CWEA Leader Link- July 2012
California Water Environment Association                                                                                               July  2012
Leader Link

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

In This Issue:

Make Membership Fun and Interactive

Board Approves FY12-13 Budget and Program of Work

Membership and Certification Pricing Changes

AMS Update

New FY 12-13 Initiative: Certification Prep Sessions

Promote Workplace Winners

Regional Committees to Develop Quarter Century Recognition Program

Staff Contacts

Leadership Calendar

Make Membership Fun and Interactive
Sure, we're all in it for the great training, certification and professional networking opportunities. But CWEA members also know how to have fun. What do you bring to your meetings to get folks excited about belonging to your local section? Member engagement - particularily during the first year or two of membership - is critical to keeping your chapter strong.

Check out the Los Angeles Basin Section's (LABS) 100 Years of Sewer Cinema Celebration Contest. Could your section try something new like this to engage members who don't typically come to your meetings? Once it grabs their attention, perhaps they'll want to meet other movie buffs and get more involved.

Details below from LABS President, Alec Mackie:

Here’s one just for fun - we've had a great suggestion to host a movie contest - which LABS member can name the most movies with a scene(s) that takes place in a sewer? The LA Basin is home to Hollywood after all and our members know lots of things. Seen the latest Spider-Man? Batman? Snow White? Hollywood is obsessed with setting scenes down below in the sewers.

So, how many sewer movies can you name? When you've got your list ready, enter here:

Top prize is a $200 gift card donated by MISCO water. Contest ends Oct 31, 2012 and the winner is announced at our January Awards Banquet, likely a Hollywood theme.

May the best movie watching sewer professional win!

Our thanks to Ross Caballero for the idea and for serving as a judge, to Patrick Griffith for serving as a judge and to Chris McCampbell at MISCO Water for sponsoring the contest. Decisions of the judges are final.

You might not be able to roll out the red carpet in Hollywood like LABS, but you might still consider a similar contest or survey. Free or low-cost online services have made informal surveying a useful method to receive member feedback. Surveys can help you best represent the needs, concern and interests of members. They also show members that you want their feedback and ensure that member voices are heard. Even if a member cannot make your meetings, they can interact with your chapter through a quick online poll or survey.

The service LAB uses - Survey Monkey - offers four plans that range from $0 to $65 per month. You might also try using Zoomerang, another commonly-used service.

Let us know if you've found another way to keep your local section energized and active. We'll share your success story in a future Leader Link.


Board Approves FY12-13 Budget and Program of Work
On June 30th, the Board approved CWEA’s FY 12-13 budget to continue to fulfill our core mission to train and certify water environment professionals. Our FY 12-13 budget maintains our core programs and member benefits with the first dues increase since 2008 and keeps other fees affordable. You’ll continue to see the membership benefits that have fueled CWEA’s growth into the largest state association of water environment professionals in the country. We’re planning to build upon the strength of our more than 9,200 members to reach out to others in our profession and grow even stronger together.The Board also approved budgets for local sections and committees. See our budget storyboard.


First Member Dues Increase ($8) Since 2008. Conference Fees Stay the Same. Certification Application Fees go up $5 and Renewal Fees go up $2
With every budget, the Board looks at the pricing of all of the products and services that CWEA provides – to both members and nonmembers – taking into account CWEA’s need for sustainability and as well as our fiscal realities. This year, the Board couldn’t delay another year and raised dues for the first time since 2008 by $8 (6%). See the dues storyboard for more detail and context.

In order to cover ongoing revalidation costs to keep certification tests job-related and defensible, we are in our third year of modest certification fee increases over four years that the Board approved in June 2010. FY 12-13 raises certification application fees by $5 and renewal fees by $2. The Board continues to invest into the program from the Project Fund to minimize the impact of fee increases on our certificate-holders.

Certification FY 12-13 Application Fee – CWEA Member Price
(non-members add $140)

Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4





Certification FY 12-13 Renewal Fee – CWEA Member Price
(non-members add $140)

Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4






AMS Update
You’ve been hearing a lot about the work we’re doing to replace our Association Management System (AMS) and we’re pleased to tell you that you’ll be hearing a lot more. The next 12-15 months will be an exciting as we begin replacing our outdated infrastructure and building the foundation for the future.

Our (AMS) consultant conducted interviews with all staff members as well as with representatives from three local sections (small, medium, large) and the Tri-State Seminar Committee to develop an assessment of our existing and emerging operational needs. After this analysis, the Consultant developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) with 300+ requirements and sent out it out across the information technology spectrum. We received four proposals ranging in cost from $214k to $700k, with estimated ongoing annual costs ranging from about $51k to $99k. With the help of our AMS Consultant, staff narrowed our focus to two frontrunners that best met our needs with the most reasonable price tag and strongest track records. Two companies presented full-day overviews of their systems to our staff, and Avectra was chosen with unanimous enthusiasm.

Replacing our Association Management System is budgeted to cost $380,000 for implementation in FY 12-13. In the years following implementation we have budgeted $54,000 in annual licensing fees to maintain the AMS and $30,000 per year in staff/consulting support to help us use the system to its fullest extent. We’ve saved for the new AMS implementation in our Project Fund – just as you would save for a capital improvement project – and are ready to make this critical investment for CWEA. That means we’ll be able to better serve our existing members and be poised for growth with our new AMS and ready to take CWEA into the future. Avectra has just completed a week of staff interviews to start configuring our new system. We expect the  AMS to be fully functional over the summer/fall of 2013, after we’ve passed our peak spring training window. We’re taking the time to set up a system that will meet our needs and are avoiding high-use periods so we can ensure the best customer service possible during the transition. Take a look at the AMS storyboard and its companion Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

New FY 12-13 Initiative: Certification Prep Sessions
The FY 12-13 program of work includes expanded certification prep sessions across the state to help guide applicants though a series of steps needed for exam success, and investing in revalidating the Electrical/Instrumentation certification tests to keep our certification program up-to- date with workplace advancements.

To support our members as they prepare for CWEA’s certification exams, we’ll be dedicating more volunteer and staff resources to certification prep in FY 12-13. The Training Coordination Committee (TCC), the Certification Prep Task Force (CPTF) and CWEA staff will provide support to the CWEA Local Sections identified by the Southern and Northern Regional Committees (SRC and NRC) as responsible for running official cert prep sessions. The project includes:

  • clarifying and communicating the purpose of a cert prep session (particularly distinguishing it from a training session on how to perform the skills tested)
  • developing and communicating an agenda and learning objectives for cert prep sessions
  • assisting the Local Section to find moderators, developing marketing & flyers, promoting events by e-mail, handling registration (online registration will be offered and credit cards accepted), and providing event badges/sign in sheets, with online surveys after the sessions we’ll return 100% of the registration fees collected at the State level to the CWEA Local Sections after each event.
  • For FY12-13 we plan to support 3 sessions in CWEA’s southern region and 3 sessions in our northern region, with locations to be determined by the SRC and NRC.
While everyone would love to sign up and just take a test to become certified, we all know that it takes a lot more time and effort. With new people coming into our field every day, we thought it was a great time to start communicating more clearly how to prepare for a CWEA certification exam. In FY12-13, CWEA will develop and communicate to our members and applicants how they can better prepare for certification before they even apply to take the test. We’ll be relying on our leaders to help share the message, look for more info in the coming months.

Promote Workplace Winners
Celebrate great work in the water environment field by participating in the CWEA awards program. Awards forms for 2012 are available online. 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.

See how the Sacramento Area Section is promoting the value of CWEA's awards program below.

Dear CWEA SAS members,

Award nominations for the CWEA Sacramento Area Section are due October 22, 2012.
More information on the section awards is available in the attached flyer. Applying for an award is time well spent. Participating in the CWEA SAS awards program benefits for your people, work processes, and profession, in the following ways:

• Acknowledges team and individual excellence.
• Boosts employee morale and agency pride.
• Celebrates and recognizes good work.
• Attracts and retains talent.
• Adds a vote of confidence for new hires.

Work Processes
• Benchmarks accomplishments in the field.
• Analyzes 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.
• Reinforces agency and industry direction. Adds credibility to claims of excellence in regards to environmental record, public health or employee safety, among many others.

Award winners will be presented at the CWEA Sacramento Area Section Awards Banquet and local section winners advance to the state competition.

Questions? Please contact Dianne Lee at 530.756.5905.

Regional Committees to Develop Quarter Century Recognition Program
CWEA’s Regional Committees (NRC and SRC) are a forum for Local Section and State Committee communication and collaboration. The Board gave the Regional Committees the authority to develop a quarter century recognition program, which has been generating a swell of grassroots excitement over the last several months. The program will be loosely modeled after WEF’s Quarter Century Award, which recognizes people with 25 years of service to the water environment field. Come to your Regional Committee Meeting to get involved and help move this exciting project forward. See calendar below for dates and contacts.

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 Pal x 102



Teresa Montano x 100


Conferences & Exhibits

Julie Taylor x 103

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

Leadership Calendar      





September 12 CWEA Board of Directors CWEA Board Meeting Victoria Rawson
September 12 CWEA Leaders CWEA Northern Regional Committee Meeting David Stoops
September 12-14 CWEA Members 2012 Northern Regional Training Conference Julie Taylor
October 24 CWEA Members Northern Safety Day Julie Taylor
November 7 CWEA Leaders CWEA Southern Regional Committee Meeting Barbara Langley
November 22-23 CWEA Members CWEA Ofiice Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday  
December 24-25 CWEA Members CWEA Ofiice Closed for Christmas Holiday  
January 1 CWEA Members CWEA Ofiice Closed for New Years Holiday  
January 24 CWEA Leaders CWEA Southern Regional Committee Meeting Barbara Langley
January 25 & 26 CWEA Board of Directors CWEA Board Meeting Victoria Rawson
February 25-27 CWEA Members P3S 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