2024 Management Conference Recap


Representatives from utilities across the state convened in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at the Holiday Inn University Plaza & Sloan Convention Center on February 21-22 for Kentucky Rural Water Association’s (KRWA) 2024 Management Conference. This year's conference witnessed a record-breaking attendance of 518 participants.

With sixty-four (64) tabletop exhibits, industry professionals had the opportunity to showcase the latest supplies, materials, and services tailored to utilities’ needs. We sincerely appreciate our conference sponsors for their generous contributions toward this successful event: Consolidated Pipe & Supply Company, Bennett & Williams Environmental Consultants, BL Anderson, American Pump Repair & Service, Inc, NECO Water, FPG Water, National Water Services, Nextbillpay, USG Water Solutions, Rustoleum/High Performance Products, S4 Water Sales & Service, Buchanan Pump Service & Supply Company, Straeffer Pump & Supply, Trane, Wet or Dry Tank Inspection, Wright Implement, Layne - A Granite Company, Silversmith Data, Bell Engineering, and Edmunds GovTech. We also would like to recognize our Corporate Partners---Diamond Partners: Core & Main; Hawkins Water Treatment Group; Kentucky 811; Kentucky Engineering Group; Kenvirons; Raymond James; Rural Water Financing Agency; Thornton, Musso, & Bellemin; and Wascon.  Emerald Partners: ProSource Water Products and United Systems & Software.

Participants had the opportunity to earn continuing education credit, with 12 hours available for Water Operators and 10 hours for Wastewater Operators. Additionally, Water District Commissioners had the chance to earn 6 hours of credit on Wednesday. William Colston & Erin Donges, Public Service Commission, kicked off Wednesday morning’s excellent lineup with “Essential Requirements for Utilities Undergoing a PSC Inspection.” Sessions continued with Gerald Wuetcher, Stoll Keenon Ogden, discussing respectively on “Practical Suggestions for a Successful PSC Rate Adjustment Filing.”

Lunch was served in the exhibit hall allowing exhibitors time to meet with utility personnel to discuss new products and ideas for the water and wastewater industry.  

The KRWA Management Conference provided excellent opportunities to showcase the Apprenticeship Program, supported by Hawkins Water Treatment Group, a KRWA Corporate Partner. Hawkins has made a significant investment in the KRWA Apprenticeship Program and the future of our industry by sponsoring $8,000 annually in scholarships to be used towards the cost of Related Technical Instruction, the curriculum that complements on-the-job training. One apprentice was recognized: Garrett Black, a trainee at Oldham County's Water Treatment Plant, who is beginning his journey as a Water Systems Operations Apprentice.

The afternoon sessions resumed with Robert Miller, Straightline KY, discussing “Utility Consolidation Through Merger or Acquisition,” and followed with KRWA’s Past President, John Dix, discussing “Joint Operations.”

As the first day of our Management Conference ended, attendees had time to relax and enjoy catching up with friends and colleagues and visiting with exhibitors during the Member Appreciation Reception, sponsored by Higgins Insurance, The Sherwin-Williams Company, & Rural Water Financing Agency, once again held in our Exhibit Hall.   

Thursday morning’s sessions began with Michael Brenner, Software Solutions, discussing ”Effectively Communicating With Customers” and continued with Anthony Harrison, USG Water Solutions, speaking on "Spray In Place Pipe Repair” and KRWA’s own, Arianna Lageman, on “Lead and Copper Rule Update.”

KRWA hosted the Annual Women of Rural Water Luncheon, sponsored by Hawkins, Inc. There were over 45 women in attendance. Elisa Beth Brown, Director of Instructional Programs at Bowling Green City Schools, delivered a captivating talk on “Resilient Women In Thriving Workplaces,” which was a hit with the crowd. The new Women of Rural Water Committee members were introduced: Rachel Bush (Executive Administrator at Oldham County Water District),  Johnie Skipworth (Water Treatment Plant Superintendant at Franklin Water & Sewer), Heather King (Water Quality Lab Supervisor at Owensboro Municipal Utilities), Andrea Smith (Lead Distribution Operator at Caveland Environmental Authority), Samantha Chisley (Supervisor WWTP #1 & #3 at Georgetown Municipal Water and Sewer Service), Kelli Lee (Communications Coordinator at Hardin County Water District No. 2), and Savannah Goad (Marketing & Business Development Coordinator at Kentucky Rural Water Association).

Women play important roles in the water and wastewater industry—from the office to the plant, in the field, engineering firms, and vendor representatives who have water and wastewater systems clients.  We want them to know that we see them, we are glad they are in attendance, and that we want to provide more chances for them to have a conversation. When women from this industry gather, much can be learned from each other’s knowledge and experience. They can build each other up and inspire new ideas, policies, and technologies.  

Thursday afternoon’s sessions continued with a presentation on “Recent Advances in Water-Based Coatings” by Brian Cheshire from Tnemec (NexGen Coating Resources).  KRWA’s Jasper Wyatt discussed “GPS and GIS for Utilities” and Heather Stevenson closed an excellent conference with “Apprenticeships and Workforce Development”.

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