Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2018 - 11
FROM THE PRESIDENT
BY KENT WATSON,
Workforce for the Future
WaterPro 2018 is now history and hopefully everyone enjoyed their time in our great state of
Texas. Start planning now for WaterPro 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. It was an honor to be able to take
the gavel as president of NRWA in my home state. Becoming president of this great association has been
the highlight of a 40-year career in the water and wastewater industry.
I pledge to serve and represent this association in the same way I try to live my life: with honesty,
integrity and professionalism. Our Rural Water family is made up of people who share these similar
values, and that transforms into great individuals, good friends and better employees for our water and
Our workforce is changing and as employers, we must recognize that not all new employees will stay
at the same job for 30 to 40 years. The new workforce is pushing for changes in the workplace that are
desired by everyone. The millennials are a driving force behind workplace changes. They are not afraid to
change jobs, and will want to get a salary boost with that change. However, more importantly, they want
work with a purpose. They want their work to have meaning, they want to use their talents, they want to
learn, they want to develop and they want their job to fit their life.
The new younger workforce wants to talk to their managers often. As managers we need to realize
that changes need to be made in the way we manage so that we can retain good employees. Likewise,
governing Boards need to be aware that salaries, benefits and employee perks must be modified in
order to maintain the necessary workforce. Be open-minded to new ways of getting the job done. It may
include working a flexible shift, working from home or allowing some flexible time off to accommodate the
lifestyle of the employee.
Our tomorrows need new and different solutions today. President Lincoln once said, "The dogmas of
the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present and future. As our circumstances are anew, we must
think anew and act anew."
Because of changes in our workforce, NRWA has responded with the creation of a nationwide
WaterPro Apprenticeship Program that will be tailored to the specific needs of water and wastewater
systems across our nation. This vital program was made possible by initial underwriting by CoBank, and a
newly announced $6 million grant from USDA Rural Utilities Service.
Again it is an exciting time to be president of NRWA and I look forward to what the future holds. ●
OUR WORKFORCE IS CHANGING AND AS EMPLOYERS,
WE MUST RECOGNIZE THAT NOT ALL NEW EMPLOYEES WILL
STAY AT THE SAME JOB FOR 30 TO 40 YEARS. THE NEW
WORKFORCE IS PUSHING FOR CHANGES IN THE WORKPLACE
THAT ARE DESIRED BY EVERYONE.