Working for Water Beyond Our Office

Working for Water Beyond Our Office

Three young Woodard & Curran employees were recognized for their involvement in various aspects of New England Water Works Association during the organization’s December meeting. I found this very exciting – not only are our young professionals entering the workforce, but they are delving in to organizations like NEWWA, becoming involved in the industry, and assuming leadership positions on committees within those organizations. I was proud to see project engineers Rachel Patenaude and Renee Lanza graduate from NEWWA’s Mentor Program and was humbled listening to engineer Chelsea Durante report on the success of the organization’s Water for People committee. 

Established in 2008, NEWWA’s mentorship program has paired 30 established members with more than 40 mentees. The goal is to help young professionals new to the organization learn more about the profession from an experienced mentor who is in a different sector of the field. Through meetings and tours, the mentor introduces the mentee to other members and NEWWA committees and provides valuable insight for career development. Last year, Rachel and Renee were paired with organization members in Massachusetts and Maine. 

Mentees gain insight from public sector professionals

 Rachel became involved with NEWWA approximately three years ago and currently serves as chair of the Youth Education Committee. Rachel joined the mentor program because she wanted to connect with more people in the organization. As a consultant, Rachel was paired with Tabitha Maccalous, a water quality supervisor at the Dedham-Westwood Water District. Rachel said, “It was nice to talk to someone else in the field with a different job, a different viewpoint, and making that connection with someone who is a local resource.”  

Renee serves as vice-chair or the Young Professionals Committee, and while she was aware of the mentor program, seeing others graduate at the December meeting in 2017 prompted her to sign up. She was paired with Craig Douglas, assistant general manager of the Brunswick & Topsham Water District, who has experience in public and private sector, including work in construction and consulting. “My goal was to get to know other people in the organization. There are a lot of members and it takes a while to make connections within different areas,” said Renee. She was comfortable within the group of young professionals, but added, “Sometimes you need a helping hand to have someone pull you to the next step and help you figure out how you can better contribute to the organization.” 

Addressing the world water crisis

Chelsea’s been an active member of NEWWA for a little over two years and serves as chair on the Water For People committee. The group’s goal is to fundraise for Water For People and raise awareness for the global water crisis, while also educating people about water as a resource critical to daily life. She said being involved in NEWWA and Water For People, “creates more of a community, a feeling of connectedness to the water infrastructure community. Working with the Water For People committee gives more of a purpose to my everyday work.” 

Chelsea’s presentation during the monthly meeting provided a great overview of the work Water For People has done over the past year and prompted other members to contribute to the ongoing raffle fundraiser happening at the meeting. Her work on the committee really highlights the culture of volunteerism and philanthropy we embrace here at Woodard & Curran. 

 

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Practice Leader
Drinking Water

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