Oct 11, 2010

Black & Veatch Discusses Economic Pressures with Industry Leaders During WEFTEC

Roundtable launches second annual thought leadership series

More than 30 participants, journalists and observers from around the world participated in Black & Veatch’s second annual roundtable series on Oct. 5 during WEFTEC.10, the Water Environment Federation’s 83rd annual technical exhibition and conference in New Orleans. Fifteen global leaders in the water and wastewater industry met to discuss how they are dealing with a wide range of economic pressures and how they are overcoming the hurdles and capitalizing on the opportunities that this challenging global economy presents.

Dan McCarthy, president and CEO of Black & Veatch’s global water business, hosted the session, and Cindy Wallis-Lage, senior vice president and executive managing director of technical solutions, moderated the “Economic Pressures” roundtable discussion.

The 15 roundtable participants came from the United States, Australia and Singapore, and represented a wide range of utility leaders, consultants, industry association representatives and technology specialists.

Now is the time, participants said, to speak with one voice across the industry so that regulators, politicians, community stakeholders and consumers all hear the same message, even if it is then tailored to the specific field of water, wastewater or storm water.

Panelists pointed out the benefits of strong partnerships in these tough economic times and cited best-practice examples for regional, cross-utility, intra-industry and cross-industry collaboration.

Some of the ideas for overcoming the hurdles caused by economic pressures included concrete suggestions about how to increase revenues, how to save money on operations and how to save money by being “greener.”

Utilities can leverage their increased revenue streams and cost reductions to attract private capital, participants pointed out. Presenting robust data and forward-thinking asset management plans will help utility leaders build a clear business case to show consumers, regulators and investors the economic value of their investment in water infrastructure.

Following the 90-minute luncheon session, journalists had an opportunity to discuss these topics one-on-one with the leaders.

Black & Veatch plans to hold five more dialogue sessions globally as part of its economic pressures roundtable. The next U.S. discussion will be on Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the American Water Summit.