North Country Convention
North Country Convention 2013
On April 3 and 4, the Joint Environmental Training Coordinating Committee (JETCC) sponsored the 2013 North Country Convention at the Presque Isle Inn and Convention Center.
The North Country Convention (NCC) is held biennially in Presque Isle, Maine and is a 2-day educational event and trade show designed for Wastewater and Drinking Water operators. This conference is held in "The County" to compliment similar annual events offered by Maine Wastewater Control Association (MWWCA) and Maine Water Utilities Association (MWUA). Since those events generally take place in the southern region of the state, the NCC is designed to bring the benefits of those events to the people of northern Maine.
Historically this biennial convention helps unify Maine's wastewater industry while providing educational opportunities for water pollution control professionals in northern Maine. In addition, E.J. Prescott also participated as a sponsor and helped to ensure that additional classes were also available for Drinking Water operators.
This year's event was well-attended and a great success: the 133 participants consisted of 39 vendor representatives and a multitude of instructors who volunteered their time and expertise. Assisting in various capacities, volunteers from MWWCA and the JETCC Board of Directors also helped to ensure things went smoothly.
Along with educational events, this two-day trade show featured manufacturer's representatives displaying wares and services pertinent to the water and wastewater industries.
New in 2013, we also welcomed members of the Maine Chapter of American Public Works Association (APWA).
Twenty-five different training sessions were offered allowing participants to achieve up to 12 hours of continuing education toward their water or wastewater licenses. Topics included pump applications, the latest on non-dispersibles and pump clogs, CCTV technology, utility lien law, Maine WARN, instrumentation and SCADA, emergency generators, lab and process control practices, and stormwater management among others.
The convention kicked off with an opening address from Presque Isle’s City Manager James Bennett followed by a DEP Briefing and DWP Update.
The afternoon luncheon on April 3 featured a keynote address by Maine DEP Commissioner, Patricia Aho. After circulating the Exhibitor Area and personally speaking with industry representatives, Patricia Aho conveyed how her childhood experiences formed her environmental consciousness at an early age. Commissioner Aho also discussed the Maine DEP’s initiative to educate the public on the safe disposal of household medical sharps.
On April 4 the conference began with a full breakfast buffet in the exhibit area and officers of MWWCA offered an entertaining address during lunch.
At the end of the 2-day conference participants reconvened for a final thought-provoking presentation from NOAA’s National Weather Service Meteorologist Richard Okulski. His presentation reflected upon historical weather patterns along with some of Maine’s more extreme weather events and how they relate to the work that water and wastewater operators do.
This year JETCC created a schedule to ensure that conference participants and exhibitors had ample time together. In addition to the April 3 Meet & Greet and the 1 ½ hour full-breakfast buffet on April 4, more frequent and longer breaks were held in the Exhibit Area.
JETCC would like to thank the sponsors of the North Country Convention: Maine Wastewater Control Association, E.J. Prescott, Wright-Pierce, CES Inc., HP Fairfield LLC, and Hayes Pump.
All-in-all the event was a great unifier for Maine's drinking water, wastewater and pollution control community, and provided a wealth of networking and educational opportunities. JETCC would like to thank this year’s participants, volunteer instructors, exhibitors and sponsors for another successful event.
We're looking forward to the next North Country Convention in 2015!