WEF Recognizes PNCWA With Outstanding Member Association Award:

Outstanding Member Association Award: Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association
The Member Association (MA) Awards were established to recognize outstanding Member Associations and MAs that excel in areas of membership retention, financial strength, new memberships, scholarship programs, student achievement and support, technology transfers, and/or award programs. The Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association (PNCWA) has shown outstanding growth in conference attendance and membership and is a creative, forward-looking WEF Member Association. Their onboarding programs to drive new membership and new member involvement have resulted in steady increases in both membership and annual conference attendance. This MA has developed several new programs for students and young professionals in recent years, including a popular summit, an adopt-a-school program to support water science education, and a strong and growing scholarship fund. PNCWA is actively working to increase the diversity of its membership and leadership, and has also developed a strong financial position. WEF is honored to recognize the PNCWA Member Association for its achievements in developing a growing, energized and diverse membership of clean water professionals in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Financial Strength

PNCWA has grown over the past several years to a position of financial strength (23% increase in end of year balance since 2008). Total assets at the beginning of 2018 are over $250,000. The association budgets an increase in reserve (5% increase per year) which has allowed for increased growth in the reserves to $134,010. In 2013, PNCWA initiated the purchase of event insurance for its annual conference ensuring protection of the main revenue source for the association. At the same time, a site selection committee began to secure future conference locations. The Site Selection Committee completed a thorough investigation of conference venues in the Northwest, especially focusing on exhibitor space. New contracts for venues allow for adequate growth, protecting the future financial success of the annual conference. And in 2016, PNCWA developed a financial modelling tool to assist with budgeting and rate setting, allowing for thoughtful rate setting discussions.

Membership Retention

PNCWA has experienced growth of membership over the last two years. Membership since 2009 has been steady at 1,350 members and has increased by 2% over the last two years to 1,375. In addition, attendance at the annual conference has grown by 42% over the last 10 years.

PNCWA’s Member Services committee has completed multiple improvements in the past three years to increase member engagement and retain existing members. In 2015, the Member Services Committee established a Member Services Booth for the Annual Conference. The Member Services Booth provides information on PNCWA committees and sections. PNCWA Board Members and Committee Chairs host the booth and answer questions. Annual surveys determine member satisfaction, diversity, and levels of engagement. Members and conference attendees receive the survey through the conference application and e-mail and the results of the survey are presented to the Committee Chairs and Board at the annual strategic planning meeting.

New Membership

In 2013, PNCWA developed a mentorship program. Young Professionals were paired with mentors for a one-year program, and a mentorship guide was developed. The program has been successful and continues in 2018. Since 2016, a New Member and First-Time Attendee Meet and Greet is held at the annual conference. Board Members and Committee Chairs greet these new members and conference attendees at a hosted reception. The event hosts over 100 first time attendees. A “Flush Drive” (toilet shaped flash drive) is given to first-time attendees—with information on important PNCWA contacts, a letter from the President, a copy of the PNCWA Calendar, and a copy of the Membership Flyer. This welcome packet is later mailed to all new members and first-time attendees. In addition, the committee developed talking points and facilitated calls from PNCWA leaders to the new members/first time attendees.

In the past few years, PNCWA has worked to increase the diversity of its membership. In 2016, the Members Services Committee established membership goals to increase diversity by 2% in target demographics and sectors. PNCWA hosted its first Women’s Networking Luncheon at the 2016 annual conference, inspired by WEFTEC’s event in 2015. A Women’s Networking Event occurred at 2017 annual conference after a daylong track on Diversity and Leadership. Approximately 125 women attended.


PNCWA has also had tremendous growth of the Scholarship Fund since it began in 2009. The 2016 end of year fund balance was $41,785. PNCWA has distributed 26 scholarships totaling $37,500 to date – including recipients just graduating from high school and students from 2-year, 4-year and graduate programs. Over the last two years, scholarship outreach and awards have been established focusing on students studying at two-year schools for operations. PNCWA’s operators’ sections are encouraged to participate in an annual challenge to raise scholarship funds. In 2017, PNCWA awarded the first named scholarship for community college students named after Lucas Eibel. Lucas was a student studying chemistry at Umpqua Community College who was killed during a mass shooting at the school in 2016. In that same year the PNCWA established a scholarship for student studying to be operators or operators that were working to increase their knowledge of the industry.PNCWA also received a generous gift of $21,000 in 2018 for a new named scholarship focusing on service.

Student & Young Professionals Activities

In 2015, PNCWA collaborated with Pacific Northwest Section of the American Water Works Association (PNWS-AWWA) to host the first annual Pacific Northwest Student and Young Professional (S&YP) Summit. Now approaching its fourth year, the event has over 150 participants each year. That same year, PNCWA supported its first Student Design Competition team to WEFTEC. Student Design Competition teams are financially supported by PNCWA both to WEFTEC and to present at our annual conference.

Every year, high school science students from around the Northwest compete in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. PNCWA selects three students (one from each state) to attend the national competition and supports the students with a parent or teacher to attend the annual conference to present their work.

The Adopt-A-School program supports water science education, involvement, and restoration activities by 4th-12th grade students in our tri-state area who are working toward clean water education goals. The average funding level is $500 and varies depending on the number of applicants and funding level request. Total program fund available is at least $5,000 per year. Total awards to date are $51,686.75
Since 2016, an S&YP representative attends all Board meetings to increase communications with the S&YP Committee, and the PNCWA Board is considering making this a formal position on the PNCWA Board.

Technology Transfer

To provide long-term support and consistency with providing technology transfer activities, each technical committee is encouraged to hold at least one webinar per year. Members can attend webinars for no cost.

PNCWA hosts at least four pre-conference workshops at the annual conference per year. This allows our committees to highlight technical expertise for their area(s) of specialty on a rotating basis. The annual conference continues to grow and in 2017, PNCWA had a record breaking 275 abstracts submitted. The annual conference has multiple tracks and over 900 professionals attended in 2017. Each region within PNCWA holds a regional operators short school. Each year there are at least five regional short schools. Several PNCWA sections also offer operator training throughout the year – often at no cost.

Each quarterly PNCWA magazine focuses on specific topics with articles related to Pacific Northwest facilities and programs. Each year PNCWA donates $1 to WRF for each member to support research in the clean water field.

Awards Program and WEF Awards Participation

The PNCWA Awards Committee elevates the prominence and prestige of the PNCWA and WEF Awards so they are viewed as highly regarded, treasured, and respective of the excellent water professionals receiving the awards and recognitions. PNCWA receives nominations for the Arthur Sidney Bedell, William D. Hatfield, George W. Burke and Lab Analyst Awards, and present WEF-PNCWA Awards for all four each year. PNCWA also solicits nominations and selects winners of PNCWA Awards in several areas such as Student and Young Professional of the Year, Woman of the Year, Excellence in Water Reuse, Municipal Water Protection, Sustainability, Stormwater Professional, Innovative Stormwater Project, and Operators and of the Year. New WEF Quarter Century Operators Club and WEF Life Members from PNCWA are acknowledged at the awards banquet as well.

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