Know a Student or Young Professional? Get Them Involved

The Student and Young Professional Committee is excited to introduce our new leadership team and share our goals for the future of our committee. Based out of Portland, Riley Murnane is serving as our new chair. Riley has lived in Oregon for the last seven years and currently works for Hazen and Sawyer. Our vice chair, Cody Sprague, is from Boise and currently works at Mountain Waterworks as an engineer. Hannah Thomascall is the new S&YP board liaison and an engineer at Spokane County.

riley murnane  cody sprague  hannah thomascall 
Riley Murnane Cody Sprague Hannah Thomascall


Our main goals for the S&YP Committee in the next couple of years cover most PNCWA critical objectives (educate, inspire, collaborate, engage, innovate, exchange, and promote), and we plan to continue consulting these objectives as we work towards our goals and determine future ones. Our goals are these:

  • Reinvigorate the Student Design Competition
  • Add more student chapters
  • Increase S&YP committee representation for geographic regions and member professions
  • Engage in regional in-person meetings
  • Grow the mentor/mentee program
  • Increase S&YP involvement at the conference

The Student Design Competition provides students with a “real-world” design experience relevant to water/wastewater, and the winning team may be funded to present at WEFTEC. Due to the pandemic, the Student Design Competition has struggled with participation over the past few years. The S&YP committee is creating a taskforce to reach out to universities and increase awareness of the competition. This process will also help us make connections with professors to start student chapters of PNCWA at universities.

Our committee members are primarily from Portland, Seattle, and Boise. Because PNCWA covers a large, diverse geographic region, we think it’s important to have representation throughout each state. When picking our leadership team, we purposefully chose members from each team in those positions. Our committee is also primarily composed of engineers and operators. We would like to increase the professions represented to include more students, vendors, regulators, and other professions. To help grow our committee and allow for more networking opportunities, we are planning to hold regional in-person meetups throughout the year — anything from a small meetup at a coffee shop to a large group taking a facility tour.

The mentee/mentor program allows people early in their careers or new to the water industry to connect with more experienced people. This program helps new members make connections and become more involved in PNCWA as well as learn how to overcome obstacles and excel in their careers. The program facilitates approximately six months of mentoring, but pairs are encouraged to stay in touch after the program and continue their partnership. As we recover from the pandemic and more networking opportunities are available, this is a great time to revitalize and grow the mentee/mentor program.

Finally, we would like to encourage S&YP members to become more involvement at the annual conference in roles like moderators, room monitors, exhibit hall tour guides, and presenters. If you or your PNCWA committee have tasks/roles that S&YP can assist with at the next conference, please reach out to Riley ([email protected]). We are also looking for speakers for our monthly meeting to talk for about 10 minutes. Speakers on any topic are welcome; tell us about your PNCWA committee, current job, experience entering the workforce, or anything else!

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