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Garver Wastewater Treatment Leader Christenson Elected WEAT President

Dylan Christenson
Dylan Christenson
FORT WORTH, TX — Garver Texas Wastewater Treatment Leader Dylan Christenson, Ph.D., PE, officially began his term as President of the Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT) board during the annual Texas Water Conference in Fort Worth.

A nonprofit, educational organization, WEAT unites water professionals with diverse backgrounds and expertise — engineers, scientists, operators, collection system specialists, maintenance workers, professors, researchers, and utility managers. Its history of protecting water resources can be traced back to 1928.

Christenson’s own history with WEAT dates back to his time as a graduate student at Texas Tech University, where he pursued first a master’s degree and then a doctoral degree in civil engineering. Central to his career as a water professional, WEAT opened the door to the water industry and the community of people that continue to inspire and motivate him.

The WEAT chapter in Lubbock sent professionals to meet with Texas Tech students, and this both helped Christenson understand the industry and invited him into it. At the same time, operators at the local treatment plant answered his questions. Christenson has never forgotten the positive impacts these two groups made for him personally, or the impact they make for communities across Texas.

WEAT’s tradition of valuing and celebrating operators, of making sure they have a seat at the table, and of serving them is one that Christenson is committed to continuing as Board President. Christenson will also continue the work of former Board President Kristen O’Neill, who began efforts to adjust WEAT’s structure and to rethink how activities such as board and section meetings are held in response to the organization’s rapid growth.

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Another of his chief goals is to continue to bring new voices and underrepresented groups into the water conversation at WEAT by working to connect more geographically isolated sections to the state core and larger sections. In addition to these goals, he is committed to celebrating those in the water industry, solving any issue that threatens to impede the progress of committee and section leaders, and listening to and elevating the diverse water stories coming from across the state.

Christenson sees connection as one of WEAT’s superpowers. “When we try to solve challenges in water and wastewater, we’re working on complicated, broad challenges that are best solved together," he said. "We need all of the stakeholders at the table. Organizations like WEAT have the power to bring those groups together, to unite the consultants, the owners, the manufacturers, the vendors, and the educators. WEAT is a powerful tool, connecting us all, all across the state.”

And that connection is one that has been sustained and strengthened by previous WEAT leadership. Christenson credits those leaders for making WEAT a vehicle to empower members and to bring their ideas and visions to reality. As just one example, he cited Executive Director Julie Nahrgang’s support for an apprenticeship program, and her leadership efforts, which resulted in that apprenticeship program being registered by the Department of Labor, the first of its kind in Texas.

“It may sound cliché,” he said, “but I stand on the shoulders of giants. I’m honored to serve WEAT as Board President, and as I look to the future I will continue to be informed by and to learn from those who have come before me.”

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