The 2022 Fall Conference in Downtown Fort Wayne was the biggest one yet! We hosted 625 people at the Grand Wayne Convention Center.
On Tuesday evening, October 25, Carson Law welcomed everyone with appetizers and drinks at their gathering space just across from the Convention Center. It was the perfect kickoff to the conference, with an opportunity to meet some new people and network, grab a bite, and enjoy a cocktail, all with an absolutely amazing view of the Fort Wayne TinCaps Baseball Stadium!
Attendees arrived Wednesday morning to a light breakfast and a welcome from Executive Director, Connie Stevens, and special guest, Senator Sue Glick! After Opening Session, attendees headed off to their preferred track of classes - Administrative, Water or Wastewater. Both Wednesday and Thursday, with the help of Fort Wayne Utilities, we were able to bring back the very popular Water and Wastewater Plant Tours! They were once again a huge hit! Wednesday afternoon’s luncheon in the Exhibit Hall featured the Best Tasting Water in Indiana Competition. Fort Wayne Utilities was crowned the tastiest in the state and will move on to compete in the Great American Water Taste Test in Washington, DC next year at the National Rural Water Association's Rural Water Rally. During the luncheon, we also had a special guest in the way of high school student Vidhatri Iyer from Carmel, Indiana, who presented her exciting work on Nanoplastic Detection in Water. Lastly, we recognized our recent Apprenticeship Graduates and highlighted this amazing program! After classroom sessions concluded for the day, the Exhibitor’s Reception kicked off with snacks, drinks, and the musical stylings of L.J. Johnston, which included our own Wastewater Circuit Rider, Lorean Johnston! As a fun way to finish off the night, we hosted a Hospitality Event in the Hilton Lobby, complete with snacks, drinks, a photobooth, and some live entertainment by an amazing local magician, Steve Vaught. It was the perfect time to wind down from a full day of classes while mingling with peers and friends.
Thursday morning, everyone woke up to a delicious hot breakfast buffet before starting in on another day of classes. But first, our Annual Membership Meeting included the election of three board members: Jackie Hilgartner - At-Large, Tom Speer - District 2, and Nate Besse - District 1. All were elected for 3-year terms beginning in 2023. We also announced our two newly elected Advisory Council Members: Josh Hawley of Ziptility and Derrick Short of Advanced Rehabilitation Technology. They were elected for 3-year terms starting with Fall Conference 2022 and ending with Fall Conference 2025. Ben Glowinski from the City of Ligonier won the Kindle Fire HD during the meeting!
The Sportsman's Raffle, which raises money for the WaterPac Fund and represents rural water and wastewater in Washington D.C., was a popular stop for our attendees and exhibitors! This year's Grand Prize Winner was Bob Hyatt from Covalen, who walked away with $1,500 cash! Bob and the guys of Covalen donated $300 back to the Alliance Scholarship Fund! How amazing of them! Bill Vaughn from Bluffton claimed the shotgun during our Shotgun Raffle! Our brand new app was a hit, and four people walked away with a prize from their engagement: 1st – Erin Michael of BBP Water Corp., 2nd – Becki Gaines of Portage Utilities, Tied for 3rd – Tracie Marshall of Portage Utilities + Angie Martin of Aqua Indiana – Fort Wayne.
Thank you to all of our attendees, speakers, vendors, sponsors, Board Members and staff for helping make this another fantastic event!