The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) announced the promotion of Eileen O’Neill to the position of deputy executive director and the promotion of Matthew Ries to chief technical officer. The announcement comes as the organization aligns resources to support emerging initiatives.

As deputy executive director, O’Neill will focus on pursuing innovation opportunities and global and academic relations, as well as supporting WEF Executive Director Jeff Eger in his responsibilities. Serving most recently as WEF’s chief technical officer, O’Neill joined WEF in 1991 as manager of industrial programs. “Eileen is a tremendous talent, and I am very excited about being able to work alongside her to fulfill many of our new strategic initiatives,” Eger said.

In his new assignment as chief technical officer, Ries will fulfill many of the responsibilities formerly held by O’Neill. This will include oversight of technical programming and development for WEFTEC®, as well as education, training, publications, and Web-based initiatives. Ries joined WEF in 2005, and he has been instrumental in launching WEF’s sustainability and stormwater initiatives. “Matt is well-qualified to take on this new assignment and a welcome addition to our leadership team,” Eger said.

“With Eileen and Matt in their new roles, WEF is even better positioned to drive opportunities for innovation in the water sector, enhance member services, education, and training, and increase awareness of the value of water,“ Eger said.

With current budget constraints, many water and wastewater treatment utilities need to do more with fewer resources, and communications plans often are pushed aside. But the overall approval and support that various groups — including customers, media, government officials, and advocacy organizations — have for a utility can be the difference between a new project going forward or not and can determine the amount of time utility staff members spend to regain public support after a pipe breaks or an accident occurs. Read more

The Patel Center Grand Challenge, a program that challenges inventors in developing nations to create a low-cost and easy-to-use water purification device, is accepting pre-proposals through March 1, 2012. The winning device could save millions from contaminated water by disinfecting it at the point of collection. See for details.

From Matt Bond, 2011-2012 WEF President

For those of you who do not know me, I am a detail-oriented, analytical guy. So when I am with some of my expressive Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) peers and we start to talk about the excitement of our strategic planning process, I finally understand that it is neither the process nor the analysis that excites most people. The excitement comes from the results, and I can assure you that every one of our members will be excited at the outcome of our year-long odyssey to establish a new strategic direction for WEF’s future.

The WEF Board of Trustees and staff worked throughout 2011 to evaluate all facets of WEF; give every WEF member the opportunity to provide input through surveys, focus groups, and interviews; and develop a future direction that responds to the needs of the water sector and WEF members. Our planning was extremely successful due to an enthusiastic, willing, and able Board of Trustees; excellent WEF staff leadership, especially our new Executive Director Jeff Eger; and great data from our consultant-assisted process, which involved obtaining data from our members, external stakeholders, and other nonprofit organizations. [Read more]

From Deborah Bogdanoff, LA Country Sanitation Districts and CWEA State Board Member
Originally appeared in

Between a demanding career, a personal life and being a multitasking maven, free time can seem like a luxury. However, making time to volunteer and help others can have a tremendous impact on your leadership skills – and your life.

Despite her high-powered job as Vice President at MetLife in Individual Distribution, Diane Brennan has been a hospice volunteer for the last three years, mostly visiting with individuals in the final stages of their terminal disease and their families.

“While many think volunteering takes time from my career, it actually makes me a better leader,” says Brennan. She adds that nights at hospice have brought her respect from coworkers and taught her the importance of listening, that time is a gift and how everyone needs a support system. “We all get caught up in hectic schedules, multitasking and wondering where the time goes. My volunteer work has taught me to slow down.”

Find your charity:

A recent German study found a definite positive relationship between the amount of time spent volunteering and the participants’ satisfaction, work performance and amount of learning experiences. [Read more]