The Water Environment Federation (WEF) announced that the Opening General Session (OGS) for WEFTEC 2017, WEF's 90th annual technical exhibition and conference, will feature a new format that combines the traditional opening program with the popular Great Water Cities Session.
Today’s water sector reflects a diverse group of people who work together to protect public health, the environment, and our economy by recovering valuable resources and providing reliable access to clean water. They are forward-thinking leaders who share a dedication to securing a resilient water legacy by re-thinking how we manage, nurture, and develop our current and future assets—physical, financial and human resources.
Building on the #MyWaterLegacy campaign that was launched at WEFTEC 2016, this year’s program will focus on the importance of mentorship with ties to workforce development, leadership and innovation. The new and improved OGS will celebrate 90 years of WEFTEC and the accomplishments of the water sector while challenging and inspiring attendees to be creative, adaptable, and influential water leaders of the future.
Featuring WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill and 2016 to 2017 WEF President Rick Warner, the program will include a keynote address from STEM educator Fredi Lajvardi and a series of informal "WEFTalks" representing different segments of the water profession.
Lajvardi has directly and indirectly guided people into science-based careers by using his personal story to illustrate the need to embrace innovation and diversity while showcasing the societal rewards of investing in others to help them realize their full potential.
Moderated by Tom Ferguson, vice president of programming for Imagine H20, the WEFTalks portion of the program adapts an aspect of the Great Water Cities dialogue series by giving water professionals the opportunity to learn directly from their peers.
Tying into Lajvardi’s big picture message, attendees will hear a series of testimonials about what led their colleagues into the water sector and the ways in which they have benefited from mentorship—both as a mentor and as a protégé—and how to join their efforts to create and support a diverse and unified water workforce.
Source: Water Environment Federation