Thursday, May 29 marked our 2nd Quarterly Member Meeting of 2014! Thank you to Marquette University for hosting us in the beautiful Eckstein Hall – Marquette Law School. As always, it was a pleasure to see so many familiar faces, as well as many new members attending for the first time. For those that were unable to attend, here is a brief recap.

Fr. Robert Wild, Interim President, Marquette University, welcomed The Water Council and Members to the recently completed Eckstein Hall, new home to Marquette University’s Law School, which offers breathtaking views of Downtown Milwaukee from it’s expansive multi-story glass wall. Marquette University is also a proud sponsor of Water Summit 2014: Thriving in the Global Water Economy, June 18-19.

Featured Panel: The Alliance for Regional Development (ARD), which included panelists Dr. Carmel Ruffolo, Director of Corporate Engagement & Regional Development, UW-Milwaukee/UW-Parkside; Kelly O’Brien, President & CEO, Alliance for Regional Development; and Dave Terrel, Director of Economic Development Policy, Ball State University, representing Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, respectively, spoke to the group about preliminary plans to create a multi-state alliance to improve the competitiveness of the Great Lakes region globally, focused on several different industries. The Water Council was identified as a major asset/partner due to our expertise in economic development surrounding the freshwater industry.
The ARD noted that by working together to promote the capabilities of the regional workforce, assets, and strengths, all three States will prosper, and the model created can be transferred to other areas in the United States. Some of the items noted in an OECD Report identified: Matching Skills to Jobs in the Tri-State Region; Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the Tri-State Region; Increasing the Region’s Competitiveness Through Green Growth; Transportation & Logistics; and Effective Institutional Arrangements in the Tri-State Region, as areas of concern that would certainly benefit if such an alliance was formed.

Marketing Update: Meghan Jensen, Director of Marketing & Membership, The Water Council, gave a brief overview of some of the exciting activities that have occurred since our last quarterly meeting, including the visit from French Ambassador Delattre, Milwaukee’s Hardware Hackathon at the Global Water Center, the Hong Kong Trade Development panel discussion, 1-on-1 meetings with Korean Delegations, and the addition of 10 new Water Council Members.

The main focus was on Water Summit 2014, which is quickly approaching. She talked briefly about the exciting events and tracks that we have assembled for this year’s Summit that promises to be the largest to date as we welcome the International Water Association’s Board of Directors.

Members that were added since our last quarterly meeting include: MikroFlot Technologies, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., Watersurplus, J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Mequon Nature Preserve, MacLean Fogg Component Solutions, J.F. Ahern Co., Hughes Equipment Company, LLC, and GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. Benefits of becoming a Member of The Water Council include, use of Member Logo, attendance at various Water Council events, discounts to events hosted by The Water Council, including Water Summit 2014, reduced event-space rental rates at the Global Water Center, and countless opportunities to connect with other world-class water professionals. Become a Member Today!

Talent Campaign: Heather Koehn, Campaign Co-Chair & Marketing Manager, Pentair, and Joe Russell, Campaign Co-Chair & President, Watertech America, gave a call to action for those in attendance and all Members to increase their engagement through the Pay It Forward Campaign. Examples of ways this can be accomplished is by offering tours at your respective facility, making yourself available to be a featured speaker or panelist at industry events, or connect over coffee with future water leaders. If you are unsure of how you can become engaged, Heather will be happy to assist you in identifying engagement opportunities that fit your schedule, contact her at,

The BREW: Elizabeth Thelen, Director of Entrepreneurship & Talent, The Water Council, provided a brief update about the judging process for Batch 2 of The BREW accelerator. Pitch sessions to the judges were recently completed, and final discussions are underway. Decisions will be made in the next few weeks in time to announce the Batch 2 winners at Water Summit 2014. The inaugural class will also be graduated during a special ceremony, hosted by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Guest Presenters:

Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB)
 Jeff Hopton, Project Specialist – Water Sector, and Toni White, Adult Services Manager, described who MAWIB is and how our membership and the public at large can benefit from the programs they offer. In brief, MAWIB is the Administrative and Fiscal Entitiy of federal funds available under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) for MIlwaukee County. They administer, coordinate, and collaborate workforce development programs for the youth, adults, and dislocated workers of Milwaukee County.

MAWIB accomplishes this by offering services to businesses, funding services for job seekers, overseeing WIA Training funds, and creating collaborative partnerships amongst various partner entities. Projects that it is currently tackling in the water sector are: Milwaukee’s Regional Water Accelerator Grant, Water Industry Training in Manufacturing, and the Water Technician Certificate through MATC. They are currently looking for a partners for the Wisconsin Fast Forward Grant, which is $15 million in grants for employer-led worker training programs intended to provide essential assistance that cannot be met through existing programs. For more information please download the 2014 Q2 Member Meeting Presentation below.

Fund for Lake Michigan
 Vicki Elkin, Executive Director, Fund for Lake Michigan, addressed attendees to describe some of the projects that the Fund for Lake Michigan has been involved with. Established in 2008, the Fund receives payments of $4 million annually for 25 years to support projects that address, reduce and mitigate water quality impacts. The Fund has awarded 71 grants totaling roughly $7.5 million between 2011-2013, and has helped secure over $12 million in federal funding for Wisconsin.

Fund grants have created over 485 jobs, added $35 million to the economy and increased property values by $45 million. Additionally, grantees have revitalized waterfronts, transformed polluted and neglected land, restored over 70 miles of degraded waterways to locations for fishing and recreation, and also restored 100 acres of wetland, creating high-quality habitat and reducing downstream flooding.

Recently awarded grants have helped fund the Great Lakes Genomics Center at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences, the green roof installation at the Global Water Center, PaveDrain pavers at Reed Street Yards, and Spancrete porous concrete to be installed this summer along Freshwater Way, between 2nd and 3rd streets. To learn more about Fund for Lake Michigan grants, contact Vicki Elkin, at

To download the 2014 Q2 Member Meeting Presentation CLICK HERE

This post was tagged under: Marquette University, Water Council Members