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Advancing the Water and Wastewater Industry “It's Our Responsibility"

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Presentation on theme: "Advancing the Water and Wastewater Industry “It's Our Responsibility""— Presentation transcript:

1 Advancing the Water and Wastewater Industry “It's Our Responsibility"
Welcome to this program, “Advancing the water and wastewater industry” – it is our responsibility. Lets explore “it is our responsibility” a little deeper. I would venture to guess that at least 50% of our participants for this program are or will be eligible to retire in the next 4 or 5 years. This is typical of attendance at training sessions, it is typical in surveys, and more than likely typically in your own communities. As this group retires, which is estimated to be between 45 and 65% of the workforce, it is our responsibility to leave the industry in good hands for the future. This program is about 2 simple initiatives we, as people in the industry today can do to advance our industry and our profession.>>>

2 Overview 1 2 3 Past Future Present
This presentation will briefly cover three areas. The past, where the industry has come from , the present, where we are today and third how each of us can support initiatives that advance the industry for the future. 3 Future

3 Most of the so called baby boomers entered the industry before or around the time that the passage of the CWA or SDWA took place and have seen the industry grow to where it is today. You have seen the increase in complexity due to regulatory mandates, advances in technology, and the demands of society that, for the most part, takes water and indoor plumbing for granted. Along with this growth, the responsibilities and liabilities of managerial and operational personnel have multiplied many times over.

4 Job Task Career Profession
This growth has transitioned us from a task orientated job to a professional career. From an industry with little or no requirements to a certification and major legal responsibilities and liabilities associated with the operational positions. Yet, as way back when, these positions and the services provided are still taken for granted by a large majority of society and receive little credit for the critical role they fill in public health and environmental protection.

5 Today We Are All Interconnected Staff relationships
Board/Council relationships A plan for this – A plan for that Terrorism Red Flag Rule Succession planning Vulnerability Assessment Emergency Response Energy conservation Consumer Confidence Managerial Funding Sustainability Financial Capacity Legislation Today, the role of operational personnel is complex, this is even more so in smaller utilities where one person fills the management role as well as the operational role. Certification has provided the industry creditability but is woefully deficient in the overall responsibilities system personnel deal with today. These responsibilities are far removed from the treatment and distribution duties such as those in this slide. Water conservation Security Social Media Regulatory Technology Public Relations Resiliency Climate Change

6 In fact ----- Does your governing body and customers feel this way
In fact Does your governing body and customers feel this way? Do your customers feel that the job you do is one they can not live without? Readers Digest - There are approximately  108,330 system personnel who operate water and wastewater systems.  In the article, these positions are listed as number 2 in the top 10 jobs Americans cannot live without. 

7 Shortage of qualified personnel
76.4 million baby boomers Leading edge turned 66 this year (2012) Where are we today? This year the leading edge of the baby boomers hit 66 in this year. 10,000 people daily are leaving the US workforce. Our industry has begun to face the reality that people who have developed their systems from the ground up will be leaving soon. As these baby boomers retire, they take with them the institutional knowledge that has been built up over the years and just as important, but not talked about is the loss of trust relationships that have been developed and nurtured over the course of their career. Relationships staff, with regulatory agencies, funding agencies, boards and councils, suppliers and the general public.

8 Where will replacements come from?
What Caliber of Applicant Will Apply? The unknowns are where will replacements come from and what caliber of applicant will apply? There is antidotal evidence larger metropolitan systems are seeing a decline in the caliber of applications they are receiving and rural districts are struggling to fill management positions. What can we as individuals and associations who represent the industry do to address the needs in this area and advance the future for the industry and its personnel.

9 Is water and wastewater services taken for granted?
Ask yourself this question? I suspect in general the answer is yes. It is something we have all heard forever in this business. Today’s customers are different than those 30 or 40 years ago when many areas or small communities did not have community water supplies, some hauled water, others had individual wells with poor quantity or quality and in many cases hauled water. Today many could not live where they are without a community water supply. Today’s customers, for the most part, have never known a day without these basic essential services. The question to ask is why is the industry taken for granted? Of course there are many answers to that question, but one is that we do a poor job of promoting the valuable service provided and the professionalism required in the industry today. Oh we do a great job talking to ourselves in meetings and so forth but fail miserably in marketing the skills, knowledge and expertise embedded in the industry and the value of water and wastewater services to the general public.

10 Management will play a bigger role
Lets look at the future. Management functions, even in smaller utilities will play a much bigger role in the future. As system complexity has increased, regulatory requirements have grown managing the diversity of operations and working with governance and financing decisions is a critical link in sustainability and financial security of the system. TRUE!!!

11 Competition for Career Management Positions
With the shortage of a qualified personnel pool in the next few years, there will be competition for managerial and operational positions. With social media today and the shortage resulting in competition with higher salary packages being offered, this competition will transcend state lines. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, small systems will continue to be the entry level training ground. Bet On It !!

12 Initiatives #1 How do we address these issues and prepare the industry for the future. Your association has instituted two major initiatives. The first initiative is to provide recognition for the management functions within the utility.

13 Mission “ To Provide Recognition and Certification for Experience and Educational Achievements in the Field of Water and Wastewater Management” To address and provide recognition of this function in the water and wastewater industry, Water University was created with a mission to: see slide:….. The UMC was three years in Development with input from a wide variety of systems large and small systems, districts and municipals, and a wide variety of personnel operators, managers and city managers and boards.

14 Utility Management Certified
Plaque Presentation National Registry Local, State and National PR Releases 3 Year Renewal 18 Years = Lifetime Today some 500 people have taken the step to complete Water University’s Utility Management Certification. (UMC). The course consists of a self study guide and an online exam. After passage of the exam, you will receive this plaque through your association, be registered in the National UMC Registry and provided with local state and national news releases announcing your accomplishments. The certification is renewable each three years with 40 hours of training during that period. The last slot is for lifetime certification.

15 The value of this certification is that it documents the skill, experience and knowledge of a potential applicant. Who is more qualified? This certification provided by each State Rural Water Association as an affiliate of Water University, will become the standard for potential employers looking for proven skills and knowledge. It documents a higher caliber of applicant to an employer.

16 Initiatives #2 The second initiative is to project operations positions for the skills, knowledge and expertise embedded in the industry today and required in today’s modern systems. Each person in the industry today can take this simple step to advance their careers and our industry. The only cost is to be proud of our chosen career path and tell others about it. By referring to system operations personnel as “Specialist, it will project the industry in a more positive light, especially to the next generation who will be considering a career and a future within the industry.

17 The time to promote the skills, knowledge and expertise in the industry is now. In looking at ways to support our utility membership and prepare for the impending workforce shortage, a survey was conducted by State Rural Water Associations that resulted in 1850 responses from utilities. 72% of the respondents selected either Technician or Specialist over the title of Operator as projecting the skill, knowledge and expertise of their positions. For Rural Water this was a Call to Action and as a result, we have started down a path to enhance the perception of operation positions as professional career choice and advance the water and wastewater industry.. This has no impact on statutes or certification, is simply referring to these positions as System Specialist as opposed to Operator. 72% of 1850 responses selected Specialist or Technician over the term Operator

18 To that end, Your state Associations and NRWA will lead the charge in this initiative through a proclamation which reads …

19 We hereby set forth our commitment to this proclamation in the year 2012.
Rural water is the largest water and wastewater utility membership organization in the nation. Through their daily interaction with system personnel, on site, in training programs, through publications and through web communications, in a short period of time, system operations specialist, with your help will be ingrained into our vocabulary.

20 Respect Skilled Profession Increased value
Specialist UMC Respect Skilled Profession Increased value These two key initiatives, rebranding the title of operator to Specialist and certifying the Utility Management Function will benefit water and wastewater personnel, project a professional career choice and advance the value of the industry to a wide variety of audiences.

21 Future Future Shortage of qualified personnel More complex systems
Management will play a bigger role So the future crystal ball is telling us that there will be a shortage of qualified personnel, more complex systems, management will pay a bigger role even in small systems and there will be a competition for positions. Competition for positions

22 Be Prepared for the Future Invest In Your Career
Promote Your Industry and Profession Gain the Recognition You Deserve We invite you to……..

23 I see you have the “UMC” Designation
As competition heats up and the UMC Certification filters across the nation. The UMC will bring credibility to resumes and interviews. How to obtain the UMC Designation? Contact your State Rural Water Association or

24 Little Things DO Make A Difference
These are little steps but they will make a difference over a period of time. Each of us within our industry can take these little steps that will benefit todays personnel, future personnel and the industry as a whole.

25 Utility Management Certification System Operation Specialist
A Bright Future For those of us who have been in this industry since the 70s we have a responsibility to leave our systems and professions on a solid foundation for the future. We can change the perception of the industry and project the skills, knowledge and expertise that is in the industry today. For those who have been in the industry a shorter period of time, you can advance your career and enhance your opportunities for a brighter career. As stated at the beginning of this program, the industry has come a long way since the 70s but it is no longer a job or a task, it is a skilled profession. You as an individual can make a difference for the future.. It is as simple as talking about it. Contact your State Rural Water Association for ideas and support. We sincerely appreciate your time and your help in advancing our industry and our profession.

26 Thank you!!! Go To: or your State Association
We appreciate your time today and thank each of you for the leadership you provide to the water and wastewater industry. Contact your State Rural Water Association and become involved in Advancing our industry. This program will be available on the Water University library. Thank you for your participation today and all you do for our industry. Thank you!!!

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