Every year brings new and exciting changes to Water Professionals International, but only one is guaranteed, and that is the introduction of the Chair of the Board of Directors. This year, at the annual business meeting, board and members alike shared in the bittersweet moment as Alison McGee welcomed Jim Grassiano as the new Chair of the Board of Directors by passing the meeting gavel.
Alison will finish this year as Past Chair, and will end her four year board involvement in 2024. She served as Vice Chair and Chair Elect through the beginning of the pandemic. This threw everyone into hectic adjustments, but Alison did not shy away from the struggles. She shared, “As much as the pandemic was such a tough event to go through, it was a bit of a blessing in disguise for me.” In fact, she embraced the virtual assignments and found that they allowed her to be more involved. During those first two years, she was able to participate through her pregnancy and maternity leave since meetings and events were remote.
Though the time spent on the board as chairs may be minimal, the relationships created last far beyond the terms served. Alison beamed with gratitude when discussing her interactions with other board members and the WPI team. “We come together and can have meaningful discussions as it relates to WPI. There is no personal agenda; the focus is WPI and being a part of them, meeting their mission, and achieving their goals.” She continues to say that though they do a lot of work and focus on the betterment of WPI and certification for operators, they also take time to get to know one another and connect on hobbies, families, and sports.
One of the biggest challenges Alison faced while serving was navigating the re-brand and changing from “Association of Boards of Certification” to “Water Professionals International.” A rebrand of this size was no easy task, but with Paul Bishop, CEO and WPI President, leading the WPI team and involving the Board of Directors, the transition brought clarity and a new energy to the organization. Alison then became the first to serve as “WPI Chair” and was excited to take part in such a big change.
Her advice to future board members and volunteers is to be curious and come in with an open mind. She encourages future members to ask questions, make connections, and dive into the many facets of WPI. Although Alison is serving her last year now, she is dedicated to staying involved with the organization in the future as an advocate for POs and a volunteer for exam development.
“On behalf of the Board and the WPI team: Thank you, Alison. It has been such an honor getting to know you through your involvement as a volunteer and a subject matter expert, on the board, and as a Professional Operator. We look forward to keeping you around for future developments and watching you continue to grow as an industry leader.” – Paul Bishop, CAE