CWEA’s Commitment to Professional Excellence Remains Resolute


I have always been fascinated by the wonders and intricacies of the past. I find myself captivated by stories of great leaders and significant events, humanity’s struggles, triumphs, and remarkable achievements. History has always provided a refuge for me in a fast-paced and ever-changing world, grounding me and helping me understand not only where we came from, but guiding me through valuable lessons that can illuminate the path towards the future.

Chuck Greely, CWEA President 2023-24, Dudek

Being a history buff has its positives: I’m pretty darn good at Jeopardy, and an excellent teammate for trivia night at your local watering hole. I’m also killer at Trivial Pursuit! There are also negatives according to my kids: they aren’t so keen on dad forcing stops at all the unique (okay, some are pretty obscure) museums and historical points of interest on road trips.

As I sit down to compose this message to accompany our annual Member Value Report, I find myself contemplating the history of professional memberships organizations. Did you know that the history of trade associations has roots in medieval Europe? As commerce and trade flourished, merchants and artisans began to organize themselves into formal groups to protect their collective interests and promote their business. These early associations, known as guilds, established regulations, set quality standards, and controlled the entry of new members into their respective trades.

Professional associations, similarly, have a rich history that can be traced back to the 18th and 19th centuries. As industrialization took hold and specialized fields emerged, professionals sought to standardize qualifications, establish ethical guidelines, and promote their industry.

The first professional associations were primarily focused on fields such as law, medicine, and engineering. These associations played a vital role in shaping and elevating professional standards, facilitating knowledge exchange, and fostering collaboration.

Today, the number of associations exceeds 90,000 according to the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE.) Our very own Executive Director, Jenn Jones, has served on the California Chapter Board, and was recently awarded the Association Executive of the Year.

The California Sewage Works Association (CSWA, now CWEA) was officially established on June 11th, 1928, at a meeting of California’s leading wastewater experts with the following resolution: “Resolved that there be formed in the State of California an organization to be known as the California Sewage Works Association whose objects shall be the advancement of the knowledge design, construction, operation and management of sewage works and the friendly exchange of information and experience therein.”

Of course, there is a robust and fascinating description of our association at


Today, professional associations, including CWEA, have evolved and continue to serve as invaluable platforms for networking, continuing education, and advocating for the interests of members while promoting the advancement and recognition of the profession.

As we gaze into the future, will CWEA’s future Member Value Reports mirror the lessons of the past? How do we envision tailoring our training, educational initiatives, certifications, networking, and advocacy endeavors to navigate the dynamic landscape of the wastewater industry? Anticipating the far-reaching effects of technological advancements on our roles and responsibilities, how will the infusion of AI into our routines reshape our profession and daily lives?

Furthermore, in the face of the escalating cadence of climate change and dwindling water supplies, what implications will these challenges bear on our sector? These are queries I eagerly anticipate delving into during our upcoming Annual Conference, characterized by this year’s theme: ‘Mission Possible: Crafting a Sustainable Water Future Against All Odds.’

Our commitment to augmenting and championing the welfare of our membership, broadening access to knowledge and training reservoirs, and upholding a certification program that spotlights California’s wastewater professionals as the crème de la crème of the industry, remains resolute!