| ACE21 All Virtual celebrates strengths, connections within water community
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ACE21 All Virtual celebrates strengths, connections within water community

ACE21 gavel passing and taste testThe American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE21 All Virtual), which concluded yesterday, provided a welcome opportunity for more than 1,600 water professionals to celebrate the sector’s efforts to support water’s infrastructure, quality, treatment, delivery, and resilience and supply for the future. 

“I’m incredibly proud that AWWA became more of a convener over the last year than we’ve ever been, and we will continue to be a convener this year as well,” said outgoing AWWA President Melissa Elliott, who served the Association virtually during the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“AWWA brings people together. We provide a place to come to share information,” she added. “We’re a place to check in on our colleagues and peers, and we’re a place to continue our network.”

Taste Test judgingDuring the online event, the AWWA community celebrated the winners of this year’s Best of the Best Water Taste Test. Eleven entries submitted by AWWA sections were judged at AWWA’s headquarters during a filmed event moderated by Elizabeth Carter, principal engineer at Aurora Water; and judged by Jordan Kelly, lab manager at Odell Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, Colo.; Victor Sam, project engineer at Stantec in Colorado; and Frank Blaha, P.E., regional liaison at The Water Research Foundation (pictured right). The top winners were announced during a video and included:

  • First place, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority; Boston, Mass.; New England Section
  • Second place, Fort Collins Water Treatment Facility; Fort Collins, Colo.; Rocky Mountain Section
  • Third place, City of Bozeman; Bozeman, Mont.; Montana Section

To conclude ACE21, a gavel-passing ceremony presented in real-time honored outgoing President Elliott and incoming President Chi Ho Sham. They were joined by other AWWA leaders and representatives from the Technical & Education Council and the New England Section. 

After thanking Elliott for her leadership during a very challenging year, Sham described his professional and personal journey with water, including his volunteer work with AWWA.

“I want to emphasize the importance of our sections,” he said. “Because of the vastness of North America and the local nature of water, our sections are in the best position to understand their challenges and solutions as related to water.”

Sham added that the collaboration between and among the Association and AWWA sections will continue to offer optimal solutions.

“Speaking like a scientist, I believe it is important for all of us to think critically, learn avidly, and collaborate strategically to link sound science and engineering with effective education and communication to build a resilient workforce and enhance public trust in the water industry,” he said.

AWWA sincerely thanks the ACE21 All Virtual sponsors and exhibitors. Next year’s ACE22 event is scheduled for June 12-15 in San Antonio, Texas.