Filtered by category: News & Updates Clear Filter

President's Message September 2022

lara kammereckIt’s with great honor, gratitude, and excitement that I write my first message to you as president of PNCWA’s board of directors. As I accept this torch from Rob Lee, I’m reminded of the values and objectives that drew me to this community and the gratifying time I’ve spent in its service, all of which underscore the significance of my new responsibilities to you.

I joined PNCWA fifteen years ago. My time with the association has been marked by learning experiences and meaningful relationships formed through various committees and special initiatives, and, in 2018, I joined the board as secretary. Throughout these years, I’ve also served as a senior project manager in the Seattle area for Carollo Engineers, a role that has put me face-to-face with the challenges and opportunities PNCWA explores through collaboration, innovation, and exchange as well as the influence of our contributions toward providing clean water and securing healthy watersheds.

Read More

President's Message August 2022

Rob LeeAs I write this, we’re less than a month away from our conference. We have around 500 people registered, including many folks who weren’t able to attend last year and a number of new attendees. It’s going to be awesome!

But I also write this with some sadness, as this marks the last official President’s message before my term ends. I’m grateful to our membership who entrusted me with the incredible honor and tremendous responsibility of serving as Board President. I’m so incredibly proud of our Association, our board, our committee chairs and volunteers, our regions and sections. There is so much great work going on, more than any single person could possibly fathom.

Read More

A Message From Your Managing Director

marie schmidtHello! I am thrilled and honored to join PNCWA as Managing Director. I will be taking on day-to-day operations of the organization with the support of Association Management Inc. (AMI), so that PNCWA leadership can focus on strategic priorities.

Water has always been a fascination of mine, as I’m sure it’s been for you. I have a bachelor's degree in environmental science and a master's degree in water resources, both from University of Idaho. Over the last decade, I worked for the University of Idaho in the Coeur d’Alene Community Water Resource Center providing water outreach throughout north Idaho. I am excited to shift my attention to a broader audience throughout Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. I bring extensive experience in community education, collaborative partnerships, and project management to this position, and I am eager to work with all of you in PNCWA’s commitment to sustain healthy watersheds for future generations.

Read More

President’s Message July 2022

Rob LeeOur mission is to be the premier association in the Pacific Northwest dedicated to educating and connecting members. As we head into our next annual conference in September in Spokane, I’m excited to report that PNCWA is in great shape to accomplish that mission.

As a volunteer-led organization, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions over the last few years (huge shout-out again to Adam McClymont and Haley Falconer for your leadership!). Those decisions have led us to where we are today. PNCWA is currently in one of the strongest financial positions of its existence, and that has enabled us to bring on staff to help manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. We believe PNCWA will be better able to fulfill its mission by shifting operational responsibilities away from volunteer leaders and enabling volunteers to focus on strategic leadership and thinking. It’s a huge step for the organization and for all who are involved in PNCWA. See more below for an introduction to Marie and AMI.

Read More

Welcome to Marie Schmidt, New Managing Director

marie schmidtThe Board of Directors conducted a thorough search, and we are pleased to welcome Association Management Inc (AMI) and specifically Marie Schmidt as PNCWA’s new managing director.

Marie earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a master’s degree in Water Resources, both from the University of Idaho. She previously worked as the Outreach Specialist for the Community Water Resource Center at the University of Idaho in Coeur d'Alene for 10 years. Marie has extensive experience organizing community outreach programs, developing K-12 watershed curricula, facilitating lake management stakeholder meetings, managing volunteer water quality monitoring, fostering collaborative partnerships, and instructing stormwater and erosion control workshops. Marie lives in Spokane, WA with her husband, two children and golden retriever, and she’s happiest with her feet in a river. Please join us in welcoming Marie and AMI to our PNCWA family, and feel free to drop them a line at [email protected]

President’s Message June 2022

Rob LeePacific Northwest, summer is upon us! After one of the wettest springs on record, I’m excited for what summer brings — time off with family and loved ones, baseball games, barbecues, and longer days. Summer also brings one of the busiest times in our industry, with construction projects humming along and the consistent need for planning and design improvements and upgrades to our vital infrastructure.

PNCWA is an organization founded on volunteers from within — folks who live and breathe the issues facing our wastewater industry on a daily basis. Each and every board member, committee chair, section leader, and volunteer represents not only us, but you and all of our membership. And that ensures that the education, programming, networking, and advocacy coming from PNCWA meets those challenges we all face head-on.

Read More

President's Message May 2022

Rob LeeI’m writing this as I look out of my office window at the relentless rain we’re experiencing this spring (at least west of the Cascades). Yet I cannot help but marvel at what spring brings us: a reminder of new life. Flowers start to bud, trees bloom, birds return and sing to us in the mornings. And those relentless rains? They’re a reminder of the essential industry that we’re all in — protecting the critical waterways that are the backbone of our lives here in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m giddy with excitement for this new season. Our board met in person this past month as a mid-year check-in about the health and direction of PNCWA, and I’d love to share a few things with you all:

Read More

President's Message April 2022

Rob LeeOne of the greatest measures of an organization’s relevance is the answer to the question, “What would happen if we didn’t exist?” I’ve asked this of myself and of our board several times this past year — yet we keep coming back to the same answer. With the changes of the past couple of years, our industry here in the Pacific Northwest still has a critical need for collaboration, information sharing, networking, and continuing growth and education. And the inspiration and community that develops from such endeavors are always so important.

To that end, we’re excited about the progress we’re making in implementing the strategic initiatives we identified last year. I’m pleased to report these:

Read More

President’s Message March 2022

rob lee

I recently came across a quote “Everyone has the gift of time, but few utilize.” Incredibly, we’re already a quarter of the way through 2022. Time truly flies by! Yet when I pause and look around the Association, I am amazed by the countless people giving the gift of their time to help our industry grow and our communities overcome their water challenges.

Read More

PNCWA Seeks Leadership Nominations

board

The Board of Directors includes the following positions: President, President-Elect, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Past President, Association Young Professional Representative, two WEF Directors, and four Regional Directors. The PNCWA Nominating Committee is accepting nominations for the positions of Vice President, PNCWA WEF Director, Secretary, and YP Representative.

Read More

President’s Message February 2022

Rob Lee새해 복 많이 받으세요! In Korean, this phrase means, “Please receive many new year’s blessings.”

Whether you celebrate the start of the new year (per the lunar calendar) or cannot believe we’re already in the second month of the solar calendar, my hope is that each and every person reading this heads into 2022 with many blessings to come.

Read More

President's Message January 2022

Rob LeeHappy New Year! When the calendar changes from December 31 to January 1, the earth rotates 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds, just like every other day. But, for many of us, the new year is a sign of new beginnings.

The water industry is facing such tremendous challenges. COVID variants, climate change, worker shortages, supply chain issues, silver tsunami of retirees, increasing rural-urban divides, racial injustice, lack of equal access to sanitation and clean water, and the list goes on. Yet, in the midst of these challenges, there is a spark of hope. This spark is each and every one of you who raise your hand, refusing to be simply carried along by the challenges, but who instead plant your feet and take those challenges head on. You all are the spark that spurs on others, creating a chance for change.

Read More

President's Message December 2021

Rob LeeChristmas. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Rohatsu. All of these holidays celebrate the strength of the human spirit in the midst of trials and tribulations. They remind us of the hope that is possible for the future and that, by joining with others, there can be something greater than our own individual lives. This is the time of year to pause, reflect, and celebrate.

For those of us in the water industry here in the Pacific Northwest, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. We have made tremendous progress in creating awareness of the importance and interconnectivity of our water resources, more funding is headed our way to inject much-needed investment into our aging infrastructure, and the past year has brought a greater understanding of the impact that infrastructure has on social justice and equity.

Read More

President's Message November 2021

Rob Lee

During this time of year, I’m reminded of the importance of being thankful — or “aware and appreciative of a benefit,” as it’s defined.

Read More

President's Message October 2021

Rob LeeAutumn is such a vibrant, visual reminder of the changes that inevitably occur in our lives. A great many things have changed over the last couple of years, and our industry is now facing the challenges that have resulted — including how to accomplish the vast amount of work that needs to get done while dealing with worker shortages, supply chain issues, escalating construction costs, and navigating the virtual work environment. We know that some of the most passionate volunteers and members of PNCWA are feeling the strain of these challenges, so I wanted to pause and tell you that we understand, we feel similarly, and we are immensely grateful for those of you who continue to advance the mission of PNCWA.

PNCWA is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide people with top-notch education, opportunities to learn about the ever-changing tools and technology in our industry, and the chance to network and connect with others. Our work is critical, and it cannot be done without the tireless efforts of so many of you.

Read More

President's Message September 2021

As we enter into this new year for PNCWA, I’m incredibly humbled and honored to step into the role of President of the Board of Directors. PNCWA is such a critical nonprofit organization essential to the future of our region and the water industry. The 2021 Conference was an amazing reminder of that, and I personally am feeling reenergized and reminded of the importance of community, geography, and, of course, water.

Thank you to Haley Falconer, Immediate Past President, for her amazing leadership and sacrifice over the past year. Thank you to our conference committee, sponsors, manufacturers and exhibitors, the board, our dedicated committee chairs, section leads, and to the countless dedicated and talented people in the Pacific Northwest that have given so much to PNCWA.

Read More

President's Message August 2021

haley falconer and familyPNCWA Members –

As I write this, I am less than a month away from the end of my role as PNCWA President. It has been a tumultuous year but one that I will look back on with pride. We are an organization made up of passionate, creative people, including our Board who provides strategic direction and financial oversight; the committees where members share experience and interest to advance the goals of the organization, and individual members who are vital to the success of all our activities. In spite of the tumult, we have accomplished much and moved our organization forward. Here are a few highlights from this year:

  • Summit Series – a great way to connect and learn as an organization. The lessons learned from these events will be carried forward into future virtual programming.
  • Mission Statement and Critical Objectives – the Board refined the Mission Statement to better reflect the current and future work of our organization. We also crafted several critical objectives that will serve as the basis of future strategic planning efforts.
  • Partnership with Water Reuse Association – we are thrilled to be partnered with WRA-PNW for PNCWA2021 where they will be providing a technical track for two days focused on water reuse and their members will be invited to participate in our conference. This partnership is hopefully the beginning of other activities and efforts to advance recycled water in the northwest.
  • Racial and Social Justice Subcommittee – PNCWA created a new subcommittee which, “strives to empower PNCWA membership by providing education and resources, collaborating with impacted communities, and advocating for enduring racial and social justice in water resource organizations, programs, and projects that bring about lasting change.”
  • CONFERENCE! – For many, myself included, the annual conference is a highlight. Planning in the unknown has been an overwhelming challenge at times, but we are so excited with where we’ve landed. We hope to see many of you in person for this year’s conference in Boise. For those who cannot make it in person, we invite you to join us virtually and view the live streamed sessions.

To the volunteers who have led, participated in, and provided feedback for these activities and many others that we’ve accomplished this year, THANK YOU! We succeed as an organization because of you. To the Board, newly created Conference Committee, and other committee leaders who exhibited grace, trust, and leadership, you truly captured lightning in a bottle this year.

Read More

President's Message July 2021

haley falconer

If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that creating Ripples of Change requires introspection and action. As a conference committee planning PNCWA 2021, we want to embody inclusion, celebration, and the action required to create change. We are thrilled to announce that registration is now open for PNCWA 2021, where we will host several powerful speakers for our General Opening Session on Monday morning, including Dan Prinzing and Tai Simpson, who will be delivering our keynote (link names to bios). Dr. Prinzing is the executive director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, whose mission is “to promote respect for human dignity and diversity through education and to foster individual responsibility to work for peace and justice.” As an antiracism activist and community leader, Tai serves as an organizer for the Indigenous Idaho Alliance and uses contemporary and traditional Indigenous storytelling to champion radical inclusion, equity, and liberation.

We hope that the introspection our speakers’ messages inspire will carry you to action Tuesday morning as we gather for coffee at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial just four blocks from the conference center. Emily, Allison, and I have wandered this site several times over the last year and continue to find inspiration in the space. We cannot wait to see you at PNCWA 2021.

Women of Water/Energy Recognition

Women Group

The Women of Water Summit is coming up next month, and the aquafficiency team is excited to hear from so many of our industry leaders! Of course, because we’re all about energy efficiency, we wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge and highlight some of the women who have done so much to help move the needle in wastewater facilities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Our sponsorship is in honor of the women listed below, whose knowledge, hard work, and support of making wastewater treatment more energy efficient have saved millions of kilowatt-hours (not to mention dollars!) over the years. In alphabetical order (because you can’t rank superstars), they are:

Read More

President's Message Oct 2020

Flashback to PNCWA 2009: I was a grad student at Washington State (Go Cougs!) and attended my first PNCWA Conference in Boise. I was there to present my graduate research on phosphorus removal using biogenic iron oxides (a terrifying endeavor, but that’s a different story). Nutrient removal and management is as important as ever and continues to drive utility upgrades and operational challenges that many Pacific Northwest cities are facing. Because nutrients is such an important topic, PNCWA is hosting the Nutrients Summit on October 28 to provide members with high quality continuing education. I recommend you join us to connect with members and learn from leading experts.

While I am optimistic that we are going to have an outstanding year, I also want to share with you that it will not be easy. As a non-profit, volunteer board, we are working to provide education, stay connected to you, and build a resilient organization. Our members, supporting organizations, and commitment and enthusiasm to improve the world around us is what will make us successful this year and beyond. A huge thank you to our Summit Series sponsors who are supporting a new endeavor and incredible way for us to learn and connect. Because sponsors are as important now as pre-COVID, we are creating as much value as possible. If you have any input on how we can better serve you, please let me know.

Read More