Getting Passionate About Water and Jobs

by Paul Bowen, WEF President

Recently I participated in the Young Professionals (YP) Summit sponsored by WEF/AWWA and held in conjunction with the Utility Management Conference.  Not only did I have the chance to interact with YPs, I also had the privilege of talking with numerous veterans of our military.  These young men and women, who have served our country, were eager to make connections in our industry.  As I mingled among the YPs and veterans, I found both groups wanting to engage in conversation and more than willing to talk about their goals and dreams. For each it’s an exciting time in their lives as they start to look to their future, and the whole experience seemed to tie in with ► World Water Day on March 22-- the 2016 theme is Water and Jobs.

Both YPs and veterans are part of future of water and the water industry.  Without the influx of these talented individuals our profession will continue to lose more than it gains.  While they offer different skill sets, different levels of experience, and a broad range of perspectives, all share a passion for water.  That passion will fuel them as their careers develop and move in different directions.

Without vision, passion is wasted.  One of our tasks as seasoned professionals is to support those entering our field to develop their vision for a future in water.  Our experiences help us provide guidance around the directions available for those with passion for the water environment.  We can help these young water professionals chart the course to their vision.

Passion provides the fuel and vision sets the direction, but one needs discipline to withstand the challenges a new career brings.  This trait comes from within the individual.  As I talked with both YPs and veterans, I was struck by the discipline many of them have exhibited so far in their young careers.  Many have faced numerous challenges in getting their education and first job, yet they continue to work toward greater challenges and strive for professional growth.

The water industry has always been a place where such talented and passionate YPs and veterans could find a job and develop a career.  Let’s continue to welcome these individuals to our field and provide the support they need to become lifelong water professionals and ensure the future of water. 

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