CWEA 2018 Annual Conference Highlights


One month ago CWEA held its Annual Conference in Sacramento to a record number of 1,628 attendees.

“We need to serve our communities – communities where we all live with our families. Stronger together means you can ask for help and it also means that you will find it.” – Debi Lewis CWEA Past President, Stantec

Chad Pregracke signs books after the Opening General Session

The conference kicked off with a high energy and inspirational opening session featuring Chad Pregracke of Living Lands and Waters. As the founder of America’s only “industrial strength” river clean-up organization, Chad Pregracke shared his story of growing up on the Mississippi river and how his river experiences led to his unique vision to clean up the Mississippi River and start an internationally recognized not-for-profit, Living Lands & Waters. CWEA also held its first Women Impacting Water breakfast meeting to a sold out group. It was an inspiring morning of networking and discussion with California water leaders, engineers, operators and scientists. Attendees participated in facilitated discussions on challenges, career development and ways to encourage more women to join the water profession, while enjoying a buffet breakfast.

You could feel the energy carry over into the rest of the week with the packed sessions, networking events, 90th birthday celebration and the buzzing exhibit floor. During the hustle and bustle of the Icebreaker, CWEA congratulated the 5S honorees on winning their 5S shovel.

As you may have heard, this is CWEA’s 90th year as an association! The Icebreaker had its very own Photobooth with a special guest appearance by Niles the WEFTEC Crocodile. Thank you Power Engineering for sponsoring this fun portion of our event. And you can’t have a party without the cake (and recycled water)! All attendees were treated to a very special 90th Year Celebration birthday cake with some delicious Orange County Water District recycled water from the Groundwater Replenishment System.

AC18 Photos

CWEA would like to extend a big “thank you” to Ddaze Phuong of Orange County Sanitation District and Ralph Palomares of El Toro Water District for their incredible talent of capturing these moments.

You can download the presentations from the conference here.  Be sure to check out some of the most popular sessions according to survey results from AC18:

  • Two Aspects of California’s TNI Standard: Lab Manual Update and QC History
  • Microscopic Evaluation of Activated Sludge
  • Take it to the Next Level: Elevate Your Collection System Asset Management Program
  • Introduction to Aquatic Toxicity Testing: Permits to Test Method Requirements
  • SSS WDRs Best Practices Workshop

The jam packed week ended on a high note with the voting in of the new CWEA Board during the Annual Business Meeting and the cheers and applause for all the deserving water professionals being awarded at the Annual Awards Celebration. More than 30 CWEA State award winners were recognized. The complete list of winners of CWEA and WEF awards given, including new 5S inductees can be found here. Thank you Chard Davisson from Ironhouse Sanitary District for sharing great tips on how and why it’s so important to gain recognition via the CWEA Awards. Ironhouse went home with three first place awards!

And to top that all off, thanks to the generous donations from Local Sections and collections from CWEA members during the week, almost $30,000 was raised for the Kirt Brooks Memorial Water Scholarship Fund!

Don’t take our word for it, here are what some attendees had to say about their experience…watch this video for a quick recap.

“I think the variety of topics and focus on all attendees (O&M, engineering, lab, designers) was great. It felt like a well rounded learning experience.” 2018 Conference Attendee

“The opening session was the best I have ever attended.” 2018 Conference Attendee

“Women Impacting Water breakfast. Thank you for adding this event!” 2018 Conference Attendee