I would like to start my first message as your new Chairperson by thanking all those people who supported our May conference. We had our second highest number of attendees since WIOG was established. To all those who attended, I would like to thank you all on behalf of the committee. I would also like to thank our sponsors and suppliers for contributing their time and efforts, without which we wouldn't of been able to hold such a successful conference.
I also need to thank the Committee for organising a well-run conference. The conference is organised and run by this team of volunteers who spend quite a bit of their time hunting down venues, chasing people for papers, working with sponsors and equipment suppliers, and securing industry partners. Obviously this all couldn't be done without the support of the employers of the committee members, so a big thanks to them as well.
One of the more pleasing conference statistics was that our programme included no less than 10 operator papers. The subjects presented were wide ranging and included topics around new innovation, optimising existing processes, and also reticulation resilience. All of these papers had an operations focus to them which tells me that our members are keen to share what's happening at their sites, new ideas, and interesting experiences..
At the AGM we sadly farewelled two stalwarts of the Group, Mike Monaghan and Martyn Simpson. Both have served the Group selflessly for many years. As such it was especially poignant that Marty, an original committee member, was presented the WIOG Life Membership award in recognition for his contribution to the Group, at the conference dinner.
One final note, during the conference the Water Industry Professionals Association (WIPA) was launched. This is a joint initiative between WIOG and Water NZ and was set up to ensure that our operations people are not only qualified, but are also maintaining ongoing professional competency though the programme’s certification process. Connexis have been contracted to provide administrative support and to maintain the WIPA database. For more information please check out www.wipa.co.nz.
Thanks again to everyone who supported the conference in one way or another. Next year’s conference planning has already started and the venue is in Palmerston North over the period 09 -11 May 2018. I look forward to seeing you all there.