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John Huber is President and CEO of Louisville Water Co. (LWC), which provides water for residents of metropolitan Louisville, Ky. and its outlying counties. In the past 140 years, the LWC has grown from serving 512 customers to serving over 810,000 today. Huber oversees LWC’s operations as it draws drinking water from the vast reserves of the Ohio River and treats it at two locations.
With over three decades of experience, Huber has amassed a wealth of knowledge about the water industry. Part of this is due to his regular attendance at the American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference and Exposition (AWWA ACE).
Water & Wastes Digest recently spoke with Huber about his experiences at AWWA ACE and what he has planned for this year’s convention in Toronto, June 24 to 28.
WWD: How many years have you attended the AWWA ACE?
John Huber: I have attended most of the AWWA conferences since 1972.
WWD: What is your main reason for attending the event?
Huber: It’s a great learning opportunity, and it’s also a great opportunity to meet with my peers and talk about the issues that they’re facing and dealing with. There are many interesting and beneficial sessions on new technology and other topics related to running a successful water operation.
WWD: Which area of the AWWA ACE do you find most beneficial?
Huber: The exposition, I believe, is the real high point of the conference. It’s a chance to see what is going on with product development, who is active in the market, and what sort of new market entries are out there.
Also, I’ve been involved with a number of AWWA councils and committees over the years, and most of those meet at the annual conference also. This gives me a chance to meet with longtime colleagues from my professional organizations.
WWD: Do you incorporate information you acquire at the technical sessions into your everyday work?
Huber: Yes, certainly. There are always a number of new things on the horizon that we’re exploring, so the sessions are usually very helpful in that way. When looking ahead at the issues you should be considering for the future, the body of knowledge present at the AWWA ACE is unparalleled. It is really helpful in clarifying those issues.
WWD: Have you ever given a presentation at the convention?
Huber: Yes, I’ve given a number of them, although I don’t have a presentation planned for this year. In years past, I’ve talked about infrastructure renewal programs, water in the developing world, water industry competitiveness, best practices and benchmarking.
WWD: How much time during the AWWA ACE do you spend on the exhibition floor?
Huber: About 40% of my time is spent on the floor. If I could arrange the ideal schedule, I’d spend two to three hours a day on the expo floor, because I feel I learn the most walking around the main event.
WWD: Is there any particular product or service that you are interested in incorporating into your operation?
Huber: We’re looking at some processes that might include ozonation, so I might take a more in-depth look at some of the things going on with that technology.
WWD: Have you purchased and installed any of the equipment or technology that was demonstrated on the exhibition floor?
Huber: Yes, many times. We have a $70,000,000 capital improvement program, and the things we see on that floor are always a key part of that program.
WWD: Would you recommend the AWWA ACE to your peers, and if so, why?
Huber: I would certainly recommend it to my peers. Most utilities are local, and the AWWA ACE is a great way to get exposure to what is going on in the water industry across North America and across the world. In the number of years that I’ve been attending the conferences, they’ve certainly grown and evolved. There is much more involvement from all parties, many of the exhibits are larger, and there are a greater number of opportunities to learn.
AWWA ACE is the AWWA’s annual gathering of water professionals from around North America and the world. AWWA ACE07 will take place June 24 to 28 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Those interested in attending can view the event details—including session topics, exposition layout, and travel information—at the AWWA ACE07 website: www.awwa.org/ace07.