With 22,860 registrants and 1,011 exhibitors using 305,600 net square feet of space, WEFTEC 2017 was one of the largest and best-attended events in the conference’s 90-year history. The Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) 90th annual technical exhibition and conference was held from the 30th of September to the 4th of October at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, United States (U.S.)., which water professionals from around the world attend for the latest developments, technologies and services for the water sector.
WEFTEC 2017 highlights included the installation of an outdoor classroom at Manierre Elementary school during the 10th annual Community Service Project; exciting discussions and knowledge exchange during the Women in Water session, as well as countless workshops, technical sessions, and networking events; the fifth annual Innovation Showcase, the Operator Ingenuity Contest, and the recognition of 25 new Utility of the Future Today recipients for exceptional performance in sustainable water management and operations.
The #mywaterlegacy social media campaign, launched during WEFTEC 2016, entered its second phase, focusing on mentorship and workforce development. These themes were captured in a new video that made its debut during the well-attended Opening General Session.
“My water legacy, mentorship, innovation, and workforce development – these are far more than a program theme or lofty buzz words,” Rick Warner, president of the WEF from 2016 to 2017 said during the session. “They represent a conscious decision to pursue a life of service and to find pathways to success.”
The Opening General Session also featured a new format, WEFTalks, which included testimonials from four water leaders about their journey into the sector.
“Commemorating 90 years of accomplishments brought a unique energy to WEFTEC 2017,” WEF Executive Director, Eileen O’Neill, said. “It was especially touching to return to Chicago, the place where it all began, not only to celebrate the tradition, but also the people, ideas and innovations that will continue to move the sector forward.”
Planning for the event in New Orleans in 2018 is already underway.