Build Your Skills Series: Be a Better Communicator, Leader

Communication: A Critical Soft Skill

Thursday, April 19
8:50 AM - 10:50 AM
Location: Meeting Room 308, Sacramento Convention Center

SWRCB Wastewater: .05 CEU

CWEA: 2 Contact Hours

Practice Area: Curated

Effective communication is critical in our industry. Operators, engineers, mechanics and others must be able to interact seamlessly to achieve common objectives that protect human health and the environment. Various forms of communication, including strategies for ensuring that intended messages are appropriately received will be presented.

Learner Outcomes:

Level: Intermediate; working knowledge of subject matter / journeyman level staff

Laurie Brenner

Finance & Acquisition Services Coach
Union Sanitary District


Laurie has a Master’s degree in Business Administration (2004) and holds Wastewater (Grade V), Water Treatment and Distribution Operator certifications with the State Water Resources Control Board, a certificate in Continuous Quality Improvement from UC Berkeley, and is both a Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) and Certified Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Auditor (CHA) with the American Society for Quality. Laurie also obtained a Certificate in Public Performance Measurement from Rutgers University (2014). Laurie is currently employed as the Finance and Acquisition Services Coach at the Union Sanitary District, but started with the District as a Wastewater Operator and also served as the Organizational Performance Program Manager before taking on her current role in finance.

Laurie is the current Vice-Chair (again) , and past Chair for the San Francisco Bay Section of the California Water Environment Association’s Professional Development Committee (PDC), actively participating in developing, hosting and facilitating educational seminars and activities for local industry professionals. Additionally, Laurie teaches wastewater treatment classes for operator prospects in the local regional occupational program (ROP) at the Castro Valley Adult & Career Education Center, including hosting mock interviewing intended to provide aspiring operators with the skills and knowledge necessary to obtain industry jobs.

Laurie loves to hike and kayak in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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Howard Brewen

Water Resource Recovery Facility Superintendent
city of San Luis Obispo


Howard Brewen has worked for the City of San Luis Obispo for the past 15 years and currently serves as the Superintendent of the Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) for the City. Howard’s entrepreneurial experience in the private sector has brought sustainability innovation to the municipal environment. Under Howard’s direction, the City of San Luis Obispo has collaborated with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in a $9.75M Energy Efficiency Project at the WRRF, the first of its kind in California. Howard served as a member of the Core Management Team overseeing a $140 Million WRRF upgrade which will deliver the latest in water resource recovery technology. The City of San Luis Obispo’s Utilities Department was awarded Utility of the Future at the WEFTEC 2016 annual conference Howard’s passion for mentoring has established a robust Intern Program for individuals interested in obtaining State Certification for Wastewater Treatment Operator as well as students from Cal Poly University that are interested in gaining experience in the Water and Wastewater field; the goal being to help those student and individuals with job placement at the conclusion of their internships. Howard is also working with Cal Poly to further an extensive student Research and Development project on the use of algae for Wastewater Treatment and Biofuel which is housed at the City’s WRRF. Howard received his Bachelor of Science degree from U.C. Davis.


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Communication: A Critical Soft Skill


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