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May 4, 2010

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NAWC On the Move

From Green Alma Maters and Design-Builds to Lifetime Meals

Director of Congressional Relations Erika Berlinghof traveled to her alma mater, Connecticut College, to speak to students about the benefits of “green collar” jobs as part of a campus-wide Earth Day Celebration. Connecticut College is a national collegiate leader in environmental issues; in 1999, Connecticut College became the first college or university in the United States to address its own carbon emissions with offsets. Again in 2001, Connecticut College achieved another “first,” becoming the first school in the country to purchase a significant portion of its energy from clean, renewable sources.

Berlinghof spoke with dozens of undergrads about her career and how it reflects her ideals (pictured above). She reminded students that careers in water were the original “green” jobs; many of NAWC’s members can date their roots back to the 1800s. She also hinted at emerging job opportunities in water similar to the windfall for clean energy professionals more than a decade ago. Berlinghof encouraged these young environmental leaders to look for ways to work collaboratively with the business community, emphasizing that students of the sciences have amazing opportunities to innovate and make a difference in their communities and all over the world.

NAWC was also pleased to co-sponsor the 2010 Design-Build Institute of America’s (DBIA) Water/Wastewater Conference held last week. NAWC Executive Director Michael Deane joined nearly 600 other participants in Dallas for presentations and discussions about the growing business of alternative delivery for development of water infrastructure.

Many NAWC members use design-build for their own utilities as well as offer design-build-operate to municipal clients. Deane reported that speakers, both “practitioners” and “owners,” as they’re called in the business, provided detailed information and case studies about the value of alternative delivery in delivering infrastructure systems more quickly and with a better life-cycle cost. The current chairman of DBIA is John Young, president of American Water Works Service Company, an NAWC member. Deane shared with DBIA his commitment to strengthen and broaden the relationships between the two associations.

And while Deane was talking life-cycle costs in Texas and Berlinghof was in Connecticut, Jessica Knight, NAWC’s director of strategic relations, was down the street listening to The Atlantic Senior Editor and food critic Corby Kummer narrate through an Earth Day-inspired three-course culinary journey, highlighting the various ingredients, techniques and traditions used to create the meal, with a special focus on sustainable farm-to-table practices.

In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, corporate giants SAP and Syngenta partnered with food editors from The Atlantic to offer guests the “Meal of a Lifetime” at DC’s popular spot for organic dishes, Founding Farmers Restaurant. Knight is pictured below standing with some of her tablemates from the U.S. Chamber, The Atlantic and Yum! Brands.