AWS North America Director, Matt Howard, spent a week in Tempe, Arizona in November 2015 in order to build out the AWS network in southwestern U.S., conduct AWS accredited training and explore strategic partnerships with water-related groups in that region. Matt worked with partners from Arizona State University (ASU) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to conduct a weeklong series of water stewardship events on ASU’s campus.
The first half of the week Matt spent meeting with individuals at the TNC Phoenix office as well as researchers and policy developers at several of ASU’s schools. TNC is in the early stages of contemplating and possibly developing a water trading program in central Arizona for agricultural water users and is also in the early stages of building out a more comprehensive water stewardship program. Matt then spent a day on campus meeting with officials from the Kyl Center for Water Policy, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative and the Sustainable Cities Network, among others, to discuss ASU’s multi-faceted approach to addressing water challenges in the western U.S. states.
Officials from the President’s Office of ASU also hosted a public lecture mid-week where Matt introduced the AWS Standard to an audience of students, professors, water professionals and advocates. The audience then engaged in a conversation on what it means to thrive in a water-stressed region, how the University might play a role, and specifically, how ASU and AWS-North America could work together with the private sector to encourage and enhance water stewardship practices.
The week of events culminated in AWS-North America’s first official training program, delivering two days of AWS Training – Foundations of Water Stewardship and Advanced Training in the AWS Standard. Accompanying Matt in delivering the training were Richard Robertson, AWS Technical Manager and Mark McDermid, Manufacturing Specialist from the newly AWS-accredited Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP). AWS-North America awarded fourteen certificates of training to attendees from the NGO community, consultancies and other private sector organizations.
The Arizona training, along with AWS training in Chicago in May and Los Angeles in December resulted in 45 individuals from 29 organizations achieving a professional level of expertise on the global water stewardship and the AWS Standard in 2015. AWS-North America is tentatively planning two more in-person training sessions for the first half of 2016.
As a result of this successful week of events in Tempe, The Water Council, AWS-North America and ASU are actively exploring a strategic partnership aligned around addressing water-related issues in both the Great Lakes region and in the western U.S. Additionally, Matt is planning a similar strategic networking week in Canada this coming summer. Follow AWS-North America on Twitter (@WaterStewardNA) or find up-to-date information on future AWS training sessions at www.awsnorthamerica.com.