President's Message May 2022

Rob LeeI’m writing this as I look out of my office window at the relentless rain we’re experiencing this spring (at least west of the Cascades). Yet I cannot help but marvel at what spring brings us: a reminder of new life. Flowers start to bud, trees bloom, birds return and sing to us in the mornings. And those relentless rains? They’re a reminder of the essential industry that we’re all in — protecting the critical waterways that are the backbone of our lives here in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m giddy with excitement for this new season. Our board met in person this past month as a mid-year check-in about the health and direction of PNCWA, and I’d love to share a few things with you all:

PNCWA has brought on a new Managing Director (MD), which gives the Association the paid dedicated staff that we’ve been missing since the retirement of Nan Cluss and Mike Rainey. We welcome Marie Schmidt with Association Management Inc. (AMI), which started in early May, as our new MD. The board worked relentlessly to make this happen, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership of Lara Kammereck (President-Elect), John Beacham (Secretary), Mark Poling (PNCWA superhero), and many others. Be on the lookout for additional information in the near future!

The annual conference in Spokane, WA (9/11 – 9/14) is shaping up nicely! Vicky Hollingsworth and Jeff Schmidt have been doing a remarkable job, and the technical program may be complete by the time you read this. A huge thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors who have already signed up — without you, this conference is not possible! Stay tuned for information about early bird registration starting in June.
Our committees, committee chairs, and committee members continue to be the lifeblood of our Association, providing countless hours of time reviewing abstracts, putting on webinars and learning hours, and flying out to Washington, D.C. to advocate for PNW water issues. More than that, you energize us when we start to lose sight of the big picture, and that’s so important. If you’re not involved in a committee, please consider reaching out to a committee chair (INSERT LINK TO PNCWA Committee Listing).

As we transition from a coronavirus pandemic to an endemic, I’ve been reflecting on how these last couple of years have changed us as individuals. All of us have had to come face-to-face with our mortality in a new way, and I know that many have suffered tremendously these past years. I myself had to evaluate where I was putting my time, energy, and focus. But I’m reminded of the wise words of Jeff Kraines, a mentor of mine from my graduate school days. “We have one life to live, and only one life to give.” I’m grateful for the trust of our membership in me and in the board, and I’m glad during these absolutely crazy times for the chance to give. I’m grateful for each one of you and so absolutely pumped to see many of you in person in September!


Board of Directors in-person gathering. Clockwise from closest person: Laura Porter (Treasurer-Elect), Rob Lee (President), Lianna Collinge (AMI), Layne McWilliams (Vice-President), Andrew Perez (Western WA Regional Director), Lara Kammereck (President-Elect), John Beacham (Secretary), Haley Falconer (Immediate Past President)

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