Luke Williams to Deliver Keynote Address at WEFTEC 2014
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Water Environment Federation
Luke Williams WEFTEC 2014 opening general session

The opening session will kick off the Water Environment Federation’s 87th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference on Sept. 29

Luke Williams, a best-selling author and globally recognized authority on innovation leadership, will deliver the keynote address during the Opening General Session of WEFTEC 2014 this fall in New Orleans. The opening session will kick off the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) 87th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference, a five-day event that is expected to draw thousands of water quality professionals and exhibitors to the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Sept. 27 to Oct. 1.

Williams is the author of Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business; a professor of innovation and executive director of the Berkley Entrepreneurship Center at New York University’s Stern School of Business; and a fellow at frog, one of the world’s most influential innovation companies. His opening session keynote will help water professionals learn how to thrive in an era of constant change by encouraging a new approach to innovation leadership that goes against conventional wisdom in favor of counterintuitive ideas and solutions that can more efficiently and sustainably address evolving, and often unpredictable, water management challenges.

"The water industry is in the midst of a sea change that over the next several decades will bring increases in population, urbanization and waste loads that will be complicated by the dramatic effects of climate change,” said WEF President Sandra Ralston. “All of these factors will make it difficult to achieve success unless we embrace a new paradigm for water. WEF is fortunate to have a diverse membership that represents the connected water industry—used water, storm water, and water reuse—which makes us well-positioned to adopt a new integrated model that will sustain our shared environmental mission.”

Ralston will help frame the program theme of “Embracing Change in a Disruptive Age” by highlighting some of WEF’s own efforts to adopt this progressive business model such as seeking out cross-sector collaboration with non-traditional partners and spearheading a cultural shift to recognize wastewater treatment not as waste disposal but as resource recovery that produces clean water, reusable byproducts and renewable energy.

“Luke’s message about innovative leadership is perfectly timed with the technical programming and events we have planned for WEFTEC 2014,” Ralston said. “We encourage every water professional, from all segments of the profession, to come to New Orleans in September and take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to explore how we can use disruptive changes to form new business models and new relationships with our stakeholders.”

Also expected at the Opening General Session will be remarks from New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (invited) and recognition of the Water Environment Research Foundation’s 25th anniversary.

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