While surfing the Internet the other day, I googled “organizational membership” and came up with 134,000,000 possible hits. The sites that I visited each extolled the virtues of joining up, including magazine subscriptions, reduced exhibit rates, and access to specialized data.
I feel that most of the sites missed a key element to organizational membership: networking. The chance to bounce ideas off one another, learn about job opportunities, and hear about issues that may assist the membership at large is one of the most prized benefits.
For example the American Water Works Association (AWWA) offers utility members the most current information about the latest technology and practices. AWWA houses centralized resources for exchanging information with the other 4,440 member utilities.
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) states that the foundation of WEF membership is the philosophy that every individual member, working in water quality, contributes to making our world a better place to live.
It’s been said that “no man (or woman) is an island” and the same goes for your utility or company. When you join any organization, you also join a network of utilities and owners who share a vested interest in serving the water and wastewater industry.
Organizations have created a number of networking opportunities that make it easy for you to take advantage of this built-in base. Some of your fellow members might be able to provide some useful advice, or could become valued confidantes.
There are dozens of organizations that relate to the water and wastewater industries. Besides AWWA and WEF, there is the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) which is a non-profit trade organization founded in 1908 to represent the interests of companies that manufacture products sold to the potable water and wastewater treatment industries, Water and Sewer Distributors of America (WASDA), The American Public Works Association (APWA) to name just a few.
Get involved, meet your peers, learn something and have fun!