Monday, June 20, 2016

Letter from PNCWA President Shannon Ostendorff

Time flies when you are having fun, and the second quarter of this year flew by for me. One of my highlights this past quarter was a trip to Ontario, Oregon, for the Eastern Oregon Operator’s conference. I had a great time with this group. I encouraged attendees to get involved in PNCWA through participation in Operations Challenge, committee participation, attendance at the annual conference, and active participation in their section (hosting a facility tour, leading a training, etc.). 

I also had the opportunity to attend technical sessions,  participated in their “best tasting water” competition as a judge and received amazing hospitality from the conference hosts. Special thanks to Jeff Brown, Deb Cornford, Sue Lawrence and Carolyn Clemons for your warm welcome.

Another highlight of this quarter for me was our April in-person PNCWA board meeting and meeting with the committee chairs. It was so great to see all of our committee chairs and to hear about all of the activities the committees are doing. The two-day meeting highlighted the incredible work that is being done within our organization, and each committee presented on their committee accomplishments, goals, areas for collaboration, and committee needs.

Kelly Shephard from the Member Services Committee gave a presentation on the results of the membership survey conducted last fall, and Communications and Outreach Chair Karen DeBaker gave an update on the PNCWA website update process. There was time for a stroll to the local park and there may have also been a little karaoke involved. The meeting was fun and productive and it was great to see the level of increased community and engagement between committees and the board. These committees need your help. If you are looking for a way to get involved in PNCWA and to expand your professional network, please contact a committee chair. You can find their contact information on their committee website at

This past quarter I also traveled to the PNWS-AWWA conference in Boise, ID. I was able to attend their Board of Trustees meeting, learn about their plans and goals for this next year, and evaluate areas for potential collaboration. PNCWA hosted the book-end session of the Leadership Certificate program at the PNWS-AWWA conference. This workshop was organized by the PNCWA Leadership Development Committee. I was able to participate in this workshop as a speaker and felt the certificate program was very thoughtful, insightful and motivating. A huge thank-you to Mark Poling and the Leadership Development Committee for organizing, developing and delivering this pre-conference workshop, and the multiple sessions that have occurred as part of this program since kicking off at PNCWA2015. Another workshop is planned for the PNCWA2016 conference. I would highly recommend attending this pre-conference workshop if you have the opportunity.

Not only was the last quarter fun, but it was also productive. Together, your board and committees made significant progress and crossed multiple to-do’s off our 2016 work plan. A copy of this workplan is available for reference on the PNCWA website on the PNCWA Board page. Major work plan accomplishments of second quarter include: update and approval of four committee charters, development and implementation of committee chair training, Membership Committee strategic plan development, attendance at the Washington DC Fly-in by the Government Affairs Committee, planning of the second annual joint YP summit, significant work by PNCWA management and the Communication and Outreach Committee updating the PNCWA website, and the development of the 2017 member calendar. 

Thanks to the many of you who submitted photos for the calendar. Board members also helped host and attend the Idaho Operators’ Conference and Eastern Washington Operators’ conference. Special thanks also to this newsletter issue’s guest editor Rick Kelly, chair of the Emerging Technologies Committee, for sourcing the articles on the focus topics of innovative emerging technologies and sustainability.

As we head into summer, my excitement is growing steadily for our annual conference in October, hosted this year by my hometown of Bend, Oregon. This conference will be the last time PNCWA is hosted in Bend, and we plan to pull out all the stops. A few specific events I am especially excited for include our Saturday riparian planting service project, the Water For People and Scholarship Committees’ golf tournament,  the first Women’s Networking Luncheon and the First-time Attendee and New Member Meet & Greet. 

In addition to all of the fun activities, we also have an exciting technical program and tours planned for PNCWA2016. I especially want to thank Conference Chair, Brady Fuller, Technical Program Chair, Dan Laffitte, Pre-conference Workshop Chair Jeff Coyne, and Oregon Region Director Chris Miccolis for their help in planning what promises to be our best conference yet.

I hope you will come to PNCWA2016 this year and are able to utilize this year’s conference as an opportunity to get involved in PNCWA. We need your talents to help make our organization stronger. See you in October!



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