Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Undersecretary Bryan McClinton has announced that Lafayette will be the host site for the annual Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Administrative Officers Workshop (AOW) and Conservation Business Managers Association (CBMA) Joint Conference September 11-14, 2023. AFWA and CBMA administrative officers are dedicated to raising the standards and establishing best practices promoting a broader understanding and acceptance of the value of business management as a tool of natural resource management.
This annual conference provides an opportunity for fish and wildlife agency administrative leaders in Procurement, Licensing, Information Technology, Human Resources, Finance, and Budget to interact with peers from agencies throughout the United States and Canada. Although this will be a first for Louisiana, the first conference was hosted by WAFWA in 1961.
Undersecretary McClinton notes that Louisiana “seems to be the platypus of the United States, tending to always be a little different”. This year’s conference will include an educational swamp tour, a tour of the Tabasco hot sauce plant at Avery Island, and an award ceremony banquet at the Acadian Village complete with a zydeco band. These are some of the entertaining activities for attendees, but he notes that the "real étouffée" is within the meetings. Speakers include Ryan Oster from the National Conservation Training Center discussing indirect cost and top audit findings, world-renowned Chef John Folse explaining the diversity in the ingredients that make a good gumbo and a quality workforce, and World Series champion and SEC Network analyst David Dellucci sharing the concepts of training, forward-thinking, and building a successful team. Each attendee will receive a book by author and speaker Jennifer Ledet on succeeding in the face of adversity.
Beyond these presentations, individual committee breakout sessions will be offered for participants to learn about issues, legislation changes, and best practices in their respective fields.