WEFTEC attracts more than 15,000 attendees

WEFTEC.03®, the Water Environment Federation's (WEF) 76th annual technical and educational conference, attracted an attendance of 15,839 earlier this month in Los Angeles, California.

ALEXANDRIA, VA, Nov. 5, 2003 -- WEFTEC.03®, the Water Environment Federation's (WEF) 76th annual technical and educational conference, attracted an attendance of 15,839 earlier this month in Los Angeles, California.

Held October 11 - October 15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, WEFTEC.03® featured over 800 exhibitors and covered 192,390 net square feet of floor space.

WEFTEC.03®'s extensive technical program, sprawling exhibition, and special events offered water professionals the latest in water quality research, technology, and services. The conference allowed attendees to create their own learning experience by choosing from over 80 technical sessions and 25 conference workshops on a wide range of critical water quality topics.

According to WEF Executive Director Bill Bertera, "WEF understands that the highest priority of water quality professionals is the protection of our most valuable natural resource - water. More than ever, our understanding must cover all aspects of water resource management. This year, WEF expanded the reach of WEFTEC to provide an unparalleled educational program on technologies, strategies, and practices for water quality protection."

Conference highlights included a well-attended infrastructure press briefing on Monday, October 13 that featured a panel of California officials, including California Assemblyman Keith Richman, who discussed projected drinking water, wastewater, and storm water costs in the future and called for greater federal, state, and local investment. Immediately following the briefing was the Opening General Session where Jean-Michel Cousteau, explorer, educator, and son of famed explorer Jacques Cousteau, delivered the keynote address.

In addition to Cousteau's remarks, the Opening General Session program recognized L.A. City Councilmembers Tom LaBonge and Jan Perry, as well as Don Kawano from the Los Angeles Unified School District for their support of the WEFTeach program followed by a review of the past year by 2002-2003 WEF President Robert McMillon.

The following day, as part of the "WEF Celebration of Excellence," McMillon ceremoniously "passed the gavel" of Federation leadership to incoming 2003-2004 President Lawrence P. Jaworski, followed by the induction of the 2003-2004 WEF Officers: President-Elect Lynn Orphan, Vice President J. Michael Read, and Treasurer Mike Godfrey.

The ceremony culminated with the presentation of over 25 awards in recognition of the outstanding achievements of the most talented and dedicated professionals in the water environment industry.

Networking and professional development opportunities for water professionals, students, and young professionals were also available at WEFTEC.03®. For the second year conference exhibitors wishing to conduct business internationally had the opportunity to meet with buyers and market experts from Asia and Eastern Europe through the assistance of the United States-Asia Environmental Partnership Exchange Program For Sustainable Growth (US-AEP) and Eurasia's American Partnership For Environmentally Sustainable Economies (ECOLINKS).

WEF's commitment to education was served through student activities including the Student Design Competition, Student Chapter Meeting, and professional development workshops. In addition, the popular WEFTeach program launched Sewer Science, a $250,000 interactive laboratory program that will travel to 50 L.A. area high schools and reach an estimated 10,000 students in the first year alone.

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize was recognized through the "Walkway to the Future" display. Attendees had the opportunity to see the winning projects of a contingent of visiting 2003 SJWP winners including International Winner Claire Reid and U.S. Winner Heather Mispagel. All seven attending winners were recognized during the opening session program.

For fun and excitement, Operations Challenge 2003 continued to be a big draw for attendees. The 16th annual "wastewater Olympics" honored the skill and professionalism of over 200 wastewater professionals competing on thirty-six teams from across North America. Winners included: Division I: Virginia Water Environment Association Fluid Dynamics (1st Place), California Water Environment Association L.A. Wrecking Crew (2nd Place), Virginia Water Environment Association Team HRSD Bio-Force (3rd Place); Division II: New Jersey Water Environment Association Cape Shore Workers (1st Place), Florida Water Environment Association Royal Flush (2nd Place), and Chesapeake Water Environment Association Centrifugal Force (3rd Place).

Following the success of WEFTEC.03®, preparations are already underway for WEFTEC.04® in New Orleans, Louisiana. Scheduled for October 2-6, 2004, WEFTEC.04® promises to build on the success of this year's event. More details will be coming soon to www.weftec.org. For more information about the Federation, please visit www.wef.org.

Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with members from varied disciplines who work toward the WEF vision of preservation and enhancement of the global water environment. The WEF network includes water quality professionals from 79 Member Associations in over 30 countries.

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