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The Utility Management Conference™ 2014: Workshops  

Workshop A: WaterOpolis – The Value of Water Issues & Choices Utility Budgeting Simulation
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

WaterOpolis is a budgeting simulation board game that allows for a diverse group of perspectives to be considered and heard. WaterOpolis has been jointly developed by the NC School of Government and Raftelis Financial Consultants to provide utility organizations with a stakeholder engagement tool that demonstrates the complexity of addressing issues and making choices around the value of water for the communities being served. The primary intent of this workshop is to introduce participants to a unique stakeholder engagement tool which can be used by utility organizations to engage stakeholders.

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Workshop B: Effective Performance & Rewards Management: Keys To Increasing Workforce Effectiveness
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Defining, managing and rewarding employee performance effectively and appropriately contributes to the effectiveness of the workforce. In order for employees to be motivated to contribute their best efforts and to focus on making the utility successful they must believe they are treated fairly, competitively, and appropriately. Research shows that rewarding performance increases motivation, satisfaction, and internal alignment, which helps organizations get and keep the people they need. This workshop will provide three perspectives. First, the principles of effective performance and rewards management will be presented, along with examples of effective strategies. Then the stories of two utilities will be told: one operating with a separate board and one operating as a department within a major city. These stories are indicative of the experiences of most utilities pressure to do more with less and to control workforce costs without sacrificing performance.

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Workshop C: Integrating Life-Cycle Costs and Asset Management into the Procurement of Design-Build Delivery for Water and Wastewater Projects
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

The use of design-build as a delivery method for water and wastewater projects has continued to increased significantly over the past decade, primarily due to cost and schedule savings for both utility owners and municipalities. This workshop—developed specifically for utility managers, staff, and public officials—focuses on the critical factors to be considered in the procurement and use of design-build delivery. This workshop provides utility managers and officials with knowledge about how to work with personnel in developing the procurement documents to assure operation components such as life cycle costs, asset management, and risk are integrated. Attendees will also gain knowledge on factors to consider in the transition process for operations and maintenance.

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Workshop D: Branding Water Utilities for the 21st Century
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Water utilities have to change the way they do business and the way stakeholders perceive them to reflect the new realities of consumer expectations, a constrained economy, and ever-increasing environmental scrutiny. They must create a new “water experience.” In response, many wastewater treatment facilities are now recognizing their influent is full of raw materials and are grappling with how to transform and optimize themselves to become viable resource recovery facilities that will make waste into real-world, environmentally-friendly resources. This workshop will be an exercise in how to rebrand a utility and what that means both to the organization and its stakeholders.

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Workshop E: Asset Management Plus Sustainability: Creating Value from Aligning Two Powerful Utility Initiatives
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Asset management and sustainability (social, economic, and environmental) are most often undertaken as separate initiatives by the same utility, without realizing that the initiatives could be aligned and structured to support each other. As a result, most utilities engaged in these change initiatives fail to realize efficiencies, miss opportunities to improve allocation of staff and other resources, lose the chance to improve external communications with data collected from both efforts, or miss reaping additional cost savings. By exploring the alignment of AM and sustainability, the business case for doing so, and implementation strategies, this workshop will provide utility managers with several ways to strengthen utility performance over time.

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Workshop F: Critical Developments in Security & Preparedness for Utility Managers
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm

If Superstorm Sandy and related events demonstrated anything, it is that every utility must integrate security and preparedness into operational planning process. This is about maintaining mission continuity in an all-hazards environment, which begins with management commitment to making it a priority. This session builds on recent national homeland security priorities, sector priorities, and initiatives that all seek to enhance the security and preparedness of our infrastructure.

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Workshop G: High-Performing Information Systems Aligned With Utility Business Strategy
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm

The Water Research Foundation recently published a book addressing the alignment of high-performing information systems with utility business strategy (Web Report #436). This workshop will be a panel that will review the major concepts captured in the book and will focus on real-world examples illustrating the concepts resulting from the research effort. The discussion will be led by utility executives and industry leaders, and workshop participants will have an opportunity to contribute their own thoughts and experiences. Anticipated discussion areas include the case for business-IT alignment, aligning the leadership through IT governance, primary IT opportunities, and organization change management.

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Workshop H: Rate Approval Process Communication Strategy and Toolkit: A Working Workshop and Peer-to-Peer Exchange
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Water utilities across the country are enduring unprecedented fiscal and economic constraints for a multitude of reasons. Consequently, utilities have to find ways to raise revenues, most commonly from by increasing rates and fees. Water utilities have numerous key stakeholders that must be on board in order for rate increases to gain traction. Effective communication, many times, is the linchpin in securing rates needed to invest in the industry’s infrastructure. This half-day workshop will be structured as a forum for utility management professionals to learn about, discuss, and document rate approval processes. Workshop participants will be presented with a series of utility rate messaging strategies and communication frameworks (by presenters and utility partners). Real-time audience polling will be used to share impressions and perspectives on the effectiveness of different techniques.

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The Utility Management 2017 Conference
Tampa Marriott Waterside
Tampa, Florida
February 7-10, 2017

Water Innovation 2017
Sir Francis Drake Hotel
San Francisco, California
March 15-16, 2017

Design-Build for Water/Wastewater Conference 2017
Hilton Minneapolis 
Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN
March 29-31, 2017

Residuals and Biosolids 2017
Washington State Convention Center
Seattle, Washington
April 8-11, 2017

Collection Systems 2017
CenturyLink Center
Omaha, Nebraska
May 21-24, 2017

Nutrient Symposium 2017
Hyatt Regency 
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 
June 12-14, 2017

ICA 2017
Québec City Congress Center
Québec City, Canada
June 11-14, 2017

Intensification of Resource Recovery (IR2) Forum 2017
Manhattan College
New York
August 10-12, 2017