FWEA President's Column

Tim Harley, PE – FWEA President

Times flies when you’re having fun!  As we wrap up the past year and start a new year for the Florida Water Environment Association (FWEA), it hardly seems as if it has been a year since the last Florida Water Resource Conference (FWRC).  Seeing everyone at this year’s FWRC provided us with a time to reflect on the good times we had, the relationships we maintained, new friends we met, and the opportunity to continue learning about our environmental profession.  However, this year’s FWRC was special for me as I was nominated and elected as FWEA President.  As I told the folks who were in attendance at Tuesday’s Luncheon and Annual Meeting, thanks to each of you for providing me the opportunity to serve as your President.  It is a true honor to have been nominated and a privilege to serve.  On behalf of the entire FWEA Board of Directors, we believe in a bottom up organization.  We are here to help you, to serve you, and to celebrate the successes both big and small with you.

Participating in FWEA as an officer on the local Chapter, Committee, Executive Committee, or as an active member in any of the above, it is voluntary.  Most are members of FWEA because someone asked, but for those of you who are active participants it is because you chose to be, you want to serve, and you want to contribute.  So to all of the volunteers, who had a part in FWEA’s past successes, thank you!  It comforts me that I am surrounded by great officers in FWEA with years of experience in the profession and with FWEA.  The presidents preceding me led the Association forward through both good and challenging times.  It is strong leadership and dedicated involved members that have allowed us to realize the successes these past years.  Mark Twain said, “Thunder is impressive, but lightning does all the work.”  While WEF, the national organization, and FWEA as a state member association may be the thunder spreading the message, YOU are the truly the lightning piercing through your local communities – striving to be the best of the best.

Each new day and each new year provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the past and to celebrate our successes and to learn from our experience so that we may build upon those successes. The things that we have learned along the way will make the next event even better.  As I imagine is the case for many, the more that I see, do, learn, and experience makes me realize how little that I knew to begin with.  The beginning of wisdom is understanding.  I encourage each of you to seek understanding and to make even wise choices in the coming year.

As part on the coming year’s goals for the Association we would like to start:
An “Emerging Technology Committee” with a focus on committee members from the manufacturer and equipment representative sector,
An Operators Committee to better address the needs of that segment of our organization, and 
A Contractors Committee to take advantage of the experience that they bring to the table.

As mention above, FWEA has come through some challenging times.  We saw economic decline between 2007 and 2016; businesses struggled and so did FWEA.  Despite being a little beaten and bruised, we survived and are now beginning to see revitalization in our industry and in our membership.  However, we need to remember the lessons learned.  We need to be a bit better prepared for the next slump in the economy.  So an additional goal is to provide for more networking opportunities for our members and to establish a more stable and diverse revenue stream to our Association; we will be introducing an Annual Membership Directory & Resource Guide.  

FWEA is a people organization.  It is an assembly of individuals who are water professionals and whose life mission is aligned with FWEA’s mission. It is because of the professionals in our industry that we can, with confidence, turn on a spigot for a drink of water, eat many of our favorite foods, or go for a swim without a fear of the plagues of our past.  Please continue to be an active participant in FWEA and encourage others to join you, it’s through your and other’s service and participation that we will continue to be the “go to” organization for water.  Together, we make an even bigger impact and are able to return more to our members and communities.  It is our belief that through the networking tool provided via the Annual Membership Directory & Resource Guide, the best is yet to come!

Another goal for the coming year is to better embrace technology and social media.  Someone once said that the world changes at such a pace, that each day writes a fresh page of history before yesterday’s ink has even dried.  The ways that we communicate today greatly differs from the way we communicated just a few short years ago.  Things have changed and we as an organization need to be able to change and adapt.

In closing, the coming year will have me traveling the state to meet as many of our members as I can at Chapter events and at regional seminars.  I will need to get started early in order to visit each area of our state, so please update the calendar to include upcoming meetings and events on the FWEA website, and check to make sure that the list of officers for your Chapter or Committee is update with the correct contact information.  Thank you again for electing me, I am looking forward to serving as your President of FWEA for the coming year.  Please do not hesitate to contact me a tharley@sjcfl.us to share your ideas of comments.