PNCWA 2019: In Their Own Words, PNCWA Board Member, Tony Benavidez

It’s that time of year again — the time when we start planning next year’s conference. But Tony, you say, PNCWA 2019 was just a few weeks ago? It can be hard to keep up the excitement after such an incredible time together, networking with so many dedicated water professionals. Post-conference feels like the time of year we tend to put the cruise control on and coast to the end of the year. Here are some things that I learned through the connections I made at conference and also some of my plans for the coming year to stay motivated. I might even help you keep the energy all the way to PNCWA 2020 in Spokane.

This year’s conference for me was amazing. I saw so many new faces and spoke with a number of both first-time attendees and long-time attendees. There were several commonalities amongst our conversations. First, we are a passionate group of people. We love water and the environment, and we're doing all that we can to improve water quality for as many people as we can reach. Our reach extends far beyond the Pacific Northwest, and we are very proud of that. Second, we have the desire to be a part of something. It might be something local and important to specific communities, or it might be something big. I mean really big—like cleaning up Puget Sound big! The third takeaway was how much talent and knowledge we have. We all bring something to the table that is of value. We have brilliant design engineers, accomplished PhDs, inspired city officials, skilled operators, and many others. 

This brings me to my next point. I asked myself what skill do I bring to the table? I am not a brilliant engineer; I did not earn a Ph.D.; I barely graduated high school. My skill is connecting with people. I genuinely care about your story, and I want to be a part of it. I have the privilege this year of serving on the PNCWA Board of Directors as a Regional Director. It is a great honor, and I will work tirelessly to represent our membership. I will help people to connect with others that have similar interests. I will try and diversify the talents and skillsets that go into each group (committee) to achieve the maximum benefit. I understand that these are some lofty goals, but PNCWA is worth it—Water is Worth It—and WE, the individuals who make up this fantastic association, We Are Worth It.

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