Associations: Information Clarifiers
They say information is power, but in today’s world, we have access to almost too much information.
I just typed the word “water” into Google, and it returned 2.47 billion results. “Wastewater” gave me 29.2 million. That’s a lot of information, and anyone trying to research today’s top water and wastewater industry challenges, trends and best practices could waste a considerable amount of time using this method.
What business owners and managers in our industry need is an information treatment system—a process that removes the “waste” and delivers a product they can use to better understand the regulatory and market forces affecting their companies.
The many fantastic publications we have in this industry serve as a great first step—as screens and grit removers, if you will. They filter information, reporting only on what is new and relevant. They track trends and keep their readers up-to-date on the latest water and wastewater news.
Often, that isn’t enough. For those who want to harness this information and understand how it relates specifically to their businesses, another step is needed. This is where industry associations come in. They serve as information clarifiers, giving context to the information and showing members how they can use it, providing “next steps” to keep them ahead of what is being reported so they know what is coming down the pike (or perhaps I should say, pipe).
WWEMA does this for its members in a variety of ways, including through its bimonthly newsletter, e-mail bulletins, membership councils and committee work, as well as through its Annual Meeting and Washington Forum.
This year’s WWEMA Annual Meeting—Nov. 14 to 16 at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida—offers an excellent example of “clarification” in action. It will include a presentation by Tracy Mehan of The Cadmus Group, who will share the results of original research commissioned by WWEMA regarding the countervailing trends impacting investments and spending by utilities in water infrastructure and treatment, including the economic, political, regulatory and technical aspects of the problem. Also presenting will be economic forecaster Sean Snaith, Ph.D.; WateReuse Association Executive Director Wade Miller; Ernst & Young researcher John M. deYonge; and numerous other industry experts and executives who will help clarify the current market and point the way to future success.
Dawn Kristof Champney is president of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn., a Washington, D.C.-based trade organization that has represented the interests of manufacturers serving the water supply and wastewater treatment industry since 1908. Kristof Champney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.