President's Message

Enjoy the winter; Spring will get here (soon enough); Think ahead a special conference! The mild December combined with a co-worker riding his motorcycle until almost the New Year, has caught me off guard and I must say have struggled to even think about a February President’s message with this weak start to winter!  Once again my love for winter is being held at bay with a lack of snow and a roller coaster of cold to mild temperatures.  I know, probably a fair share of you are wishing for an end to the winter wonderland already, but never fear, by the time this is out in print there will only be a couple months till you can be refreshed with the spring air and peace of mind that it will only get warmer with the seasons change.  BUT, until then I hope we get some good old’ fashion snowstorms for my fellow winter enthusiasts to enjoy!  You know the kind that makes you wonder where the heck one is supposed to put any more snow!  With that thought, I want to send out my sincere appreciation to all fellow WWOA members who face the challenging role of plowing snow in addition to operating and maintaining a Wastewater Treatment facility.  Winter brings with it the reality of diverse operational challenges that go with the northern territory we reside.  Even though many other occupations may shut down with the extremes our climate may provide, our industry does not and we must continue to keep our facilities functioning in whatever Mother Nature deals us.  In my perspective, these challenges we face in the winter months provide us an opportunity to learn and build our skills and thus make us the best in the industry being able to cope with such a wide array of scenarios.  Regardless, please remember to work safely and take the necessary precautions to prevent injuries when out on the snow/ ice and working in the cold!

To catch you up on some recent happenings, the Board of Directors had their first meeting in December. Through the diligent efforts from all the board members, we were able to deliver a balanced budget to lead us into our special 50th anniversary conference in La Crosse next October.  Ideas and details were developed and discussed to highlight this special year.  Vice President and Technical Committee Chair, Jeff Bratz, is in progress of putting together a special opening session.  In February, he is leading a group of industry specialists in selecting a wide variety of technical sessions to fill an array of interests.  To cap it off, the award banquet will be followed with a little variation in entertainment this year that you will surely not want to miss! If you have not already, I encourage you to think ahead and secure your accommodations as soon as possible as the reserved host hotels are filling up fast! 

Operator training committee Co-chairs, Don Lintner and Jeff Smudde (along with a good deal of help from executive secretary Karen Harter), have joined in with the Wi section of the American Water Works Association to put on the 11th Annual Midwest Water and Wastewater Operators Expo in WI Dells. Jeff Smudde and Sharon Thieszen have aided in developing an always educational Government Affairs seminar on February 25th.  Don Lintner and I have also combined efforts with a select group to set up this years’ Spring Biosolids Symposium in Stevens Point on March 22nd.  If you have not been able to take in any of the CMOM training sessions yet, there are still a few more coming up in select locations.  Check the out the current WWOA website and the events calendar under the Members tools tab for those and more up to date regional training opportunities!

If you have not thought about it yet, please work at getting in those nomination papers for those around you for the WWOA awards available!  Don’t wait and push the deadlines, get them in early!  Details for all awards are at WWOA.org . If you have any questions, contact this year’s Award Chair and President Elect, Sharon Thieszen.  If team building is something of interest, look into putting together a team for the Operator’s Competition at the conference.   If you think you might be interested but not sure about how to get a team together, touch base with your regional officers as they can offer some guidance on what is involved.

These are just a few things I thought to highlight to get you forward thinking!  I can’t divulge all the special happens yet for Conference “L” yet and need to keep some suspense for my next article!  How else am I supposed to get anyone to read my posts?!

Your President,

Lyle Lutz