DENVER -- Public affairs expert Jeanne Bennett-Bailey of Fairfax, Va., began her one-year term as president of the American Water Works Association, the world’s largest association of water professionals, following a gavel passing ceremony at the conclusion of AWWA’s Annual Conference & Exposition (ACE16) in Chicago.
As an active member of AWWA, Bennett-Bailey was the Association’s Volunteer of the Year in 2014 and has served as chair of the Public Affairs Council and as a member of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, the Utility Quality Management Committee and the Diversity and Member Inclusion Committee. Now retired, she most recently served as the public affairs officer for Fairfax Water in Fairfax, Va., the state’s largest water utility.
During her term as president, Bennett-Bailey will focus on workforce development, young professionals and the Association’s Water Equation Campaign, which supports programs such as the Community Engineering Corps and the One AWWA Operator scholarship.
“What better way to tell the next generation we’re interested in them than to invest in them,” Bennett-Bailey said. “I want to make sure they have all the information and materials they need, when, where and how they need it.”
In light of the water crisis in Flint, Mich., solving the problem of lead in water continues to be a focus of AWWA’s work and will be for Bennett-Bailey during her term. “I want to support initiatives already begun,” she said. “I’m looking forward to helping members find the solutions we’re looking for in terms of lead and lead removal and corrosion control management.”
Bennett-Bailey accepted the gavel from Immediate Past President Gene Koontz, senior vice president at Gannett Fleming in Harrisburg, Pa., who said her communications background makes her, “The right person at the right time.”
Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.