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Engaging and Retaining Membership Through Partnerships and Programs. www.paawwa.org “Keystone of the Drinking Water Community”. Michael T. Brown, P.E. Barbara Martin. Outline. PA Section Overview Partnership For Safe Water PAWARN Operator Training Membership Specials

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engaging and retaining membership through partnerships and programs

Engaging and Retaining Membership Through Partnerships and Programs


“Keystone of the Drinking Water Community”

Michael T. Brown, P.E.

Barbara Martin



  • PA Section Overview
  • Partnership For Safe Water
  • Operator Training
  • Membership Specials
  • Other Programs and Partnering
pa awwa overview
PA AWWA Overview
  • Created in 1948
  • 1,900 members, 250 operator members
  • 150 utility members
  • 6 Districts with Trustees
  • Board of Directors
  • WUC, Ed Tech Council Chairs
  • 2 full-time staff, 2 part-time staff, 3 Partnership reps
pa water industry
PA Water Industry
  • Approx. 9,000 public water systems serving 11 million people (88% of residents in state)
    • 10,000 Water Treatment Facilities
    • 350 Surface Water Filter Plants
  • Municipal systems serve approx. 80% of water customers
  • Majority of funding is through local rates
  • Strong SRF Program - Pennvest
  • Most pressing issue:
    • Aging infrastructure
what do these utilities have in common
What do these Utilities have in Common?

PA AWWA Members and Partnership for Safe Water Subscribers

partnership for safe water
Partnership for Safe Water
  • Partnership for Safe Water mission:
    • To improve the quality of drinking water delivered to customers of community water systems by optimizing operations.
  • Two programs
    • Treatment plant optimization (1995)
    • Distribution system optimization (2011)
  • www.awwa.org/partnership
  • Treatment program
    • Surface water filtration plants of all configurations
  • Distribution program
    • Any system that applies a disinfectant
  • Size – no limitations, large or small
  • AWWA membership not required
awwa members
AWWA Members
  • ~80% of Partnership subscribers are AWWA members
  • Partnership subscribers are approximately 5% of all AWWA utility members
  • Partnership can be an opportunity to recruit new members
awwa members1
AWWA Members
  • Partnership subscribers are engaged members!
    • 6 Section Chairs
    • 10 on AWWA Board
    • Many Trustees and other Section board roles
    • Well represented among Fuller Awardees
pa awwa involvement
PA AWWA Involvement
  • Only 12 Sections with mention of PfSW on website
  • Only 3 besides PA have more than a link
pa awwa partnership
PA AWWA Partnership
  • 1996: received first sizable grant from PADEP to administer the PfSW in PA
    • Funds for public relation and education
  • Goal to optimize surface water plants and make them more efficient
  • Five-year grant at $75,000 per year
  • Staff 3 Contract/Part-time Partnership Reps to promote and assist with the program
pennsylvania subscribers
Pennsylvania Subscribers
  • 119 plants (50 utilities)… most in country!
    • Serve 87% of PA filter plant population
    • 27% of subscribers
    • 64 award winners
    • 50% AWWA utility members
  • 19 distribution systems
    • 14% of subscribers
    • 84% AWWA members (utility/individual)
partnering in the partnership
“Partnering” in the Partnership

Support from state, PA-AWWA, and members help to keep the program successful.

PA DEP grant supports PA AWWA administration of Partnership for Safe Water program.

benefits to pa dep
Benefits to PA DEP
  • Better cooperation and relationships
  • Increased compliance
  • Cost savings

% with Commendable Rating

benefits to utilities
Benefits to Utilities
  • Improved water quality and public health protection
  • Preparedness
  • Positive recognition
  • Consumer confidence & support
  • Improved internal communications
  • Operator enthusiasm
  • Cooperation with other utilities
  • Cost savings
awwa benefits
AWWA Benefits
  • Member engagement
  • Revenue
member engagement
Member Engagement

PA AWWA recognition for joining program (York Water Company)

  • Recognition
  • Assistance
  • Training
  • Networking

=Added Value

PA AWWA and DEP provide Partnership awards in addition to AWWA awards

(Ephrata Area JA receives Directors Award)

PA AWWA Partnership reps Bob Donnelly and Gordon Miller provide onsite assistance

section activities have included
Section Activities have Included
  • Partnership Mixer – award ceremony at section conference
  • Partnership Summit
  • Newsletters
  • Marketing materials
  • Custom awards
  • Optimization conference (2010)
  • Training
  • Training credits


15th Anniversary mug and member directory

PA AWWA’s Phase IV “waterdrop” award

service providers too
Service Providers, too…
  • PA AWWA looks to service providers to sponsor Partnership events:
    • Revenue to support mission and section activities
    • Opportunity for vendors to exhibit and present to a highly engaged utility audience
    • Networking
tips for leveraging partnership from pa awwa
Tips for Leveraging Partnership from PA AWWA
  • Realize this will be long-term
  • Work with state/provincial regulators
  • Provide positive recognition
  • Add value through Partnership activities
  • Utilize your AWWA resources
what is a warn
What is a WARN?
  • WARN = Water/Wastewater Aegency Response Network
  • Born out of Hurricane Katrina response.
  • Electric companies were very good at responding but water/wastewater response was not well organized.
  • EPA charged with organizing industry.
what is pawarn
What is PaWARN?
  • Utilities are organized within the State
    • By a Mutual Aid Agreement
    • To assist each other with resources (personnel or equipment)
  • Respond and recover more quickly from natural disasters and other emergencies
what can pawarn do
What can PaWARN do?
  • Supply “industry specific” equipment during emergencies.
  • Help alert water systems of cascading emergencies – spills, floods, etc.
  • Help water & wastewater systems recover by providing resources and personnel.
pawarn structure
PaWARN Structure
  • PaWARN is a 501(c)3 with a 13 member board made up of PA water and wastewater professionals
    • Several board members very active in Section including past chairs
  • Advisory members can make recommendations but voting power remains with utility professionals
  • Part-time staff
  • Primarily funded through dues
who is a warn
Who is a WARN?
  • Approx. 90 utilities
  • Approximately 7.5 million Pennsylvania residents receive their water/wastewater services from PaWARN member systems
  • Accounts for about ½ of the state’s population
  • Roughly ½ are PA_AWWA member utilities
pawarn in action
PaWARN in Action
  • Dec. 27-28, 2012: Schuylkill County Municipal Authority
  • Major main break
pawarn in action1
PaWARN in Action
  • System is running out of water.
  • Need odd-sized clamp to make the repair.
  • Emergency request is posted on the PaWARN website.
  • Within 3 hours, Northampton Borough Municipal Authority supplies clamp that enables SCMA to make the repair.
  • “We experienced a real emergency that prompted the use of the PaWARN system to assist us. The system worked exactly as designed and we were able to avert disaster.”

Patrick Caulfield, Executive Director

Schuylkill County Municipal Authority

how does pa awwa benefit from pa warn
How does PA-AWWA Benefit from PA-WARN?
  • Recognition
  • Strengthened relationships amongst utility members and operators
  • Collaboration/Cooperation amongst competing associations
  • Carry-over to Section Programs
    • Partnership
    • Conferences
    • Training
success of operator training program
Success of Operator Training Program
  • Increased training in fall & spring
  • Partner with PA DEP for new regulation training
    • Public notification
    • Lead & copper
    • Long-term Disinfection
  • Operator Certification Exams
  • 2-Day Operator Track at Section Conference
    • Increased conference attendance
success of operator training program1
Success of Operator Training Program
  • Non-dues revenue
    • Approx. $70k profit in 2013
  • Increased “value” to membership
  • Opportunity to engage non-member utilities
  • Opportunity to reach non-industry
value of membership discounts
Value of Membership Discounts?
  • 2011: $30; 79 new/95% retention
  • 2012: $50; 20 new/73% retention
  • 2013: $72; 15 new/87% retention
  • Allow Sections to determine their own fees?
better together
Better Together
  • Joint training with Sections and other associations: WWOAP, PMAA,PRWA, WEF and PWEA
  • Work with organizations to provide additional networking opportunities for Operators and Young Professionals
  • Partner with DBIA for conference since 2012
    • 10% increase in conference revenue
    • Positive feedback from attendees and vendors
  • Partnering with Neighboring Sections?
    • ACE Reception
    • Joint Annual Conference
    • Challenges
engagement and revenue through specialty conferences and events
Engagement and Revenue Through Specialty Conferences and Events
  • Greatest need for additional revenue is Fall (Annual Conference in Spring)
  • Past specialty conferences
    • National Partnership Summit 2010
    • Great Lakes Summit 2012 (10 sections participated)
    • PA Partnership Summit 2013
    • PA Infrastructure Conference Scheduled for 2014
    • National Partnership Summit Planned 2015
  • District meetings and events
other opportunities for engagement
Other Opportunities for Engagement
  • WUC
    • Very active
    • Value to membership
  • Committee restructuring
keys to success
Keys to Success
  • Increase AWWA Operator and Young Professionals memberships.
  • Keep membership fees competitive at the Section level…especially for Operators.
  • Increase the value of membership.
  • Keep members engaged and active.
  • Collaborate with other organizations.
  • Have the flexibility to provide training to multiple groups.
like all sections
Like all Sections…
  • Our priority objective is to continue to recruit new members, retain those members, and increase revenue to remain viable.
questions discussion

Mike Brown