Management Conference Recap


On February 22-23, representatives from utilities around the state gathered in Bowling Green, Kentucky for Kentucky Rural Water Association’s (KRWA) 2023 Management Conference at the Holiday Inn University Plaza & Sloan Convention Center. This year’s conference was one of our largest to date, attended by 460 participants who took part in presentations to provide our members with an awareness of the opportunities available for the advancement of the water and wastewater utilities in Kentucky and issues facing utilities.  

Sixty-three (63) tabletop exhibits enabled industry professionals to demonstrate the latest in supplies, materials, and services appropriate for utilities’ needs. We sincerely appreciate our conference sponsors for their generous contributions toward this successful event: Bell Engineering, Bennett & Williams Environmental Consultants, BL Anderson, Bluegrass Engineering; Cannon & Cannon, Complete Restoration; EUDS Consulting; Kentucky-American Water; National Water Services; Nextbillpay; Pace Analytical Services; Rustoleum/High Performance Products; S4 Water Sales & Service; S & K Equipment Co.; Straeffer Pump & Supply; Trane; Wet or Dry Tank Inspection; and Zenner USA. We also would like to recognize our Corporate Partners---Diamond Partners: Core & Main; Hawkins Water Treatment Group; Kentucky Engineering Group; Kenvirons; Raymond James; Thornton, Musso, & Bellemin; and Wascon.  Emerald Partners: ProSource Water Products and United Systems & Software.

Continuing education credit was available for up to twelve hours, with six hours of training offered on both Wednesday and Thursday for operators and water district commissioners.  Geoff Pellechia, Evoqua Water Technologies, kicked off Wednesday morning’s excellent lineup with an “Overview of PFAS.” Sessions continued with Damon Tally and Gerald Wuetcher, Stoll Keenon Ogden, discussing respectively on “Recent Developments in Utility Regulation and “In the Dock: Show Cause Proceedings (Part 1).

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.  Apprentices were introduced during the KRWA board meeting and two more program graduates were recognized:  Ezra Darnell, a Drinking Water Systems Apprentice at North Marshall Water District, and Aaron Dorris, a Drinking Water Systems Apprentice at Lebanon Water Works. Both graduates were presented their credentials from the U.S. Department of Labor signifying the completion of the program requirements. 

Plaques were also presented to KRWA board members Roger Colburn—North Marshall Water District, and Daren Thompson—Lebanon Water Works, in recognition of being participating employers and their utilities’ commitments to the successes of their apprentices. 

The afternoon sessions resumed with Gerald Weutcher, continuing his discussion of “In the Dock: Show Cause Proceedings (Part 2), and followed with Jeremy Baird, Kentucky League of Cities, discussing “Insurance 101” and Robert Miller reviewing “Crisis Communications.”

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, once again held in our Exhibit Hall.   

Thursday morning’s sessions began with Shannon Elam, Morgan County Water District, discussing becoming a good leader with “Lead. Win. The Laws of Leadership;” and continued with Ross Smith, Veolia North America, speaking on "Concrete Coatings and Plant Rehabilitation Services” and Brad Gresham, Smith Blair, on “Total Pipeline Management.”

KRWA launched a brand-new event during the noon break--the Women of Rural Water luncheon.  

KRWA wanted to provide a forum in which women from across Kentucky could gather with their peers, to network and share their experience of working in the water and wastewater industry. 

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 clients at water and wastewater systems.  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 provide 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.  

There were over 30 women in attendance, and the feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive. KRWA is excited to plan our next event!  Look for announcements about a Women of Rural Water gathering at our upcoming annual conference in Louisville.

Thursday afternoon’s sessions continued with a presentation on “Asset Management” byManagement Conference Recap from Clark Dietz, Inc.  KRWA’s Chloe Brantley discussed “Source Water Protection” and Matt Glass closed an excellent conference with “Electrical Energy Reduction