PNCWA2019 Opening Session

 Monday, September 10, 8:15-9:15AM, Oregon Convention Center Portland Ballroom 251, 257, 258


8:15 Welcome and Introductions by Jim Baird, PNCWA President
8:25  Keynote Speaker: Keith ThomajanPresident & Chief Executive Officer, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette 
8:55 Questions & Answers
9:05 Scholarship Announcements/Presentations

9:10 Conference Announcements
Rob Lee, 2019 Conference Chair
9:15 Adjourn


Bridging the Gaps in Bridgetown 

Keith Thomajan, CEO and President of the United Way, 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 the water industry professionals can continue 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. Water practitioners will understand how providing equitable access to 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. 


Opening Session Keynote Speaker: 

Keith ThomajanPresident & Chief Executive Officer, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette 

Prior to Keith’s tenure at United Way of the Columbia Willamettehe taught for Teach for America, was an instructor for Pacific Crest Outward Bound School and assumed leadership for Hurricane Island Outward Bound School’s youth-at-risk program. Keith became President/CEO at Camp Fire Columbia in 2001 and was instrumental in the revitalization of the 100-year old organizationKeith 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 works 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.