Welcome From The Chair

Candy StaringIt’s my pleasure to take part in hosting “Working for Water in the Heartland,” the 2017 Southwest Section AWWA Conference and Exposition (2017 ACE), October 15-17 in Oklahoma City. For three days, we’ll learn about the latest in treatment, O&M, management and total water solutions, to name a few, and spend time networking while taking in all of the sights and sounds this “Big League City on the Prairie” has to offer.

The official conference site is the Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center and Hotel in the heart of downtown. It’s just steps away from historic Bricktown, and within easy walking distance of a bounty of local restaurants, coffee houses, brew pubs, whiskey bars as well as retail shops and other attractions.

If you haven’t been to Oklahoma City lately, what are you waiting for? This once-barren prairie town has witnessed astounding growth over the past twenty years, and is now considered a regional “must see” city for tourists and business travelers alike. Recent downtown attractions include the newly-renovated Myriad Botanical Gardens, which will be bursting with fall color in October during its annual “Pumpkinville” festival. In 2016, the Boathouse Foundation opened the Riversport Adventures, an Olympic white water training facility where outdoor enthusiasts of every level can strap in for a wild ride down the rapids, or enjoy a gentle kayak paddling on the Oklahoma River, as well as zip line and high line adventures.

Strolling more your speed? Then enjoy a leisurely ride on the Bricktown Water Taxi, or make your way to the Oklahoma City Zoo, considered a Top 15 zoo in the country, according to USA Today. Other fun attractions include the OKC Museum of Art, Science Museum Oklahoma, Top Golf, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center, the Museum of Osteology, American Banjo Museum, and American Pigeon Museum (yes, you read that right!)

Your host committee is working tirelessly to design an event that will not only include interesting and engaging education sessions, but also provide plenty of daytime and evening entertainment for you and your spouse or guest.

Keynote speakers include Oklahoma City Manager Jim Couch, who spearheaded the efforts to secure central Oklahoma’s water future with the landmark Sardis Lake deal, and Raymond Baral, Vice President of the American Water Works Association. Couch has served as Oklahoma City Manager for 17 years. Prior to that, he was Director of the Oklahoma City Utilities Department, and has served as a past chair of the Southwest AWWA. Baral is the Assistant Manager of Water Treatment at the Metropolitan District Commission in Hartford, Connecticut, and has been a driving force in the development of AWWA’s Water Quality and Treatment Symposium.

More details will be coming soon, but in the meantime, you can keep up to date by visiting the Southwest Section conference pages at http://www.swawwa.org/annual-conference-home/.

We’ll see you in October!

Candy Staring
Southwest Section Chair



Oklahoma City Mayor’s Letter

Mick CornettWelcome to Oklahoma City and to the 2017 Southwest American Water Works Association Conference.

We’re a city that started with the boom of a cannon, and from the get-go, water proved to be a valued resource. Our first 10,000 residents were pioneers of the prairie, excited and willing to settle into unclaimed territory and plant their stakes in new land without a thought about what resources were available. The city itself was built in only two days, and those new citizens bought water by the bucketful from the station master’s wife. Today, the Oklahoma City Utilities Department provides fresh water service to more than 1.2 million customers in central Oklahoma.

I’m immensely proud of the work performed by our Utilities engineers and operations staff. Like you, these men and women strive daily to find better and more efficient ways to deliver clean, safe drinking water to our communities.

A healthy water utility supports safe neighborhoods, promotes public safety, provides recreation opportunities for visitors and residents, and most importantly, drives our economy.
The Southwest American Water Works Association conference will provide excellent opportunities for experts in water delivery to learn new concepts, exchange ideas, meet with peers and hopefully go home with a renewed enthusiasm for the critical services you all provide – not to mention a great memory or two from your time in Oklahoma City.

On behalf of our more than 620,000 residents, welcome to Oklahoma City! We hope you enjoy your stay.

Mick Cornett