We celebrated the start of summer with a return to our offices for employees who wished to do so. The past 15 months have certainly been filled with challenges for many of our employees – both office-based and those who continued to staff critical infrastructure across the country. However, the pandemic provided us with unique opportunities to connect, collaborate, and live out our mission and values. For example, we celebrated Founder’s Day early with an inaugural Woodard & Curran Virtual Summit on June 17 during which people from different practices and business departments came together to showcase our project work and our successes in the past year.
The Virtual Summit also afforded us the opportunity to announce the 2021 Frank Woodard Leadership through Innovation Award recipient, as well as honor the diligent work of the 2020 award winners. Furthermore, our Recognition Committee announced the annual Standing Ovation Awards for Client Excellence, Core Culture Excellence, Safety Excellence, and Technical Excellence. These four awards recognize employees who have gone above and beyond in the past year, working with our mission and values in the forefront of their effort.
The Frank Woodard Leadership through Innovation Award was established in 2019 to honor Frank’s innovative and technical insight, as well as the values he embodied that are fundamental to the character of our firm. Recipients of the award receive 80 paid hours to explore and develop an innovative idea to positively impact our work and our clients.
Of the submissions, the Recognition Committee selected Susan Brownstein’s idea, called the Interactive Potable Reuse Optimization Tool, or iPRO, which will help foster projects that embrace potable reuse of municipal effluent. As national and state initiatives continue to lay the institutional and regulatory framework for utilities to formally consider potable reuse pathways, iPRO will leverage the Swiss cheese model of risk analysis and management to interactively explore the technical, managerial, and operational barriers utilized in indirect and direct potable reuse projects as “slices” of cheese to protect against latent and active risks. This tool will provide our recycled water practice the ability to leverage, standardize, and add to the many ad hoc visual models we have developed to explain the complex regulatory requirements for direct and indirect potable reuse projects. Woodard & Curran’s ability to make these concepts accessible to a variety of audiences has been a key differentiator in helping to explain potable reuse frameworks to a variety of audiences, and a more formalized approach to developing and disseminating these visualization tools will further cement our ability to support our clients and communities in potable reuse planning, design, and permitting.
The Standing Ovation Award recipients were announced following the Virtual Summit. Their accomplishments showcase their talent and dedication to Woodard & Curran, their colleagues, and our clients. The recipients for the awards include:
Client Excellence recognizes a significant impact or contribution to an internal or external client, going above and beyond the call of duty to meet a client’s needs.
Core Culture Excellence recognizes an individual or group effort to develop and perpetuate an enjoyable, gratifying, and fulfilling place to work, and providing a significant contribution to the growth of an individual as an employee.
Safety Excellence recognizes an individual or group demonstrating a personal commitment to improve safety and health in the workplace, contribute to Woodard & Curran’s efforts to increase safety awareness, and promote a strong safety culture.
Technical Excellence, an award named for former Vice President Mike Alberi, recognizes an innovative approach to complex and industrial waste issues, commitment to technical excellence, and leadership in profession.
Woodard & Curran is unique in many ways. One important quality that separates us from our peers is our true commitment to our people, our clients, and our communities. Our recognition program is an important way in which we showcase this commitment and recognize employees who have gone above and beyond in living our values and mission. I would like to personally thank each of this year’s award recipients for helping to make Woodard & Curran such a special place to work. Heartfelt congratulations to all!