Missouri Section Receives the AWWA Section Education Award 2021

John Dunn, Chair of the AWWA Section Education Award recently announced the winners of the 2021 Section Education Award. The Missouri Section was among several other sections chosen for their innovation in education programming during the last year.

2021 AWWA Section Education Web Award

Due to the postponement of the section annual conference in March 2020 and eventual cancellation in August 2020 as well as other in-person operator training events across the state, the Missouri Section identified a gap in training opportunities for water personnel. In the absence of an annual conference, important water and wastewater knowledge, legislative updates, product launches, and case studies would not be shared. In April 2020, the Board of Trustees charged the Education and Research Committees with developing virtual offerings carrying operator CEUs with the goal of conducting 2 per month.

The first live virtual training was held on August 8, 2020. During the previous 4 months, the committees conducted research on CEU requirements for virtual training, available technology and associated costs, available speakers and topics, and options for a registration platform. With no prior virtual hosting experience, the Missouri Section started the program from scratch. The innovative aspects of this project have been the use of free, low cost resources to assemble this program. The only added expense incurred is for the GoToWebinar hosting platform and for speaker appreciation gifts. Another innovative aspect is how the trainings are used to build a volunteer leadership pool. In each evaluation form, attendees are asked to indicate if they want to volunteer to serve within the Section. One new volunteer leader has been added each month to various committees.

Nine trainings were held August through December 2020 with the highest registration at 61 people. The first two were attended by 100% of registrants because a nominal fee was charged for registration. The September and October trainings were free, but still well attended in the 70 to 80% range. An experimental registration pricing model that is free for members and charges a nominal fee for nonmembers is currently being used in 2021.

DateTopic# Registered# Attended
8/12/2020 Preliminary Treatment Primary Treatment Overview 14 14
8/27/2020 Navigating America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 6 6
9/3/2020 Wrapping Our Heads Around Lead and Copper Rule Revisions 54 43
9/17-18/2020 Small System USDA 11 9
10/15/2020 Hannibal's New GAC Treatment Facility 61 47
10/20-21/2020 Cybersecurity USDA 14 11
10/29/2020 Water Storage Tank Evaluation and Coatings 18 17
11/19/2020 Protective Coating Performance Matters: Implications of NSF Standard 61 Changes 21 15
12/9/2020 Strategies for Addressing Taste and Odor Control in Drinking Water 30 24

Several gains have resulted from this endeavor including:

  1. The need for operator CEUs has been partially filled in a way that does not require operators to pay for travel expenses or time away from the plant.
  2. New volunteers are being identified and recruited on Section committees.
  3. The Section has been able to secure experts from around the country to speak without incurring travel expenses.
  4. Attendees are staying updated on important knowledge during the pandemic when meeting in person is not possible.
  5. A growing library of recorded education courses is being compiled that will be made available on demand.

Congratulations to the Missouri Section! And a special thank you to the Chairs of the Research and Education Committees:

  • Research Chair Karen Marie Dietze
  • Education Chair Kevin Wiggins
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