Thirteen things I learned in 2013

Well, it has arrived. The end of the year is here, or will be in 10 hours or so. I find Dec. 31 to be a fun day to people watch. You see people gorging on candy and sweets and guzzling their body weight in champagne, which usually tells me that they are making a New Year’s resolution to eat better and maybe join a gym…again. Then there are the others that pretend it’s any other day, planning on being in bed by 10 and looking forward to a day off in the middle of the week.

I must admit I’m somewhere in the middle of it all. I have a deep love for New Year’s Eve and the morning that follows just simply because it’s a fresh start. It’s a universal, international, multilingual reset button that we all push at midnight. A new year full of possibilities and new opportunities (cue the cheesy notes of Auld Lang Syne).

I have an annual habit of sitting down on Dec. 31 and writing down the major things I learned that year, as well as the goals I have for the following year. These lists end up on my refrigerator, where they are in full view until I get the next wave of pizza coupons in my mailbox and often fade into oblivion like most resolutions.

This year, I thought I’d bring my annual habit to our blog. As I joined the hydro team here at PennWell in July of 2012, I didn’t really know enough about hydro by the time New Year’s rolled around to comment much. At the time, I was still soaking up the basics and learning the differences between Kaplan and Pelton.

So here are 13 things I learned in 2013:

1.) Washington is listening. Thanks to the efforts of the NHA and organizations like it, we as an industry made a splash this year when the President signed the “Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013” into law.

2.) Second? H.R. 678. Otherwise known as the “Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act”, which amended the Reclamation Project Act of 1939.

3.) More than 3,100 attendees from 53 different countries. 320 exhibitors. HydroVision International was the place to be in July. I was absolutely blown away by the event and more importantly, by all of you. We may have planned the event but you made it what it was. From the keynote and packed informational sessions to the exhibit floor and karaoke, it was fantastic getting to meet you all and discuss what’s happening in the industry. After what I saw in Denver, I can hardly wait for HydroVision 2014 in Nashville!

4.) I heard from many of you that your favorite part of HydroVision this year was the fact that you came home with a‘dam’ shirt. I can’t blame you. That shirt was fantastic.

5.) The hydro team has some serious creative clout. Our blog posts range from technical and informative to witty and humorous depending on the week. We have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to chat candidly about the industry, and not just from the technical perspective. The only thing that would make our blogs better is your comments. Come on, you know you want to (pardon the shameless plug).

6.) You all are talking about hydropower. I say this because after publishing my blog post about getting out there and being vocal about the industry, I received some great e-mails from you telling me what you were doing to push the industry forward. To that, I saw bravo, and speak up even louder in the new year.

7.) After hearing it more than 25 times this year, I have accepted the title graciously of “young Marla Barnes.”

8.) We are more than just professionals with common interests — this industry is a community. In some ways, it’s a very large, often dysfunctional, loud, but always practical family. This year, many of you became my friends. So thank you.

9.) If I want to break the silence in a room at a hydropower event, all I need to do is drop two words: “dam” and“removal.”

10.) I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again — this is the most friendly, most accepting industry I’ve ever encountered. Proof? You all clapped during my karaoke debut at HydroVision. Good people right there.

11.) Hydropower owes a large portion of its success to the sheer amount of practical knowledge and expertise you all bring to the table. From editing your articles to listening to you tell me about your latest innovation at your plant, I’m impressed by the collective dedication and intelligence of this industry.

12.) The more meetings I attend, the more excited I get about the future of this industry. Between what the Hydro Research Foundation is doing, some of the student presentations I’ve had the privilege of hearing, and the young professionals I’ve met in the past year, the future of hydropower is in good hands.

13.) Each and every e-mail, retweet, magazine subscription, comment on or, handshake at HydroVision, or follow on LinkedIn is a reminder of why I love my job. I love being able to look back over my year and see proudly that we provided you with practical, relevant, and useful information (with a side of humor from me).

Well there you have it. I can safely speak for our whole team when I wish you and yours a very happy New Year and best of luck in all you do in the year to come.

Here’s to a great 2014!

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Bethany Duarte formerly was associate editor of Hydro Review and HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide magazines.

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