Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2016 - (Page 11)

FROM THE PRESIDENT Strategic Planning and Utility Management t By Charles Hilton, NRWA President '' The first year has passed since I was honored to be elected as your President in Seattle, Washington. Since then, my daughter has gotten married, I have spoken at the National Press Club in DC at the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act, and have traveled to Kobe, Japan to speak at the 10th Annual International Symposium on Technology in Drinking Water. I have traveled 90,000+ miles with Delta. But most importantly, I have spent a lot of time visiting with you, undoubtedly the finest people in the world. I have now started my second (and final) term as your President and I am deeply indebted and grateful to each of you for the opportunity to serve as your President. As I think back over a long career in this business, I think of the challenges we have faced. When I started out on my first assignment in a waste treatment plant, I was construction manager, operations specialist, laboratory technician and maintenance man. It seemed there were not enough hours in the day to get everything done. The work was seven days a week with little relief help and some days there wasn't enough time to even grab a bite for lunch. I recall a conversation I had with my boss who was critical of me because I had not gotten something done on time. I told him I was working seven days a week and whine, whine, whine; I'm sure you've been there. His immediate reply was, "The number of hours you spend here is immaterial, what matters is what you accomplish." He could have hit me in the head with a baseball bat and not hurt my feelings any more than he did. However, I went home and thought about what he said - I still recall those words 40+ years later. Although I thought I was doing a great job, I had failed to realize one aspect of what I was assigned to do. I was to plan not only my day, but my week, my month, my year, and the years ahead. It was a life-changing event. As I hopefully continued to mature with my work skills, I became more and more aware of the need for not just planning, but strategic planning if we are to meet the needs of the utility now and in the future. It must have had some effect because now, I realize many times in my office, that I do not know what the crews are doing. I have managers that assign the mundane tasks that have to be done daily. Although I am quickly told when a problem develops, I realize I don't need to know every little detail about every little job going on. I realized I have to trust my employees to do their job and equally, they must perform at a level that they have been told, and then they know they are trusted when they both meet and exceed those expectations. So, if I don't handle the day-to-day, I must be twiddling my thumbs waiting for something to do?! Nothing could be further from the truth. My job now is planning to meet the needs a year from now, five years from now, and even twenty five years from now. That is far more difficult to do than repairing the leak on the six-inch water line. It entails looking at growth rate, expansion possibilities, replacing aging lines and equipment and then estimating cost and insuring the budget not only today but 10 years from now will be met. It has become a whole lot more difficult. The other aspect in planning deals with events that we cannot control - when disaster strikes. How do you plan for an event that may or may not ever occur? By spending a lot of time looking at our past history on climate - hurricanes, tornadoes, snow/ice, drought, etc. - and looking for other events that are relatively new to us - cyber-attacks and terrorism - and others unheard of only a short time ago. In today's complex society, we can no longer afford to operate "by the seat of our pants." We have to plan for those needs that seem only visionary at the moment, or as the old saying from Ben Franklin goes, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!" ‚óŹ AS I HOPEFULLY CONTINUED TO MATURE WITH '' MY WORK SKILLS, I BECAME MORE AND MORE AWARE OF THE NEED FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING IF WE ARE TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE UTILITY NOW AND IN THE FUTURE. RURAL WATER 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2016

Strategic Planning for Water Utilities
Planning for Drought
A Rally to Remember
The 17th Annual Great American Water Taste Test
USDA Rural Development Has Loans
Rural Water Association of Utah Launches Successful Training Program
Vermont Rural Water Association Continues Training; Plans More for 2016
From the President
Finance: Investing Without Borders
Emergency Management: Decontamination Strategy for the Water Sector
A Day in the Life of a Circuit Rider: Dell R. Harris, Kentucky Rural Water Association
Case Study: Bubble Diffusers
Regulatory Update
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/
From The CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2016