96: Story, comedy, and the art of tough conversations with Tom Kunetz

Tom Kunetz is the Immediate Past President of the Water Environment Federation. He is currently the Assistant Director of Monitoring and Research for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, and is also on the Board of Directors of the Water Research Foundation. He has over 35 years’ experience in the water sector as an environmental engineer. He is a registered Professional Engineer, a recipient of the Charles Walter Nichols Award for Environmental Excellence from the American Public Works Association, and a WEF Fellow.


  • The art of having difficult conversations. Tom talks us through the steps of having conversations with people who hold different beliefs and opinions than ourselves.
  • The value of diversity in communication styles.
  • Tom gives us part two of the WEFTEC 2019 story he told at the Opening General Session.
  • We discuss why speaking “human” and speaking to the emotional level of people is so important when communicating about data.
  • Second City’s role in forging Tom’s place in the water industry.
  • We talk about Matt Damon, Brave Blue World, and how lucky we are to be the ones that get to solve the global water crisis.

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