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To support the goals of the Division, the Committee is launching a blog on the website to highlight existing utilities and programs across the state. This blog will provide valuable information on existing programs and highlight how more information on the programs can be obtained, thus creating an online database of water education resources.


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Cultivating Knowledge through Committees

Posted By Karen E. Menard, Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Education Division – Consumer Outreach Committee Blog


All Things H2O               October/November 2019 Issue



Cultivating Knowledge through Committees 



What can you teach in a utility?  Do you focus on conservation?  Infrastructure?  Staff, bills, wipes, drinking water?  It’s all important.  And not only do customers need to be aware what’s going on in your utility, but staff does too.  As the Water Education and Communications Coordinator for McAllen Public Utility (MPU), my job is to educate and inform our customers and staff about everything we do from educational camps, tours, workshops, and special events.  But I can’t do this alone.  It’s all done with the help of committees. 




A committee is a group of people who take on the responsibility of managing a specific topic for an organization that is too complicated to be handled by the larger group to which they belong.  Committees help people feel engaged, support the company’s mission, boost staff morale and customer satisfaction as it helps unify a bigger purpose.



Here at MPU, we have four employee led committees made up of members derived from all 13 departments in our Water and Wastewater Systems. We sometimes forget our employees are made up of real people with families and hobbies.  With their help, we get a perspective of both the customer and employee.


  • Public Relations (PR) Committee:  Offer and coordinate services to enhance the visibility and accurately project the key messages of McAllen Public Utility.  The mediums include news and feature releases, publications, coordinated activities, and advertising.  They are responsible for integrating the organization’s identity standards that correspond with the mission and goals.  They do this by hosting and assisting at community events and planning the MPU Annual Night Out.

  • Editorial Committee:  Help improve internal communications by keeping employees informed about issues city wide, operationally, organizationally and socially with a monthly newsletter publication and annual staff yearbook.

  • Orientation Committee:  Escort new employees through a 3-day orientation program derived of tours to all 13 MPU locations.

  • Ambassador Committee:  Official MPU representatives that are key players in emphasis of policies and programs.  They are integrators among the various MPU departments with a role to play in helping promote Strategic Planning Initiatives, deliver new policy orientations to their departments, actively promote benefits of the programs, and plan and organize the MPU Employee Luncheon.


These committees have not only assisted me but have helped MPU grow as an organization.  They are run by passionate, dedicated employees who volunteer their time during their working hours to manage these extra responsibilities for a greater purpose than just going to work.


2020 marks the 10-year anniversary of McAllen Public Utility committees.  What started from a strategic planning meeting has grown into a tradition here at MPU that helps us reinforce our mission and values, connect employees, drive positive results, improve processes and facilitates change.


For those looking for committees or resources, there are many committees (communities) within TAWWA available that can be beneficial.  The TAWWA Education Committee has helped me find a niche in the water industry with people that I can relate to and rely on across the state.  There is always someone willing to help you achieve greater things.  You don’t have to do things alone.


About the Author


Jessica Salinas is the Water Education and Communications Coordinator for McAllen Public Utility (MPU) where she handles educational tours, outreaches and presentations as well as marketing and social media.  Although she recently started her career in the water industry, she has been drinking water for thirty years and has quickly become a water nerd.  Jessica has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Texas Pan American (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) in Edinburg, Texas.   An experienced educator, Jessica has worked in the education field for over ten years in daycares, classrooms, and museum settings and seven years coordinating and assisting in events including concerts, festivals, and conventions.   Jessica is currently the Rio Grande Chapter Chair for the TAWWA Education Division and the Secretary for the TWUA Citrus Association. Within MPU, Jessica serves as the Editor for the monthly newsletter MPU News, Secretary for the Public Relations Committee and tour guide for the Employee Orientation Committee.


Tags:  committees  educational camps  knowledge  mcallen  mcallen public utility  mpu  special events  tours  utility  workshops 

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