CWEA Leader Link-June 2013
California Water Environment Association                                                                                               June  2013
Leader Link

News, insights, and advice for CWEA's volunteer leaders                     

In This Issue:

Committee Leadership Success Strategies

How to Make Webinars Work for You

CWEA's Awards Program Kicks Off July 1

Layperson's Guide to Wastewater Now Available

50+ Attend Monterey Bay Section Lunch Tour

Staff Contacts

Leadership Calendar

Committee Leadership Success Strategies
Paula Zeller, Senior Plant Operator
Orange County Sanitation District
CWEA 07-08 President

As chair of the Water Environment Federation’s Plant Operations and Maintenance Committee, I have found the need to work with the committee members to both identify those activities we would like to accomplish (like the next review of MOP 11-Operations and Maintenance of Wastewater Treatment Plants) and those we are currently working on (WEFTEC technical sessions, pre-conference workshops, distance learning, and updating our committee materials.) We started having monthly teleconference calls, which may not seem like much but the preparation of items to discuss often impacts other personal free-time. One item which is bothering my Vice Chair has to do with succession planning.

In previous times, the POMC chair and vice chair would discuss names with the WEF staff liaison to select someone from the committee to talk to about becoming the next vice chair. Often, the names would be of members who have led other activities in the committee, such as the Symposia (technical sessions) chair or the Technical Practices Committee liaison or someone who spear-headed a short-term task force. Then, the chair would talk to those potential candidates to find out if they were interested in moving up, if they had the time to commit (up to 3 years for vice chair, additional 3 years for chair), and if they had some support (family and employer). This process however was never written down, nor was it really formalized by previous chairs. Every once in a while you might have a situation where a chair or vice chair had to step down and the other leader was scrambling to get a replacement. Lastly, when you move someone up, then you need to select another person to replace him/her in the spot they had.

Since I have brought it up though, my Vice Chair is getting nervous about finishing her term and then moving up. Part of my insanity in telling her now before WEFTEC 2014 is to help her target her volunteer efforts—some people need to practice delegating before they are suddenly handed the job of delegator. Still, it has been helpful to actually write out the procedure and share it with the committee members, because they were the ones to ask if we could change the term from 3-year to 2-year commitments and then to have a Vice Chair Elect who could help target getting committee members into the activities. Not only have they provided some helpful suggestions (we also reviewed the committee organizational chart, mission statement and roles-responsibilities), but they feel empowered to bring new ideas for webcasts we could support and to redirect our distance learning activities without getting discouraged.

Originally, I have seen about 25 committee members with about 8 key leaders/players; as of our last phone call, we have become almost 40 members with 15 active participants. That is a gain from 32% to 38%, in just 4 months since the Mid-year meeting in snowy Chicago!

I am glad to have the opportunity to encourage others to take on leadership roles—it helps to raise your own attitude and give you a different perspective when your job appears to stall or slow down. It also provides a way to flex muscles you may not be aware that you have. I like strategic planning and trying to understand the big picture. And here’s a chance to do what your own managers do—identify the tasks to do and align the appropriate people to do them. Spell out how you select your leaders and then ask your group/committee to review the procedure as if they were going to use it.

It’s like turning on the air inside the aeration tank and keeping the solids in suspension! Let the flocculation begin!


How to Make Webinars Work for You

Webinars can be less expensive and time-consuming than in-person training, and they can often be scheduled around your busy schedule. But you can't learn from them if you move on to another task after you push play. And although we're constantly inundated with information through technology, webinars cannot provide the same level of interaction and networking as a face-to-face meeting. Here are some tips to maximize your webinar value.

1. Be committed and respectful. Turn off your phone and minimize other interruptions. Take notes to help you stay focused and consider sharing your notes with others after the meeting. This helps you not only synthesize the information, but benefits your organization.

2. Invite others to watch with you. You'll be more likely to pay attention and to think about how the content relates to your work. You can also discuss with your colleagues, which helps you better process the information. It also provides an informal opportunity to teambuild.

3. Don't forget to network. Use the webinar to follow-up with presenters or other attendees as you would after an in-person meeting. Fewer people do so, so it could be an opportunity for you to stand out even more.


CWEA's Awards Program Kicks off July 1

CWEA Local Sections hold their awards contests between August - February. Their winners go on to participate in the state program, where winners are acknowledged each year at the Annual Conference in April.

Awards forms for 2013 will be available online by July 1. Please make sure to turn in your banquet dates and plaque orders as soon as you’ve made your installation and awards decisions. Contact Victoria Rawson with banquet questions and to schedule the President’s attendance. Contact Lola Dvorak to order your awards plaques. Forward the applications of your first-place winners to the CWEA office by Friday, January 10.

Applying for an award takes time, which is becoming increasingly scarce as resources decline. However, participating in the CWEA awards program should be a priority for all water environment professionals. Participation is valuable because it:

  • Acknowledges team and individual excellence.
  • Boosts employee morale and agency pride.
  • Celebrates and recognizes good work.
  • Benchmarks accomplishments in the field.
  • Analyses and evaluates annual progress.
  • Raises organizational profile in the community – and with ratepayers, public officials and board members.
  • Gives the media something constructive to report. Free positive publicity.
  • Increases results and productivity though friendly competition.
  • Attracts and retains talent. Adds a vote of confidence for new hires. Helps identify best candidates.
  • Reinforces agency and industry direction. Adds credibility to claims of excellence in regards to environmental record, public health or employee safety, among many others.


Layperson’s Guide to California Wastewater Now Available

The Water Education Foundation has just announced the release of the Layperson's Guide to California Wastewater, funded by CWEA, Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District, and CWEA’s Clean Water Summit Partners (CASA, SCAP, CVCWA, and BACWA). The 28-page guide is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the history of wastewater treatment and how wastewater is collected, conveyed, treated and disposed of today. CWEA contributed to the development of the guide to help meet the need to have a credible, readable resource on wastewater. Though members of the Clean Water Summit Partners provided input, the Water Education Foundation exercised editorial control, as with all their layperson's guides, and is responsible for the final content.

CWEA supported this publication to help address our ongoing concern that policy makers and the general public in California lack a basic understanding of wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal. Wastewater costs continue to increase and affect ratepayers, and water issues in California are becoming more contentious. As a result, there is a need for better understanding of the basic infrastructure, legal and regulatory framework, and key policies affecting wastewater management as an important part of the States water supply.

CWEA Local Section Presidents and Committee Chairs should look for a complimentary copy coming their way next week from CWEA. Additional copies can be purchased for $10 through the Water Education Foundation website under the Products link at or click

The California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) will be distributing copies to state legislators, members of Congress and key regulatory agency leaders. Encourage others in your local sections and committees to get and use this new publication. Wed love to hear how you plan to use the publication; please post your comments in CWEAs E-Bulletin.


50+ Attend Monterey Bay Section Tour

The Monterey Bay Section recently held its Board Meeting prior to a lunchtime tour of the Recycling Facility of Watsonville Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Monterey Bay Section had over 50 registrants for this tour. Such a large turnout was especially exciting because they are a small section with just over 300 members.

The City’s regional award winning and nationally recognized wastewater treatment facility serves Watsonville and three nearby Sanitary Districts. A total of 6.5 million gallons of wastewater flows daily from homes, businesses, and industries through 125 miles of sewer pipeline and 14 pump stations to the Wastewater Treatment Facility located off West Beach Road. In March of 2009 the City began operating the newly constructed wastewater recycling facilities, and has been producing high quality irrigation water used for food crop irrigation.

Has your Local Section hit a similar home run? Let us know by sending an email to so that other leaders can learn from your success!



STAFF CONTACTS - 510-382-7800
  Staff Concierge: 
Lola Dvorak
Contact Lola if you need help and don't know who to contact.  



Latasha King x 110


Awards, Publications & Advertising
Lola Dvorak
  x 114


Local Sections & Committees

Chris Lundeen  x 104

Board Meetings

Victoria Rawson  x 113



Renu x 102



Merin Lund x 110
Teresa Montano x 100


Conferences & Exhibits

Serena Miller x 115

Leadership Reference Materials Online
Local Section Orientation Packet: 
Committee & Liaison Orientation Packet: 
Leadership Web Pages:

Leadership Calendar      





June 26 CWEA Leaders CWEA Northern Regional Committee Meeting Steve Caswell
June 27-28 CWEA Board of Directors CWEA Board Meeting Victoria Rawson
July 4 CWEA Members CWEA Office Closed  
July 24 CWEA Leaders CWEA Southern Regional Committee Meeting Megan Yoo
September 10 CWEA Board of Directors CWEA Board Meeting Victoria Rawson
September 10-12 CWEA Members 2013 Northern Regional Training Conference Julie Taylor
Full CWEA Event Calendar
Leader Link: Linking Local Sections, Committees, Board Liaisons, and Past Presidents
For more info contact us at