An Annual Pilgrimage

Trade shows may not sound exciting, but they’re a great way to stay on top of your industry.

Every February I head to Indianapolis for the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show. I didn’t spend as much time at the show this year as I usually do, but I still came away with a great appreciation for the industry and the direction our water and wastewater services are headed.

The WWETT Show started 30 years before I joined COLE Publishing, and even though we sold it a few years ago, I still feel a certain sense of pride for the small role I played over my first five years in this position. More than that though, there’s a sense of camaraderie at this show that I don’t feel at any of the others I attend. That’s largely because of you.

I didn’t talk to a lot of municipal people at the show, but I know some of you were there. You can’t underestimate the value of events like this. You’re reading this magazine so I assume you see the value in hearing your peers’ stories and keeping up on new and better ways to do your jobs. I respect that.

There is so much equipment aimed at more efficient and effective system cleaning, maintenance, operation and rehabilitation. The strategies and methodologies for even the simplest operational task have evolved so much over the past 10 or 15 years that failing to pay attention and stay current on new developments is doing your utilities and communities a disservice. 

The value of attending events like this comes in many forms. For you, it’s a chance to meet and talk to your peers, to learn from their experiences and take that knowledge back to your own community. If you’ve been doing things the same way for years, you undoubtedly have members of your team who know only one way of handling their responsibilities. And what if there’s a better way?

Seeing all the new equipment, talking to peers and equipment manufacturers about different processes and taking classes from industry experts can breathe new life into your utility. Sure, it’s an expense, but if you or someone from your team comes away with a solution to a problem that’s been nagging your system or a way to handle inspections quicker and at less cost, isn’t that worth it? On top of all that potential, being exposed to everything trade shows like this have to offer can motivate your people, instilling a sense of pride in the technology and solutions that are driving this industry forward. You can’t put a price on that.

If you were there, I hope you came away with some new knowledge and inspiration. If you weren’t, I hope you’ll look into it and put the wheels in motion to get to WWETT or one of the other shows that are aimed at helping you do your job better.

Enjoy this month’s issue.


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