Interested in learning about the role communicators play in crafting and telling our industry’s stories?

From developing content for social media to organizing public outreach events, communicators play an integral role in engaging both internal employees as well as external audiences like public officials, stakeholders and the general public. This year’s WEFTEC is features a variety of communications content, from networking to traditional sessions; we’ve got a lot to share!

For those interested in networking, the WEF Public Communications and Outreach Committee (PCOC) will be holding an in-person meeting on Sunday, Oct. 9, from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. in 270 (Ernest N. Morial Convention Center). Come join the us, learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities, meet our 2022 Volunteer Service Recognition award winner and, of course, play some games! Can’t join us Sunday? A communications networking hour will also take place on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the studio at WEFTEC Live (Exhibit Hall H, booth 6639), so be sure to bring your business cards!

Speaking of awards, each year the PCOC recognizes WEF members for their significant accomplishments in promoting public awareness and the understanding of water environment issues through the development and implementation of outreach, education and/or communication programs. This year’s winners will be recognized during the WEF Awards Celebration and Presidential Ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 5 p.m.- 5:45 p.m., Great Hall B, Main Stage.

Every afternoon of the conference, Monday through Wednesday, the Utility Management track will offer  communications and/or outreach technical sessions:

Non-traditional Stakeholder Coordination for Public Engagement, Monday, Oct. 10, 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m., location: 336

Communicating the Importance of Biosolids with the Public (Interactive session), Tues, Oct. 11, 3:30 p.m. -  5 p.m., location: 345

Rates, Complaints, and Floodgates: Examples of Successful Stakeholder Engagement, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m., Location: 244

  • Don’t Sell Your Rate Communications Short! How One Utility Built an Award-Winning Awareness Campaign to Talk about Rate Adjustments
  • Approaching Zero Complaints: Successful Public Engagement Strategies For High Impact Construction Projects
  • Developing The High Water Line Project: A WEF Student Chapter Community Building Pilot
    Speakers: Marci Davis (Jacobs), Tara Bettale (HDR), Rudy Archuleta (City of Westminster), Kahao Lim and Evan Heronemus

If you’d prefer a more informal setting and would like to converse with other communicators, the PCOC will be hosting a learning exchange on Monday, October 10, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. (location: 348-349), Best Practices in Community Outreach and Engagement. Unlike traditional sessions, learning exchanges are arranged as groups of round tables with each table hosting a different communications expert or topic. This enables attendees to move freely around the room while engaging in candid conversations and exchanging knowledge.

Water communicators will also be using the WEFTEC studio space at booth 6639 of Hall H (WEFTEC Live) to present on topics and share their work.

  • Monday 2-230: Michael Quamme, Meet the WEF Public Communications and Outreach Committee
  • Monday 230-3: Mike McGill, Handling PFAS Communications
  • Monday 4-4:30: Maile Lono-Batura, Poo and U Campaign
  • Monday 4:30-5: Allison Fore, Considerations for producing memorable groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies
  • Tuesday 2-230: Eboni Green, Communications for Communications Sake
  • Tuesday 230-3: Samantha Villegas, Why Utilities Must Engage
  • Tuesday 4-430: Justin Brown, How to Give a Virtual Tour
  • Wednesday 9-930: Shea Dunifon and Phil Kane, Regulate and Educate: How Florida is Bringing Biosolids into its Classrooms 
    Wednesday 930-10: Stephanie Corso, Stories of Communicators

And, did you know the PCOC assists the WEF Board of Trustees with promoting its Charities of Choice?  Before you leave the exhibit hall floor, be sure to check out booth 3957 (near the Operations Challenge) to meet WEF’s three Charities of Choice: Operators Without Borders, Engineers Without Borders and Global Water Stewardship.

view the WEFTEC Studio flier that lists all of these activities

While we realize there is so much to do and see at WEFTEC 2022, we hope you’ll join us in recognizing the importance of communications by attending a session, visiting the studio, participating in the learning exchange, and/or joining the Public Communications and Outreach Committee. The PCOC is excited to help build a WEFTEC for communicators to come together and meet with all the other water professionals that make up WEF membership.


Shea Dunifon

Shea Dunifon is Education Coordinator with Pinellas County Utilities and incoming Chair of WEF’s Public Communications and Outreach Committee.Shea Dunifon is Education Coordinator with Pinellas County Utilities and incoming Chair of WEF’s Public Communications and Outreach Committee.

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