Below is an article written by Drew Thompson, P.E., a senior project manager at Wessler, that was published in The Digester ( Vol. 13, No. 2, Summer 2018) - the official publication of the Indiana Water Environment Association (IWEA).
Part of the Indiana Water Environment Association’s mission is “educating our members”, which we strive to accomplish by offering a variety of articles within the Digester, periodic seminars, and the Annual Conference. Similarly, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) “provides technical education and training for thousands of water quality professionals who clean water and return it safely to the environment.” Through its affiliations with Member Associations like IWEA, WEF extends their educational options to magazines, journals, books, newsletters, proceedings, & conferences, particularly the annual WEFTEC conference.
Last year, WEF added to their resources by starting a podcast called “Words On Water”. Podcasts are, basically, a recorded conversation about a topic that people can listen to through their computers, digital media players, or phones. Podcasts about music, entertainment, space, and sports routinely find their way onto my phone to help ease my daily commute. Now that I’ve added “Words On Water” to my podcast rotation, I don’t just have wastewater on the brain, but wastewater in my ears too.
While podcast topics are as diverse as there are people, WEF’s podcast is specific to the water sector. WEF’s press release for the podcast describe it as a “podcast series [that] features unique perspectives from those on the forefront of water issues. Episodes explore the topics of infrastructure, innovation and technology, resource recovery, workforce management and development, research, and public awareness.”
Travis Loop, WEF’s Senior Director of Communications and Public Outreach, hosts “Words On Water” by sitting down with people who work in the water sector and having a conversation about a variety of topics. Some of the guests and conversations so far included:
- Jenny Hartfelder (President of the Board of Trustees for WEF) about the importance of mentorship;
- Phillipe Cousteau (grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau) about the importance of education;
- Andrew Sawyers (Director of the Office of Wastewater Management at USEPA) about infrastructure finance;
- Jennifer Walsh (senior principal engineer with Hazen and Sawyer) about being a millennial in the water sector; and
- Melissa Pomales (Water Program Management Leader for Arcadis) about Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria.
That’s just a handful of the dozens of “Words On Water” conversations WEF has produced that would have been impossible for me to hear otherwise. We can’t listen in on every conversation that takes place at WEFTEC or other industry-specific seminars and conferences around the country. However, WEF’s “Words On Water” podcast allows us to hear about the topics and concerns people around the country are having within our industry from their own voice. In the span of a daily commute, we can hear the full answers to the questions being asked rather than the sound bites so prevalent today.
If you’re looking for a way to learn more about the water sector beyond just what we’re seeing here in Indiana, I highly recommend giving “Words On Water” a listen.