May 01, 2018

Seeking Certainty

Bob Crossen writes on cultivating young talent in the water industry

Fresh off Water Week in Washington, D.C., following the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn. (WWEMA) Washington Forum in mid April, the industry still does not have a complete view of the infrastructure picture. The current administration is bogged down by international diplomacy and other controversies, the magnitude of which are up for debate.

Regardless, the media cycle has not aided President Donald J. Trump in getting an infrastructure bill passed in full, and with midterm elections looming, it seems unlikely one will be completed and passed before November—or so the experts in Washington are saying. That could all change on a dime, however, and that’s the real crux of the problem: uncertainty abounds.

It is uncertain when funding will come. It is uncertain how much funding there will be. It is uncertain what the available formats and financing options will be when things are finally settled. But despite that, there is economic optimism.

During his presentation at the WWEMA Washington Forum, Anirban Basu, Sage Policy Group economist, talked about the long term trends in the U.S. economy. Since September of last year, the overall economic picture of America has trended upward. Despite what you hear from the doomsday pundits on national news, individual citizens and families feel they are in a good place.

Most interesting from his presentation, however, is that the most common age for people in the U.S. is 26. That’s right, the mode age for an American is 26 years old. The second greatest mode? 27. Third? 25. Now is the time to invest in youthful talent, which is convenient for WWD, as this issue highlights 11 Young Professionals under the age of 40 starting on page 28.

It is no secret the water and wastewater industries are aging, with many professionals looking at retirement in the next decade. If the industry is to survive, advance and grow, it is critical to bring these young people into the fold. 

They are dynamic and well-educated with an innate understanding of social media and how to bring attention to themselves through those channels. Those are skills that can be translated to you and your positions. These young people want to be champions of the industry and will show why they are if given the chance. They are ambitious, driven and eager to make the world a better place.

Take them in. Mentor them. Show them how water and wastewater facilities are taken for granted. Give them purpose.

A little guidance can go a long way. 

About the author

Bob Crossen is managing editor for WWD. Crossen can be reached at [email protected]

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