The Season of Thanks

President's Message, November 2019

Thanksgiving is upon us. There is plenty to express thanks for. First, and foremost, thank you to all of our American Water Resources Association (AWRA) members. Members are the foundation of AWRA’s mission to build community, conversation and connection. Beyond paying dues (thank you for that too), members advance the water profession’s body of knowledge by contributing to IMPACT, JAWRA (our journal) and presenting at conferences. A significant number of volunteers serve on technical committees, as conference hosts, as judges and reviewers, as associate editors, on our Board of Directors, and in other leadership roles. 

The hosts of this November’s Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, deserve special thanks. Our congratulations go to the General Chair, Candice Hasenyager, Utah Division of Water Resources, Technical Program Co-Chairs, Jeremy Williams, Brown and Caldwell, Gus Williams, Brigham Young University, and David Rosenberg, Utah State University, Finance Chair, Matt Jensen, Parr Brown Gee & Loveless, Exhibits Chair, David Hartvigsen, Smith Hartvigsen PLLC, Student Activity Co-Chairs, Steve Burian, University of Utah and David Tarboton, Utah State University, and Field Trip Co-Chairs, Karen Nichols, HDR, Marisa Egbert, Utah Division of Water Resources, and Delmas Johnson, J-U-B Engineers. 

The Planning Committee and conference attendees are a prime example of the intellectual firepower, personal generosity, and collaborative spirit that make AWRA the vital, multidisciplinary organization it is. For more on the power of an AWRA annual conference, see the article from Jillian Young on page 38.

I am personally honored and thankful for the opportunity to serve as President. This experience has allowed me to interact with water professionals on a national and global scale. Earlier President’s messages featured some of my adventures (our Spring Conference on Integrated Water Resources Management in Omaha, Nebraska, the Georgia Water Resources General Conference in Savannah, and the AWRA Summer Conference on Resilient Adaptation in Sparks, Nevada). A few additional 2019 highlights include participating in a conversation hosted by the Spanish Embassy in Washington DC, on Latin America’s water infrastructure, invitations to speak at universities and seminars, providing guest columns to various water and infrastructure publications, and, spending an extraordinary week in Beijing at AWRA’s joint conference on Water Security with the Center for Water Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. As we experienced during our time in Utah, our conference hosts treated us to exceptional hospitality and top-notch interdisciplinary thinking.  

Another great privilege of the Presidency is the opportunity to present AWRA’s annual Awards. This is the 55th year AWRA has recognized individuals, organizations, projects, state sections, and student chapters for outstanding leadership and service in the water resources profession. Both members and non-members can make nominations by completion of an application. An awards committee, chaired by a Past AWRA President, screens applications (sometimes requesting additional information) and then makes a final awards recommendation. As in years past, the 2019 nominees and awardees exemplified the best of our profession. Please see more about the 2019 Awards on page 39.

In addition to the formal awards process the President is able to personally recognize individuals for outstanding contributions and support to the organization. The 2019 President’s Award went to AWRA’s Technical Director and IMPACT Technical Editor Michael E. Campana. Listing Dr. Campana’s contributions to our organization through the years would fill an entire page. A past President, this year he has been instrumental in helping with many organizational transitions, and as Technical Director, served as our resident sage on all matters water. 

Years are often marked by themes and for AWRA it was a time of great transitions. In the Chinese Zodiac 2019, is the Year of the Pig. Interestingly, the Pig is associated with the hours 9–11 in the night, and good fortune. Both seem fitting given how a lot of late night work is really paying off. We are particularly thankful for the efforts of our Chief Executive Officer Dresden Farrand, and staffers Megan Balkovic and Judie Talbot. Kudos also go to the Board of Directors and particularly Immediate Past-President Brenda Bateman, and Board Members Lisa Engelman, Claire Bleser, and Scott Kudlas for going above and beyond regular board duties as we moved AWRA into the next decade. 

Looking forward to 2020, we will continue to modernize the organization and engage in strategic planning to ensure AWRA remains relevant to our members and the water resources profession. President-Elect Betsy Cody has already jumped in with both feet and we are sharing a variety of duties. We are also welcoming Jason Doll as our newest Board Member. 

A wise person once offered that no duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. A special thanks goes to all of you that have sent notes and emails with suggestions and encouragement. We read your comments carefully and aim for continuous improvement of AWRA’s performance. Thanks also to my family and my employer Stantec for allowing me the time to serve as AWRA President and spend a year focused on promoting the water resources profession. It has been an honor.

We always appreciate hearing from you. Please feel free to correspond with me directly at

Lisa Beutler is the 2019 president of AWRA.

Michael Campana receives the 2019 President’s Award for Service from Lisa Beutler.


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