President's Message

How can it be?  Seems like just yesterday that I was elected to the Board of Directors and now after a blink through the ranks I’m writing my first President’s message for the Clarifier!  Where does the time go?  I really can’t even put down in words how honored and excited I am to lead the organization this year, especially being the big 50th Anniversary year.   Just think, the first Annual Conference was held in Appleton for the initial organization, the WWWOC, in October 1967.  Okay, wait a minute, if you do the math of adding 50 years to 1967, we shouldn’t be even be talking Conference L  (roman nomenclature for 50) just yet, right?  Well, if you really struggle to comprehend this, never fear there has been a 50th planning committee formed who will reassure you that 2016 is correct year for the 50th and they have been brainstorming ideas to make it a memorable event in LaCrosse next October!  I will direct all 50th anniversary questions to Dan Busch, who evidently has spent way too much time thinking about WWOA history and this math equation while out he is in the woods! (Feel free to catch Dan sometime for background on that story)

Only a few short months back we wrapped up the 49th Annual Conference which included an entertaining keynote speaker, Dr. Stuart Robertshaw, abundance of informative technical sessions, awesome cash prizes with social time, and industry leading expert, Dr. Leon Downing, who spoke at the farewell breakfast.  All of these components were set in place by the then Vice President and Technical Committee Chair and your new President Elect, Sharon Thieszen.  I must say great job and applaud Sharon for all of her diligent efforts in organizing such a smooth flowing conference.   An abundance of positive remarks were received and reflect how conscious she was with all the details.   Congratulations to our new Vice President, Jeff Bratz, who has already taken the reigns and has the call for paper out and has selected a fine group of individuals to help review and select next years’ technical sessions in February.  I also want to congratulate and welcome our newly elected director, Kris August.  I look forward to working with Kris and have his knowledge on the board!

As I have already mentioned, the Call for Papers for the 2016 Technical sessions was mailed out and is posted on the WWOA website, so please get your submittal(s) in as early as possible and /or pass along the Call for Papers to someone whom you feel might be interested in presenting at the 50th WWOA Annual Conference.  The same goes for the any of the award submittals; it is never too early to turn in nominations for any of the awards for someone who you know that deserves to be recognized for what they do/have done with the industry.  Visit the WWOA website for award information and nomination forms.  I always find the awards banquet a fulfilling time to see the recognition of these special individuals. Congratulations to all of the 2015 WWOA award recipients!

I believe WWOA offers more than just training and credit opportunities; it also offers the opportunity to build an invaluable network of wastewater professionals.   Becoming a member has allowed me to build knowledge, experiences, and ideas that have complimented my career in the wastewater industry.  During my presidency term I hope to continue enhancing these attributes by attending at least one function in every region.  The time spent associating with the leaders (past and present) that I have met and worked with at the regional and state WWOA levels leading to my Presidency have been priceless As I do know a fair share of the membership, I am going to emphasize my goal to meet and talk to those I don’t and extend my network of experts.  Likewise, if by chance you see me out and about, and even if it not WWOA related, please feel free to stop me and introduce yourself.  I spend a fair amount of my spare time running my son Sterling (14) and daughter Shelby (12) around the state for their numerous sporting events.  So if you happen to see their names at any youth athletic event, take a look to see if by chance I’m around!  Whenever and wherever, I welcome your feedback of ideas, concerns, or questions.

Acclimating to the President role has been especially seamless with outstanding predecessors like Kelly Zimmer, Kevin Freber, and Wade Peterson.  A special thanks to them for their guidance and comradery leading me through each step on the board.  Lastly, I want to recognize Karen Harter for all of the time and efforts she dedicates to her role as the WWOA Executive Secretary.  We are very fortunate to have her skills and assistance in keeping the organization on track.

As another successful (hopefully!) deer hunting season has passed, my favorite season of winter will be here really soon, if it hasn’t made an appearance already.  I am hoping that we can enjoy a white Christmas this year and everyone has safe and happy holidays!

Your 2015-2016 President,

Lyle Lutz