PNCWA2019 Opening Session

 Monday, September 10, 8:15-9:15AM, Oregon Convention Center Portland Ballroom 251, 252, 253, 258


8:15 Welcome and Introductions by Jim Baird, PNCWA President
8:22  Keynote Speaker: Keith Thomajan, Chief of Staff of Dutch Bros Coffee and recent CEO and President of the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette
8:52 Joan Hawley, WEF Board of Trustees and president of Superior Engineering  
9:10 Conference Announcements

9:15 Adjourn


Bridging the Gaps in Bridgetown 

Keith Thomajan, Chief of Staff of Dutch Bros Coffee and recent CEO and President of the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, will be our 2019 keynote speaker. Building on over 100 years of “mobilizing the caring power of communities to advance the common good”, the opening session will focus on how industry professionals can continue to impact communities in a rapidly growing and evolving Pacific Northwest. As the economic gap in our region grows wider, as our population becomes increasingly diverse and sometimes more divided, and as low-income neighborhoods and communities of color experience even greater education and health disparities, session attendees will learn about their individual role in meeting these challenges head on. Attendees will understand how providing equitable access to healthy watersheds and clean water is a part of the solution to bridging the gaps in our communities and advancing the common good. The opening session will motivate attendees to not only to individually gain the maximum benefit from the conference but to also be inspired to better provide the people in our region with a basic human right: access to clean water and sanitation. 

 Joan Hawley, member of the WEF Board of Trustees and president of Superior Engineering, will build on this topic by providing real-life examples of work that is being done around the nation that protects our environment while also closes the disparity gaps. Joan will help attendees take some of the “why’s” presented in Keith’s talk and focus on a few “how’s”. Joan will present a few bridge-building programs being implemented by stormwater and wastewater agencies, as well as highlighting some of the efforts that WEF is taking to tackle our industry’s workforce challenges, such as the INFLOW program which has been adopted by PNCWA at this year’s conference.

Opening Session Speaker Bios: 

Keith Thomajan, Chief of Staff, Dutch Bros Coffee and former President & Chief Executive Officer, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette 

Prior to joining Dutch Bros Coffee in May, Keith took the helm as President/CEO, at United Way of the Columbia-Willamette in 2012. That year the organization set a local record by raising $22 million. In his first year, Keith managed the acquisition of Hands On Greater Portland, enabling United Way to better support community volunteerism. In 2013, United Way launched a ten-year effort to Break the Cycle of Childhood Poverty in our region, citing data that reflects 20% of local kids growing up in poverty, and acute educational, economic and health disparities in our communities of color. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are fundamental values for United Way, both internally and externally.  

Keith’s team worked closely with community, corporate and philanthropic partners to serve as the backbone partner for the Breaking the Cycle and equity work, and to mobilize the community to join the movement to re-write the script for our low-income kids and families.

With a passion for both guiding growing organizations and promoting philanthropy, Thomajan assumed his post at Dutch Bros on May 3, 2019. As chief of staff at Dutch Bros, he will also oversee government and community affairs, philanthropy and sustainability.


Joan Hawley, member of the 2018-2019 Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and president of Superior Engineering, LLC

Joan Hawley founded Superior Engineering in 2002 to provide solutions to preserve the environment with specific focus on operations and maintenance (O&M) at water resource recovery facilities and collection systems.  

She has more than 30 years of experience in the water industry in municipal, consulting and construction including: utility assessment and asset management programs; O&M programs for resource recovery facilities and collection systems; collection system rehabilitation; resource optimization; and sustainable O&M and capital programs.   

A WEF member since 1986, Joan became involved in the WEF Collection Systems Committee (CSC) in 1990. She was on the CSC Steering Committee in 2003, was vice chair in 2005 and chair from 2008 to 2010. She served on the Committee Leadership Council as vice chair and chair, was part of the team that restructured the WEF committees for the first time in more than 30 years, and has served on many task forces. 

Joan is a registered professional engineer in Wisconsin, Washington and Michigan and has a Professional Operator Class I Collections License and a Grade IV Wisconsin Operator License and a Professional Operators License/ABC in Collection Systems Class 1.