On Tuesday afternoon, October 17th, attendees had the opportunity to attend the IFA Regional Meeting as well as a panel discussion with AIRW Staff. Later that evening, Carson Law welcomed everyone with appetizers and drinks at their gathering space just down the street 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 delicious cocktail.
Attendees gathered the next morning to a light breakfast and a welcome from our Programs Manager, Lorean Johnston, and special guest, Hank Naughton. 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! The tours filled quickly! Wednesday afternoon’s luncheon in the Exhibit Hall featured the Best Tasting Water in Indiana Competition. Fort Wayne Utilities was once again 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 shared some laughs with our special guest, comic & writer, Jody Fuller. 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 our very own gameshow, “Are You Smarter Than an Operator?” hosted by the unrecognizable, Rex Blanton aka Rex Trebek! To unwind from the day, we closed out the evening with a Hospitality Event in the Hilton Atrium, mingling & laughing with colleagues & friends, old & new!
Thursday morning, everyone woke up to a delicious hot breakfast buffet before starting another day of classes. But first, our Annual Membership Meeting included the election of three board members: Catlyn Helmuth, Adam Sams, and Alex Mikel. All were elected for 3-year terms beginning in 2024. Anthony Roberts from the City of Rensselaer won the Amazon 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 Micah Sarabyn with the Ben Davis Conservancy District. She walked away with the Big Green Egg Package, worth over $1,500! Nate Seigler from Evertte J. Prescott claimed the shotgun during our Shotgun Raffle! Three people also walked away with cash prizes from their engagement in conference app challenge: 1st – Andrew Boden with the City of Bloomington Utilities, 2nd – Becki Gaines of Portage Utilities, 3rd – Rick Bowen with the City of Elkhart.
Thank you to all of our attendees, speakers, vendors, sponsors, Board Members and staff for helping make this another fantastic event!