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  Aug 01, 2021

Greenville Water’s Director of Water Resources, Jeff Phillips Reflects on his Service to the SCAWWA Committee

Wow, has the last year gone by in the blink of an eye! When we seek out new executive committee members, one thing that always gives people pause is the six-year commitment. Those who have been through it will assure them it goes by before they know it! As someone who has done it twice (was it really 13 years ago that I was the chair of the Blue Ridge Foothills District?), I can attest that it is the truth.

As I prepare to phase out of the executive committee, I need to reiterate my thanks to the many people who have done amazing things this year, setting not only me, but the entire organization, up for success as we faced challenge after challenge. To Jane, Billy, Jonathan, Hope, Nick, Curt, Angie and Hank – you have been the best executive committee I could have ever asked for. You made my life easy! And to David, Tiffany, Lynn and Michele – my sincere thanks in keeping everything in this organization running smoothly.

As I started my year as chair, I talked about expanding our outreach and charity. It was born of necessity, but I am so proud of our accomplishments in increasing our virtual learning offerings. It has allowed us to connect with so much more of our membership, particularly those who may not have had the ability to travel to conferences and workshops.

I am so thrilled that both associations have come together to recognize the need for a permanent committee that deals strictly with water charities. Special thanks to Andy Fairey who took this initiative and brought it to where it is today. So many people still need clean water, and this group will go a long way to assist them.

Need also breeds opportunity. Now more than ever, it is vital to be able to deliver messaging to the public regarding the importance of water and wastewater professionals and what we do daily. To meet this need, we have started the formation of a Public Information Officer Committee under the Joint Steering Group. With emerging contaminants and new and changing regulations, cooperation between organizations and the development of messaging to share with sister organizations is even more important.

Finally, thanks to Hope Walker for her hard work in working with AWWA in finalizing and getting our by-laws approved. This was a year-plus long process and is vital for the continued operation of this organization. It is the first and necessary step to future activities, including rewriting our Association Manual.

Although my term as chair is officially over, I am looking forward to presiding over the South Carolina Environment Conference in August. Special thanks to Page Lux and the Conference Management Committee for doing double duty and working on not only this conference, but also looking ahead to March 2022. I look forward to seeing all of us together again. It has been a long time coming.

My final thank you goes to the staff and management of Greenville Water for allowing me to serve on this board for the last four years. I appreciate their willingness to allow me to share my time with this organization that is so important to me. Their support has made this journey possible.

I look forward to continuing to be active in the association and helping the new executive committee members in any way possible.

Thank you!