revenue to support mission and section activities –Opportunity for vendors to exhibit and present to a highly engaged utility audience –Networking

22 Tips for Leveraging Partnership from PA AWWA Realize this will be long-term Work with state/provincial regulators Provide positive recognition Add value through Partnership activities Utilize your AWWA resources

23 Engaging Members through PAWARN

24 What is a WARN? WARN = Water/Wastewater Aegency Response Network Born out of Hurricane Katrina response. Electric companies were very good at responding but water/wastewater response was not well organized. EPA charged with organizing industry.

25 What is PaWARN? Utilities are organized within the State –By a Mutual Aid Agreement –To assist each other with resources (personnel or equipment) Respond and recover more quickly from natural disasters and other emergencies

26 What can PaWARN do? Supply “industry specific” equipment during emergencies. Help alert water systems of cascading emergencies – spills, floods, etc. Help water & wastewater systems recover by providing resources and personnel.

27 Partnering for PaWARN

28 PaWARN Structure PaWARN is a 501(c)3 with a 13 member board made up of PA water and wastewater professionals –Several board members very active in Section including past chairs Advisory members can make recommendations but voting power remains with utility professionals Part-time staff Primarily funded through dues

29 Who is a WARN? Approx. 90 utilities Approximately 7.5 million Pennsylvania residents receive their water/wastewater services from PaWARN member systems Accounts for about ½ of the state’s population Roughly ½ are PA_AWWA member utilities

30 PaWARN in Action Dec. 27-28, 2012: Schuylkill County Municipal Authority Major main break

31 PaWARN in Action System is running out of water. Need odd-sized clamp to make the repair. Emergency request is posted on the PaWARN website. Within 3 hours, Northampton Borough Municipal Authority supplies clamp that enables SCMA to make the repair.

32 Testimonial “We experienced a real emergency that prompted the use of the PaWARN system to assist us. The system worked exactly as designed and we were able to avert disaster.” Patrick Caulfield, Executive Director Schuylkill County Municipal Authority

33 How does PA-AWWA Benefit from PA-WARN? Recognition Strengthened relationships amongst utility members and operators Collaboration/Cooperation amongst competing associations Carry-over to Section Programs –Partnership –Conferences –Training

34 Success of Operator Training Program Increased training in fall & spring Partner with PA DEP for new regulation training –Public notification –Lead & copper –Long-term Disinfection Operator Certification Exams 2-Day Operator Track at Section Conference –Increased conference attendance

35 Success of Operator Training Program Non-dues revenue –Approx. $70k profit in 2013 Increased “value” to membership Opportunity to engage non-member utilities Opportunity to reach non-industry

36 Value of Membership Discounts? 2011: $30; 79 new/95% retention 2012: $50; 20 new/73% retention 2013: $72; 15 new/87% retention Allow Sections to determine their own fees?

37 Better Together Joint training with Sections and other associations: WWOAP, PMAA,PRWA, WEF and PWEA Work with organizations to provide additional networking opportunities for Operators and Young Professionals Partner with DBIA for conference since 2012 –10% increase in conference revenue –Positive feedback from attendees and vendors Partnering with Neighboring Sections? –ACE Reception –Joint Annual Conference –Challenges

38 Engagement and Revenue Through Specialty Conferences and Events Greatest need for additional revenue is Fall (Annual Conference in Spring) Past specialty conferences –National Partnership Summit 2010 –Great Lakes Summit 2012 (10 sections participated) –PA Partnership Summit 2013 –PA Infrastructure Conference Scheduled for 2014 –National Partnership Summit Planned 2015 District meetings and events

39 Other Opportunities for Engagement WUC –Very active –Value to membership Committee restructuring

40 Keys to Success Increase AWWA Operator and Young Professionals memberships. Keep membership fees competitive at the Section level…especially for Operators. Increase the value of membership. Keep members engaged and active. Collaborate with other organizations. Have the flexibility to provide training to multiple groups.

41 Like all Sections… Our priority objective is to continue to recruit new members, retain those members, and increase revenue to remain viable.

42 Questions/Discussion Mike Brown

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