Thoughts on the 2012 SAWD Jubilee from its executive director.

I like change. Yes, I know – change is intimidating. However, it also can be exciting and inspiring. It creates new ideas, adventures and opportunities. In my mind, that makes it both worth the effort and necessary. Take this year’s JUBILEE, for example. The conference and trade show, headquartered in Myrtle Beach for more than 20 years, now is scheduled for two years in Virginia Beach, Va., a change that brings attendees the opportunity to experience a new convention center, new formats, new traditions and, last, but certainly not least, a chance to experience one of the most interesting and visitor-welcoming beach-side cities on the East Coast.

At Virginia Beach, you will find the traditional seaside recreations you’d expect – swimming, fishing, boating and a first-class boardwalk area featuring free entertainment. In addition, you will enjoy the premier conference and trade show you expect in a state-of-the-art, green-award-winning convention center. Easily accessible from the convention center are historic Williamsburg and Jamestown, Busch Gardens, a children-oriented aquarium, military tours and a brand-new town center with upscale shops and stores.

This year’s JUBILEE also brings attendees some exciting changes in the social activities. Adults will enjoy an in-trade-show reception with tasty treats sponsored by Franklin Electric; a cash bar will be available. Children of all ages will be excited to find a full-scale carnival in the exhibit hall foyer, complete with special refreshments. Changes – yes; but they are changes that attendees will enjoy.

Special courses and sponsored workshops also are a change. In keeping with this year’s theme, “Working Together for Better Onsite Water Systems,” is a special course, sponsored by Ferguson Enterprises, that features ground water professionals from all three onsite water systems providers exploring how our industries can become stronger by developing systems for working together. Don’t miss this roundtable for a discussion challenging all three industries to provide consumers with economical, environmentally friendly onsite water systems.

We know that water wells, water treatment and onsite waste water systems interact. But are we actively pursuing ways to make sure the systems are designed with all three installations synchronized for maximum performance? Can we change the way our associations approach legislative change so that we are working together to keep regulations from rendering our systems unaffordable? The answer is yes. We can begin to implement change – change in how we approach the timing and interactions that occur when onsite systems are installed. And change in how our industry associations relate and communicate with each other. How we as industries handle these changes may very well impact the future of each and every one of us.

One other change that  may be of interest to long-time JUBILEE participants – both attendees and vendors – is that after 21 years with the JUBILEE and 25 years in the industry at large, I am retiring from onsite water industry association and trade show management. New management will be taking my industry clients into a new era of change and challenge.

I feel privileged to have worked with and for an industry that provides not only a valued resource, but also peopled with caring, dedicated professionals. The future of our world depends on water, for truly it is our most important natural resource. I know that I will watch with keen interest as the onsite water industries rise to meet the changes and challenges that lie ahead. I am truly grateful for having the privilege of being a part of this vital industry. I will miss it. And yes, I do like change, and am looking forward to retirement – even though it is a little intimidating and means I am leaving an industry that I have grown to love and respect.