Messages from ASDWA’s 2017 Incoming and Outgoing Presidents

It will soon be a new year and Randy Ellingboe, the Drinking Water Administrator for Minnesota, is our new ASDWA President for 2017.  June Swallow, our 2016 President and Drinking Water Administrator for Rhode Island, will continue to serve on the ASDWA Board for one more year as the Past-President.  A heartfelt “thank you” to both June and Randy for your leadership!
Message from Randy Ellingboe, ASDWA’s New President for 2017
randyThank you for the opportunity to serve as President of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) during the coming year.  This promises to be both an exciting and challenging year!
First, I would like to thank Jim Taft for the outstanding service he has provided as Executive Director for ASDWA since 2003.  His leadership for the organization and his talent for building relationships between state and EPA colleagues has helped to make ASDWA the strong voice for state drinking water programs that it is today.  We will miss him, ASDWA staff will miss him, and our colleagues at EPA, AWWA, NRWA ECOS, and elsewhere will miss him.  But we wish him the best as he leaves ASDWA to pursue new adventures!
We face the coming year knowing that the public, the media, and state and federal lawmakers have a high level of interest in state drinking water programs.  We will have a new administration that will oversee EPA activities, and no doubt set new priorities.   We face the ongoing challenges of working with public water supply systems to ensure that the systems meet all Safe Drinking Water Act requirements and that they can address the issues brought by contaminants they may find that are unregulated, like toxins from harmful algal blooms.  We continue to work to find strategies to protect our sources of drinking water.  We will face problems, but also find opportunities.
This is a time when being able to call on each other for advice, information, experience, encouragement and sometimes even commiseration will be ever more important.  I am thankful we have an organization like ASDWA that can provide a setting and opportunity for us to share with each other, and to be a strong advocate for drinking water protection.  Please take advantage of the opportunities that ASDWA meetings, committees, and membership offer – we are better together.  I hope you have a wonderful holiday season — happy trails!
Message from June Swallow, ASDWA’s President for 2016
juneI have enjoyed serving as ASDWA’s president for 2016, although like Steve Sturgess, the President before me, my term began with an injury.  I broke my arm while skiing.  I am not suggesting these things have anything to do with each other, but Randy, do be careful.  Twice is a coincidence, three times…
Putting potentially “job related” injuries aside, I was honored to represent your interests throughout the year, and especially to do so before the Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding lessons learned from the Flint water crisis and also during the search for our new Executive Director.  ASDWA is a key resource for me in my efforts to serve the public and protect public health in my state.  I believe that participation in ASDWA is truly a win-win situation in that the more involved I am in ASDWA the more effective I am at home.
You all know that the ASDWA staff are top notch.  I am in awe of the tremendous amount of work that they do, while maintaining a level of quality that is truly impressive.  I can’t thank them enough for all of their help.
Every year brings new challenges to our drinking water programs, and I don’t expect that next year will be any different.  I keep waiting for that ever-elusive easy year when no major disasters happen, but it never seems to arrive.   Fortunately, Randy is up to the challenge.  I have gotten to know Randy over this last year have observed that he brings a calm and thoughtful approach to problems and I am confident that he will serve ASDWA extremely well.