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Thanks to Everyone from EWRI President Paul Bizier

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I've just returned from Council Weekend in beautiful San Antonio, Texas, and it has me looking forward to seeing many of you in Austin for our annual Congress.  It was a great weekend - much was accomplished, and we kicked off several new activities.  In addition, both David Dee (next year's president) and Brian Parsons invested in new boots… Make sure you ask to see them at the Austin Congress…

As you may recall from my first missive, as your Governing Board works through the next fiscal year, these are my three primary goals:
• Improve our integration of new professionals into the Institute
• Expand the involvement of our members who work in the municipal sector
• Enhance the relevancy of our organization to Institute members who are not active

In my first letter, I talked primarily about the first goal.  This progressed significantly during Council Weekend.  The Member Services ExCom approved three new Councils that deal directly with this issue.  Curt Elmore and Monica Palomo have taken the lead on our new Students Council, which will have a focus on better integrating EWRI with students beginning in high school and continuing through college.  I'm especially excited that they have lined up several current students to serve in leadership roles on the Council.  Our current SANPAC group will continue to function as a committee under this Council, leading the on-going Student Competitions at our Congresses.  Thanks to Jamal Nagamia, Balu Bhayani, and others for their past and future efforts with these compeitions.

As I noted previously, Jeanne VanBriesen has put together a New Professionals Council, which will be undertaking several new activities at the Congress weekend.  Again, these will have a direct impact on involving new professionals into our Institute Activities.  Finally, our new Professionals Practice Council was approved by the ExCom.  Thanks to Sheila Carpenter-van Dijk and the many others who have worked so hard to expand this outreach to new professionals.

Sheila has also asked me to remind everyone that she is looking for new members who are interested in serving in these areas.  This is an outstanding way to get active in the National EWRI organization and to help reach out to serve our members.  If you are interested in being part of these efforts, e-mail your interest area, whether it's technical- or people-related to Sheila at

We also are making real strides in achieving my second goal.  We have been approached by various entities, and have four new strategic opportunities which will be managed by our Technical Activities ExCom and our technical committees.  These include:
• Presidential Green Infrastructure Initiative
• Federal Urban Waters Program
• EPA Region 6 Municipal Stormwater Conference
• Biosolids Road Show
EPA, both nationally and regionally, has recognized EWRI as an important partner in dealing with infrastructure issues, and we have the opportunity to provide our expertise in areas such as Green Infrastructure, LID, and wastewater engineering.  This is opening new opportunities for our members who are involved in municipal and private consulting to get involved.  If you have interest in any of these programs, we'll be talking more about them at the Congress, or you can contact Charles Rowney or I, and we'll be glad to get you hooked up.

Another example of this focus is our upcoming Municipal Infastructure and Biosolids symposia at the Austin Congress.  Our Municipal Water Infrastructure Council, working with our Austin Chapter, has come up with a new, one-day symposium for Thursday of the Congress.  This Symposium, which will focus specifically on municipal issues, is being offered at a one-day registration rate of $150, with discounts for municipal employees.  Similarly, our Residuals Management Technical Committee has put together an outstanding workshop on Biosolids and the 503 regulations for Thursday of the Congress.  Again, this workshop will focus on municipal issues, and will feature speakers from EPA, TCEQ, and the San Antonio and Austin treatment facilities.  Again, the $150 registration rate will be available for this workshop.  Both these events are outstanding opportunities for members who haven't been to a Congress to come, gain current technical information, and meet other professionals dealing with the same issues.

During the Council weekend, we also had a "State of the State" discussion.  Some interesting facts:
• Since 2010, our membership has increased by almost 10,000 members.
• Since 2010, we have founded five new EWRI Student Chapters
• Since 2010, we have founded 19 new EWRI Local Chapters
• Since June 2014, when Collaborate went live on a limited basis, there have been over 2000 log-ins.

These are exciting times as we continue to grow.  Thank you to everyone who helps us make EWRI a better organization.  Next letter, we'll talk about the third strategic goal.  I hope you'll join me in my enthusiasm as we continue to implement the new Strategic Plan, and I look forward to helping renew and grow the Institute as the preeminent group for environmental and water resource engineers.