The Water Leadership Institute (WLI), a program of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) that is designed to encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, and professional commitment from future leaders of the water quality sector, has launched a new website to accept applications for its 2012 program. Water, wastewater and stormwater professionals are encouraged to apply before the submission deadline on January 15, 2012.

The WLI provides education, training and networking with a blended learning approach that includes examination of complex water challenges, management training, and leadership development.

Following a free application, program tuition is $995 and includes full conference registration to WEFTEC 2012 in New Orleans, plus the curriculum delivered online by expert instructors and guests from water and wastewater utilities, companies active in the sector, government agencies, communications firms, and financial groups. A competitive application process will determine program participation.

Visit for more information about the program and application process. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) is an endorsing partner of the program.

In related news, WEF announced the promotion of Eileen O”Neill, Ph.D., to the position of deputy executive director and the promotion of Matthew Ries to chief technical officer.

As deputy executive director, WEF says Dr. O”Neill will focus on pursuing innovation opportunities and global and academic relations, as well as supporting WEF Executive Director Jeff Eger in his responsibilities. She served most recently as WEF’s chief technical officer.

In his new assignment as chief technical officer, Ries will fulfill many of the responsibilities formerly held by O”Neill, including oversight of technical programming and development for WEFTEC, (WEF’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference), as well as educational, training, periodicals, publications, and Web-based initiatives.