MARCH 2019

Chris Martinez
President, AWWA Student Chapter   Cuyamaca College

"The AWWA CA-NV Fall 2018 Conference was a great conference to attend! The theme of sustainability really set the tone for the conference and reminded us that we need to protect our resources. As a young professional and a new member of AWWA, attending the conference for the first time was a great experience, but also an awesome opportunity to represent my AWWA School Chapter as President for Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego. At the conference I was able to get great industry insight about what this is all about from talking to engineers, consultants, operators, AWWA committee members and a variety of professional representatives from different water agencies. Meeting other students from different school chapters was also a great way to network and see how they integrate their AWWA student chapter with their school and education.

The theme of sustainability was a common link in all of the technical sessions I attended and it was great to see technology integrating with water agencies to become more efficient and sustainable in sessions given by Monobina Mukherjee from Moulton Niguel Water District - Developing a Financially Sustainable Water Supply with Advance Data Models and other sessions using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to predict the likelihood of failure of transmission and distribution water pipelines from Fracta.

Topics of climate change and sustainability with professionals taking steps toward managing and projecting water use in Adam Hoch from the City of Oceanside - Groundwater Augmentation in Mission Basin and in Daniel Wisheropp session - Non Project Water Inflows to the State Water Project; Balancing Sustainable & Reliable Water Supplies with Water Quality Objectives. A session that I found really beneficial was the Young Professionals Committee with the Mentoring Activity meet and greet on day two. The professional insight and the one-on-ones I had gave very helpful advice for moving forward in my career. I even got an opportunity to be a part of the YP committee in the future as Vice Chair! AWWA - CA-NV Section really did a great job with the organization of this conference from the venue The Westin Mission Hills Resort, technical sessions and teaming up with the Coachella Valley Water District as host utility.

The conference was awesome and offered great resourceful information that I'm taking back with me to my school chapter to give all my colleagues a chance at success and help them achieve their personal career goals. I am looking forward to the Spring 2019 Conference in Sacramento!


Gregory Williams
Domestic Water Division Modesto Irrigation District - Employee

"Staff from MID's water treatment plant participated in the "Top-Op's Challenge" hosted by CA-NV American Water Works Association (AWWA) in San Francisco. This was MID's first time participating in the competition which is intended to be a fast-paced, question and answer style tournament to recognize and promote excellence and professionalism in all aspects of water treatment plant operations. The MID team included Jessica Stillwell, Damon Wilkens, Christian Irigoyen and Salena Estrada. After a second place finish in the early preliminary round, the MID team swept the competition taking 1st place in back-to-back rounds securing a spot in the championship round. The championship round came down to the wire and MID ended up finishing in second place and secured an invitation to the national competition. This was a great showing for our employees, MID and moreover the community as a whole."

JUNE 2018

L to R Barry Crawford, John Pernuela and Curtis Cobb;
Photo Credit: Curtis Cobb

Curtis Cobb, Lead Plant Operator
Palmdale Water District - Employee

"I have been attending AWWA conferences for many years and have been involved as a Competition Committee member and Top-op's contributor for the last 4 years. I have a much greater appreciation now for my colleagues, their respective skill levels and overall dedication to our noble profession. The amount of work put in by the volunteers and support by the member agencies is vital to the success of these events as they continue to grow. I encourage everyone to attend our conferences and to interact to share your knowledge, experience and passion with fellow participants. It's a great learning and bonding experience that I'm happy to take part in!"


Chisom Obegolu, P.E.
Metropolitan Water District

"I just wanted to share a quick note to express how impressed I was with the 2018 AWWA Annual Fall Conference. In addition to having a multitude of topics to provide insight on sustainability, it was well organized and simple to follow. I particularly enjoyed the app that was created for this conference as it helped me decipher through the many presentations and identify which ones peaked my interest. The various presentations were immensely informative and applicable to my organizational goals as well as my personal and professional goals.

As a speaker at this event, I was well accommodated from my arrival and sign-in to my departure. I am looking forward to the 2019 conference in Sacramento!"


Steve Hernandez
Photo Credit: Steve Hernandez

Steve Hernandez, Owner
WaterWise Pro

"My first CA-NV AWWA conference was about 16 years ago and the same sense of belonging I felt back then has become deeply rooted through the course of my career.

Each and every event that I have attended has been a great experience and loaded with opportunities to learn a new variety of information, practices, Industry equipment and technological advances.

2018 has been packed full of excitement and new opportunities with CA-NV AWWA starting with the Operator Symposium event March 27 & 28 in Burlingame, CA. It was a sold out event in which I attended both days for the Water Operator Pipe Taping & Hydrant Hysteria Competitions. This year's events were (in my opinion) the most competitive I've seen. The Operator Competitions test skill, ability and knowledge of some of the top industry professionals. The competitions are great for organizations in boosting morale, building teamwork as well as promoting themselves as active leaders among fellow water agencies.  

I have built very strong relationships with colleagues throughout the industry through seminars, training events and conferences. Most recently, at the Operator Symposium I met Mr. John Tucker, Communications Manager for the CA-NV AWWA Section. John encouraged me to consider working with the Section's Education Committee for the upcoming Water Education Seminar (WES) event.  WES is an annual event (August 22) that attracts hundreds of operators throughout California to gather for a day of learning from industry leaders, educators, and specialists at Santiago Canyon College in Orange, CA. 

I also attended ACE18 in Las Vegas, NV this June and it was an amazing event!  The week was full of great options to learn, network and grow as professionals, and for me it included a tour of the  Las Vegas Valley Water District /SNWA 1,200 MGD Booster Station L3PS, that  was in the construction phase and was definitely a pleasure to see. At some point I heard there were over 12,000 attendees and over 400 vendors packed into the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino! I wish I had more time during that week to get to all the technical sessions offered and vendor displays, there was so much to see and do! 

The one thing I have always loved about our industry is the amount of "Opportunities" it has to offer any/everyone! I have to say that if you are in the industry or trying to get into it, there are tons of "opportunities" to get involved and to enhance your journey in this profession.

CA-NV AWWA, I thank you for all of your efforts, past and future, for making our AWWA Section one that I am very proud to be a part of!"

MAY 2018

Jeff Montijo, WTP Operator
City of San Luis Obispo - Employee

"The Operator Symposium in Burlingame, CA gave me and my coworkers the chance to learn, network, and witness some of the best in the industry with the Top-Op's and Hot Tapping competitions. The technical sessions covered a variety of topics important to me. The opportunity to come together with other operators always provides a valuable exchange of knowledge. Seeing the best in the industry at the Top Op's and Hot Tapping competitions lets operators show off their polished talents. I am looking forward to future events."


Ruben Rivera, Domestic Water Supervisor
Coachella Valley Water District - Employee

"This year the CA-NV AWWA Annual Fall Conference was held in the Coachella Valley.  The section has not had a conference in the desert since 1999 and the timing was perfect, with it being the 100-year anniversary for the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD).  CVWD was the host agency and helped support the conference with tours, volunteers, speakers, and promotional water bottles. The theme #Sustainability was very appropriate for this year and for the desert!

The 2018 CA-NV AWWA AFC was a great success this year thanks to the section, volunteers, speakers, and exhibitors and many others who contributed and help coordinate all the details of the event.  As always there was a variety of classes that provided education on relevant topics and fun events where water professionals had great networking opportunities. Some of my favorite classes were in the sustainability sessions; this year’s conference theme provided great information for water professionals to start or continue improving their conservation and sustainability efforts.  With recent water loss audit reporting and increasing pressure from legislature to conserve, this conferences theme #sustainability was very relevant.

This year as the LAC Chair I got to experience firsthand all the effort it takes to put together a CA-NV AWWA conference.  I have to commend all the people involved in making the conference run smoothly.  From all the volunteers that were stuffing bags behind the scenes to the section chair running the event and many others.  Without all these people it would be impossible to have a successful event like this one.  Overall I had a very good experience as the LAC Chair and I would certainly do it again if I get the opportunity. Finally, I would recommend supporting a conference to anyone who wants to get more involved in the industry, it’s a great way to learn and make connections."

JULY 2018

Sacramento Lady Tappers
Photo Credit: Sacramento Lady Tappers

Sacramento Lady Tappers: Roxanne Dilley, Megan Thomas, Megan Mackay and Jolynn Conrad
City of Sacramento Department of Utilities - Employees

"A little over two years ago, The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities decided to form a women’s pipe tapping team to compete at the CA-NV Section, AWWA competition. Roxanne Dilley, Megan Thomas, Megan Mackay and Jolynn Conrad formed the Sacramento Lady Tappers. None of the team members currently work in the maintenance section of our water distribution crews. We all vary in our occupational backgrounds in different divisions within the department. Our coach, Dave Boisa, always instilled the “We Can Do It” mentality coined by the famous Rosie the Riveter. As our practicing progressed, we were quite skeptical about our perceived success. Our first competition in Anaheim was nerve-wrecking. Being the only female team in an all-male-dominated competition was intimidating to say the least. But most, if not all, members of the CA-NV section could not have been more welcoming. Shout out to Eric Brennan, and his team at the City of Brentwood, (showed us the basics of pipe tapping); Boyd Shultz and Barry Crawford, (both judges who educated our team whenever possible.)

All this encouragement and support has helped every one of our team members strive to be better competitors. Their excitement to see a women’s team has motivated us to improve our skills and to be the best we can be. There have also been talks about future women teams joining. It is empowering to see women show up and represent our section and industry. Yet, none of that would be possible without the support of the AWWA members and their professional expertise and dedication to making each event a success. Thank you, CA-NV, AWWA, you have made our experience a positive one. We look forward to future competitions."
NOTE: The Lady Tappers qualified and competed during ACE June 2018 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

APRIL 2018

Photo Credit: MSantos

Stefan Cajina, P.E., Chief North Coastal Section
State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water

"As a drinking water  regulator, I know that the safety of the water supply depends most of all on the people involved in delivering water from source to tap. CA-NV AWWA events give me the chance to communicate directly with water operators, who are the bottom line in ensuring safe drinking water. I have spoken at many operator-focused sessions over the years, and these professionals have always impressed me with their dedication, knowledge, and curiosity."