— which will be held Oct. 5–9 in Chicago — is known for being the largest North
American event of its kind. It draws more than 17,000 attendees each year. This
year’s technical program will be one of the most comprehensive ever, offering
26 hands-on workshops, more than 140 sessions, and 10 facility tours. The
exhibition will feature an estimated 1000 companies occupying more than 27,870 m2
(300,000 ft2) of space on the show floor. This year’s WEFTEC also
features a number of new and enhanced events.
One of the most notable additions is the new
Stormwater Congress, which offers topic-specific programming running in tandem
with WEFTEC technical sessions, as well as the Stormwater Pavilion on the
exhibit floor. While the majority of Congress programming will be held at the
attached Hyatt Regency McCormick to foster networking opportunities within this
growing part of the water sector, the intent is to provide an enriched learning
experience for attendees, no matter which event they register for officially.
WEFTEC registrants are encouraged to attend Stormwater Congress sessions and
exhibits, and vice versa.
The Innovation Pavilion, which debuted last
year, will showcase finalists and winners of the WEF Operator Ingenuity
Contest, the Imagine H2O Water Innovation Prize, and the 2013 BlueTech Forum
Showcase; as well as programs and discussions in the Pavilion theater.
Innovation and creativity will be prominent
at WEFTEC, from the Opening General Session keynote address (see story, p. 36)
to the variety of learning formats (see story, p. 28).
The WEFTEC 2013 preview begins on p. 28. For
more details or to register, see www.weftec.org.
— The Editors
out from behind the podium
year’s WEFTEC® offers numerous opportunities for attendees to share
information, ideas, and innovation in less formal, more discussion-driven ways.
From more mobile technical sessions on the
exhibit floor to focused forums on such topics as collection systems and
municipal wastewater design, WEFTEC 2013 presents several opportunities to
break down the wall between audience and presenter to encourage the flow of
information and exchange of ideas in less structured environments.
“It’s not your grandfather’s WEFTEC,” said
Susan Merther, Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) director of
technical programs. “There will still be 30-minute presentations, but the
biggest difference this year is a lot more panel discussions that are
the new and innovative
One discussion panel grew out of the previous
WEFTEC in 2012. Merther said one attendee was intrigued by a session on using
algae for nutrient removal and wanted to hold a workshop for his utility. This
turned into a series of panel discussions this year on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
“This was a different
way of looking at how a session is put together,” Merther said.
Merther said she and other WEF staff wanted
to develop this “forum type of concept … that is meant to be where people can
discuss a topic, what’s going on. So, we can foster innovation, not just a
presentation where people ask a question or two.”
Christine Radke, WEF program manager, shares
the goal of encouraging innovation. Radke says two technical committees are
holding meetings at WEFTEC that will be structured differently to open up
“[This year] they are not using meetings for
just committee business,” Radke said. “Members will be able to talk about what
they want to talk about.”
For example, Radke said, on the agenda of the
Municipal Wastewater Design Committee meeting are biofilm technologies,
modeling from a design and operations perspective, waste characterization, and
a “potpourri” topic that attendees can determine.
Similarly, the Collection Systems Committee
meeting on Sunday will conduct committee business for the first half of the
meeting and switch to a technical forum in the second half. Last year, the
group talked about infiltration/inflow strategies and the latest rehab
techniques and invited a member of the Water Environment Research Foundation
(Alexandria, Va.) to discuss relevant research.
Although these meetings are intended for
committee members, they are open to everyone, Radke said. “We encourage
noncommittee members to attend,” she said. “Committee meetings in general are a
great way to network — especially for those who feel WEFTEC may be too big to
connect with others who share similar jobs — in a more contained environment.”
Radke said the meeting technical forums are
one step in “a new way of doing committee business” that helps committee
volunteers gain more from their efforts.
“A survey of WEF members asked why they
volunteer, and most said that networking is [the] primary reason,” Radke said.
“We try to make sure members have time to share experiences, get to know other
people, and network.”
Ideas abound in
WEFTEC 2013 also offers presentations in two
pavilions, housed on the exhibit floor. “These are different from the technical
sessions,” Merther said. “They are shorter, briefer, and offer a different way
of looking at things.“
The Innovation Pavilion will feature
companies that won this year’s WEF innovation awards and awards from WEF partners
Blue Tech Research (Vancouver, B.C.) and Imagine H2O (San Francisco).
One highlight of the Innovation Pavilion will
be presentations by the winners of the Operator Ingenuity Contest, currently in
its second year.
“We know that innovation is not just big
research,” Radke said. “Operators often find a way to solve problems every day,
and we see that’s innovation as well.”
Merther said contest participation was
“phenomenal” this year, with about 70 entries, which were whittled down to 18
finalists by the WEF Operations and Maintenance Committee. The 10 winning
entries, one for each category, will be featured at the Innovation Pavilion.
Winning entries from last year included an
extension to a ladder that enabled operators to enter a manhole safely without
the need to renovate the entrance. Another was an electronic fish finder that
was modified to view sewer blockages in areas where other equipment couldn’t
“These are the fun things at WEFTEC,” Radke
said. “They’re not necessarily what you would see in a technical session.”
On the move at
In Chicago, attendees can also choose from
numerous mobile sessions on such topics as large-diameter pipe rehabilitation,
and thickening and dewatering technologies and strategies.
“We recognized that a lot of exhibitors bring
their best technical experts to WEFTEC,” Merther said, “but trying to get them
to leave their booths was difficult to make presentations. So, instead of
pulling these experts out of the exhibit, we have people going to them,” she
After an overview presentation, the session
takes attendees from booth to booth. The popular mobile sessions started 2
years ago in Los Angeles at WEFTEC 2011, then expanded to four last year. This
year, 12 mobile sessions are being offered.
Special exhibitor sessions, similar to
technical sessions, also are returning this year, Merther said. These two
sessions focus on a specific topic, such as stormwater or dewatering, with
exhibitors speaking about their products and techniques.
In addition, some poster sessions will be
more interactive. Poster presenters had an option this year of providing
information in a medium other than a two-dimensional poster, Merther said.
“Doing a dynamic poster is a new way to learn, and there will be a couple of
kiosks where people can learn from them,” she said. In all, there will be 20
digital posters at WEFTEC this year.
— Cathy Chang,
ideas and know-how
2013 will feature three select speakers from the wastewater treatment field
addition to innovative programming during technical sessions and showcasing new
technology on the exhibit floor, WEFTEC® 2013 in Chicago also will
feature speakers who are the leaders in their field from utilities and
Session 201, a lecture sponsored by the
Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP; West
Chapel, Fla.), will feature John Novak, emeritus professor of civil and
environmental engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University (Blacksburg, Va.). Novak has conducted research in bioremediation,
water and wastewater treatment, solids treatment, and solid waste management.
He received the Simon Freeze Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers
(Reston, Va.), the Frederick G. Pohland Award from AEESP, and the Ralph Fuhrman
Medal from the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.).
AEESP also is offering with WEF the
Scientists’ Luncheon, a ticketed event that will feature Krishna Pagilla, a
professor of environmental engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology
(Chicago), who is considered an expert in the fields of water quality,
water/wastewater treatment, and water reuse. According to the institute’s
website, Pagilla’s current research is in “developing sustainable technologies
for nitrogen and phosphorus control/recovery, bacterial hemoglobin technology
for wastewater treatment and biofuel production, reactive filtration to prevent
lake water pollution, and advancing anaerobic sludge digestion for energy
production.” He also teaches courses in physicochemical and biochemical
processes for water and wastewater treatment, design of water resource recovery
facilities, environmental modeling, and the chemical and biological aspects of
environmental engineering. During the AEESP/WEF luncheon, he will discuss low
dissolved-oxygen nitrification by bacterial “sherpas.”
Kevin Fitzpatrick, supervising engineer at
the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, will be sharing
his industry know-how at the Collection Systems Luncheon, another ticketed
event. In addition to spending 3 years as an engineering consultant, designing
drinking water and wastewater facilities, Fitzpatrick spent 2 years at the
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in the maintenance and operations
department before serving in the engineering department. He later moved on to
his current position, in which he oversees engineering for all the district’s
collection facilities projects and intercepting sewer rehabilitation work.
a new team with a vision of education, experience, and networking
Operations Challenge competitors experience camaraderie that crosses local and
constraints lead to travel restrictions, and water resource recovery facilities
have to do more work with fewer resources. In Nevada, this meant that forming
teams to send to Operations Challenge competitions fell off the agenda.
But this year, Nevada Water Environment
Association (NWEA; Reno) leaders and local operators adopted a mission to form
and send teams to a regional competition. The Water Environment Association of
Utah (WEAU; Salt Lake City) hosts an Operations Challenge competition at its
annual conference. Because NWEA planned to host a joint conference with WEAU in
Utah this year, it provided the perfect opportunity for Nevada to return to the
competition after a 10-year hiatus.
about the competition spreads
When Greg Turner, professional wastewater
operator representative for NWEA, learned about the joint conference, he and
other NWEA leaders started to talk to Nevada facilities about forming teams.
NWEA was able to gain support from the North Las Vegas, Las Vegas, City of
Henderson, and Clark County, Nev., facilities to form two teams, Endangered
Feces and Fecal Matters.
To enable teams to share equipment and
practice in the same location, each team included an equal mix of operators
from each facility, Turner said. “We wanted to try to further the cooperation
we have among all the plants down here in southern Nevada and increase our
networking,” he said. Each facility is talking about forming its own team next
year, but the two teams plan to continue to share equipment and hold practices
in each facility, he added.
Nevada’s return to the competition has
ignited excitement not only for the event but also for the career and industry
that has spread throughout all the facilities. “It was just a great experience
for everybody that was involved with it,” Turner said. “Our people are still
excited about it, and they look forward to keeping this thing going. They’re
engaged in the industry, and they’re excited about the job that they do, and
that spreads to the people they work with.”
of a new team
Teams were formed about 10 weeks before the
Utah competition and had to work to obtain and set up the practice equipment. A
local fire department donated a c
and automated external defibrillator trainer, and a local company donated pipes
to help the teams practice, explained Brian Carlson, Endangered Feces team
With about 6 weeks left before the
competition, the two teams that both included members who have never before
competed in Operations Challenge began to practice. Clocking about 6 hours of
practice each week, the team members had to quickly gain experience while
getting to know each other. “When you have people that don’t know each other,
and we’re trying to accomplish something, you kind of have to establish some
sort of trust,” Carlson said.
To build both trust and team camaraderie,
Carlson assigned each Endangered Feces member as captain of an event. “I’ve
given them the opportunity to be the master of their event,” Carlson said. “Now
what we have are four people who’ve had not only a chance to participate but a
chance to take ownership of each event. So if they want to start their own
team, they have a unique level of experience on a particular event.” The team
setup and delegation of leadership helped participants gain supervisory skills
and united the competitors, added Perry Johnson, Endangered Feces team member.
But because the team was unable to obtain
maintenance equipment, the Utah conference was the first time the Nevada teams
saw the event setup. Even with limited practice time and equipment, and the
challenge of competing against 10 Utah teams, Endangered Feces placed ninth
overall, edging out Fecal Matters to represent NWEA at WEFTEC® 2013.
“We did better than expected,” Carlson said.
And Fecal Matters did not leave the competition empty-handed, receiving the
sportsmanship award, Turner said.
Endangered Feces — Carlson, City of
Henderson; Johnson and Linda Gallant, City of North Las Vegas; John Yoffee,
City of Las Vegas; and Nate Seltenreich, Clark County Water Reclamation
District — looks to compete in Division 2 at WEFTEC. The team focused on
practicing the Maintenance Event while it had the equipment in July and August.
The team also is working to gain muscle memory needed to compete under
pressure, Johnson said. “It’s a matter of practicing to a point where it
becomes second nature,” Johnson said. “It’s our objective to improve on what we
did in Utah.”
“Our team is dreaming of being the Cinderella
story, the dark horse,” Carlson said. “Ultimately, they want to walk away
feeling like they were able to do their best.”
But in terms of gaining experience and
knowledge, as well as networking, the Nevada participants already are winners.
“You never know where you’re going to learn your next big thing,” Carlson said.
And participation in the event has provided him with leadership experience and
education, he added.
Operations Challenge shows competitors the
range of specialties in the industry and the options operators have to advance
in the industry. It also helps them develop skills and recognize the reasons
behind the processes in a facility, Johnson said. “It’s an opportunity to see
that wastewater treatment is extremely diversified in the skill set you have to
have,” he added.
The mixed-facility team format enabled
competitors to build a professional network and educate about the different
types of wastewater treatment facilities. “It opens up opportunities to not
only experience different plant types and how they run, but it gives you an
opportunity to more or less pick brains of people who’ve been in the field for
quite a while, who have come from diverse backgrounds, to be able to see how
processes work differently at different locations,” Johnson said.
At the Utah competition, Nevada team members
were cheered on and supported by the other Utah teams, Carlson said. “One of
the Utah teams was telling me they like going to see who the new teams are so
they can jump in and help them,” Carlson said. “I wasn’t expecting that when I
got into this, but to me, those guys that helped us out, they really get what
this is all about. It’s teamwork and professionalism and networking.”
“That’s what I’ve learned about this,”
Carlson said. “You never know who’s going to help you out with something or
where you’re going to be of help.” He is looking forward to meeting and
networking with other new teams at WEFTEC.
the bounce in WEFTEC
speaker will share how imagination and innovation can help those in the water
industry play ball
The keynote speaker at WEFTEC® 2013 in
Chicago is a man who says he believes in the power of the creative “spark” and
igniting it in others. Though Kevin Carroll is now a motivational speaker and
author of the books Rules of theRed Rubber Ball, What’s Your
Red Rubber Ball?!, and The Red Rubber Ball at Work, he was once a
language interpreter and translator for the U.S. Air Force, as well as the head
athletic trainer for the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, and he was hired
as a “katalyst,” or creative change agent, at NIKE Inc. (Beaverton, Ore). He’s
shared his motivational know-how with such associations as the National Hockey
League (New York), the National Basketball Association (New York), and
companies such as the Walt Disney Co. (Los Angeles), Procter & Gamble
(Cincinnati), The Discovery Channel (Silver Spring, Md.), and Capital One
(Tysons Corner, Va.).
with Carroll to find out more about his “red rubber ball” concept and why play
is so important, even in the adult world.
Q: Your background includes serving in the Air Force,
being an athletic trainer, and working at NIKE. How did you get into
At NIKE, I was asked
to do a number of “high visibility” communication moments at sales, brand,
design, sports industry, and board meetings. I was appearing at a global design
event in Orlando [Fla.] in 2002 and was approached by an agent from a speaker’s
bureau who enjoyed the remarks I shared. He asked if I had a video reel of my
presentations that he could share with his colleagues at his agency. I sent him
a DVD and received a very quick response with an appearance inquiry. It was
truly an unexpected opportunity sprinkled with some serendipity. That turned
into leaving NIKE in 2004 — after 7 years, writing three books with ESPN
[Bristol, Conn.], Disney, and McGraw–Hill [New York], and invitations to share
my message about the power of sport and play worldwide.
Q: You say on your website that you helped “turn
creative ideas into reality” for companies like Starbucks (Seattle), on which
your “words appeared on 17 million Grande cups.” How did you go about
accomplishing that feat?
After a presentation
to the Starbucks global marketing team in Seattle in the spring of 2006, a member
of the marketing team asked if I would like to participate in their
“quote-on-a-cup” campaign called “The Way I See It.” I had no idea that [quote
would appear on 17 million cups] all over North America.
Q: Why do you believe sports and play can be catalysts
for changing lives?
Sport and play are
common human denominators and equalizers. No matter where you go in the world —
regardless of socioeconomic, political, or religious system — we all play, plus
we all speak “ball.” Stories abound about the use of sport and play as social
innovation tools to help overcome challenges: HIV/AIDS, gender equity, social
inclusion, homelessness, literacy, natural disaster, conflict, and many others.
Sport and play are ever-present throughout our world, and there are human
catalysts who utilize it to inspire change and action.
Q: Please explain the “red rubber ball” concept.
The red rubber ball
is an activity that inspires us, brings us joy, and fuels our imagination to
dream big. Discovering your red rubber ball sparks you to make a commitment to
chase and pursue it for a lifetime.
Take a moment and think back to your childhood and to
the years dominated by playtime, exploration, curiosity, and investigating
anything and everything. There were endless hours to fill, and the only agenda
was to be captivated in the moment, to have fun and thoroughly enjoy the day.
Ask yourself, “What brought me joy? What inspired me? What did I find
irresistible and tickled my brain?” When you participated in moments and activities
that answered those questions, you were enjoying your red rubber ball. You
found ways — and continue to find ways — to be around that primal source of
joy, a.k.a. your red rubber ball.
Your red rubber ball inspires you to tap into a
seemingly endless supply of energy, cleverness, resourcefulness, and creative
agility to ensure that you are always attached to it. Your “work” is always
your play. As James Michener said, “The master in the art of living makes
little distinction between his work and his play.”
Q: How will you adapt your inspirational message for
our WEFTEC audience?
On the WEF [Water
Environment Federation; Alexandria, Va.] website “Driving Innovation” plus
“Enriching Expertise” are two of the three focal points that WEF promises to
provide their members and industry. I will share tools, resources, and ideas —
unique perspectives plus other industry resources plus “best-in-class” examples
— to the WEFTEC attendees to amplify those two WEF focal points.
Key ideas that I will share to support WEF’s Driving
Innovation plus Enriching Expertise intention are the role, value, and power of
storytelling and delivering inspiring narrative that rallies and moves others
to take action; sharing unique plus unexpected ideation/innovation moments about
the power of sport and play; global human catalysts plus a call to action; and
citing and sharing tools and resources that can provide a spark to help WEFTEC
attendees remain inspired, passionate, and intentional about the important work
they do on a daily basis.
shop for all things WEF
Plaza centralizes services and information
The Water Environment Federation is the WEF in WEFTEC®.
And this year, at the show WEF will unveil a new concept to better connect
attendees with the latest WEF programming and resources. The WEF Plaza, located
in the Grand Concourse Lobby, brings together the Bookstore, Membership, Global
Center, Learning Lounge, Honors & Awards Display, and Mobile App &
e-Learning Center in one central location.
WEF Plaza will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00
p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5 through Wednesday, Oct. 9.
Read it, wear it, study
it, need it? Find it at the WEF Bookstore! In addition to offering books,
WEFwear, and WATER’S WORTH IT® merchandise for sale, the Bookstore
also will host a complimentary Starbucks coffee hour at 8:00 a.m., Oct. 7–9.
Come in the Bookstore each day to “Spot the Croc,” and be entered into a daily
drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite loaded with a WEF e-book of your choice. And
leverage your water knowledge at the Bookstore Trivia competition, which will
be held in the Learning Lounge at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 7; grand prize is a
$500 Bookstore gift certificate.
newsletters, and journals
Pick up complimentary copies of recent WEF publications,
including Water Environment & Technology, Water Environment
Research, World Water, World Water: Stormwater, and Water
Environment Regulation Watch.
Help build water quality awareness in your
community. Find information on WEF’s public outreach programs, including World
Water Monitoring Challenge, Stockholm Junior Water Prize, WATER’S WORTH IT®,
and WEF’s line of brochures and bill stuffers.
Inquire in the Bookstore or at Membership for
more information on these programs.
The Global Center at WEFTEC is full of
resources committed to matching international trade delegates and exhibitors
with an eye on the worldwide market. Make important contacts and gain
additional knowledge by interacting with the leading manufacturers and
representatives in the water and wastewater profession.
See the individuals and organizations that
have made outstanding contributions to the water environment profession, WEF,
and its Member Associations. Visit the Honors & Awards Display to view the
2013 award recipients.
Stop by the WEF Learning Lounge to listen to
presentations and participate in hands-on demos of the latest technology and
social media platforms being used at WEF.
The Membership area in the WEF Plaza was
created to provide world-class customer service. Stop by with questions about
membership and/or joining WEF.
Are you familiar with
all of the cool features and capabilities of the new WEFTEC Mobile app?
Participate in hands-on demonstrations of the WEFTEC mobile app and WEF’s
online learning portal. Learn about what
online education opportunities are available, and how to sign up.
preplanning and onsite navigation in one!
With your smartphone, tablet, or any other handheld
Web-enabled device, you can explore all that WEFTEC® has to offer
before the show and onsite in Chicago.
descriptions for sessions, workshops, and other events by topic, speaker, or
Create a personalized schedule. Add a
session or event to “My Schedule” with a single click.
Preplan a list of all the exhibitors you
wish to visit.
Find Chicago hotel and travel information.
Plan your schedule from your device or
your desktop (requires free login). Visit app.core-apps.com/weftec2013.
Onsite in Chicago
organized and up-to-date with the latest exhibitor, session, and speaker
comment upon sessions that you attend.
exhibitors using the interactive floor map. (It can even give you directions
and interact with the #WEFTEC chatter via the built-in social media feeds.