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April 23, 2015


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Spring is finally here after a long, cold winter. We associate Spring time with new growth and renewal. Spring is also conference season...which is also a time for new growth and renewal.  

As I write this, we are just wrapping up another successful WEAO conference in Toronto. I have several more events to attend in the next two months including the OWWA in Toronto, BCWWA in Kelowna and the Canadian Water Summit in Vancouver. I find these conferences are truly a time of personal growth and renewal; a time for inspiration.  

I know that many communities are facing financial challenges and their budgets are constrained. Conferences can be an easy target for a budget cut. But conferences need to be seen as an investment in your greatest resources. Like your infrastructure or your computers, you try to buy the best and start out with equipment that works right away. But you need to do regular maintenance and make occasional upgrades - the same is true for staff. Yes, you expect a new employee to come to you educated and ready to work, but they all need regular refreshers or retraining to stay abreast of the changes in our industry. We also network. Networking may look like a social event on the surface, but I can attest that everyone talks shop (almost) all of the time. Networking is about learning from others, learning about different ways of doing what we do. Often, networking doesn't provide immediate learning, but when you’re back at work and facing a challenge, you now have a few professional friends to call for advice.

Learning opportunities continue into the Fall with WCW, Réseau and ACWWA events, ending with our first National Water and Wastewater Conference in Whistler. I do hope to see you at one of these events. Feel free to show this article to your boss to seek permission! Good luck and keep learning!


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