The Suburban Utility Superintendents Association, otherwise known as SUSA, was formed in late 1959. The independent, informal association began as "...a few guys in the south-southwest suburbs that knew each other and wanted to share ideas." The group would gather at someone's office or a local coffee shop.
Before each monthly meeting, the association vice-president would identify a vendor or speaker to present a requested topic. Meeting topics included existing and new materials used in distribution and collection systems; handling of common problems like frozen services, main breaks, and hydrant maintenance; meter reading capabilities and responsibilities; equipment purchasing and maintenance; snowplowing; and any other topic that was common to or unique in the water and wastewater field. At the end of the year, all the presenters were invited to a Christmas meeting as a "Thank You" for their support in the organization.
SUSA has always welcomed vendors to attend meetings as invited guests but has not allowed them to become members. One of the original organizational goals was to promote open discussions of problems and possible solutions, exchange ideas and experiences, and discuss technologies that improve utility operation and efficiency without the bias presented by vendors.
In the early years, there was no thought of formal classes, schools, or scholarships, etc. The organization took in enough money to pay for the lunch expenses and monthly mailings. Over time, the organization expanded. Expansion was not objected to, but was never the goal. In 1978, SUSA began its one-day schools in Brooklyn Center and, in 2001, changed the membership dues from monthly to annually. These changes generated excess money for the association and helped begin and improve the grant and scholarship programs.
In 1995, a group of individuals asked SUSA members to take over the ailing MnAwwa Metro District. A majority of the members did not want to stray from the original association purpose and voted to stay separate from MnAwwa. SUSA did commit to supporting the district and, in 1995, began giving scholarships to operators to attend the MnAwwa and MWOA operations and management schools.
In 2006, SUSA created bylaws and operating policies and procedures; filed Articles of Incorporation with the State of Minnesota; and filed as a 501(c)6 non-profit organization with the Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
SUSA's mission is to provide information, education, networking, and charitable opportunities to water and wastewater professionals to promote public health, safety, and welfare.
SUSA's past, present, and future activities include:
- Monthly networking meetings to promote the industry, the exchanging of ideas and experiences, and discussion of technologies that improve utility operation and efficiency, tending insofar as is practicable, to make nearly standardized practices.
- Utilization of an electronic network (website and email) for the continuous exchanging of ideas and experiences, and discussion of technologies that improve utility operation and efficiency.
- Educational opportunities for the promotion of public health, worker safety, operational efficiency, and continuing education.
- Scholarship programs that develop and build strong supervisory and management skills.
- Making charitable donations, when finances allow, to water-oriented organizations that help the most impoverished people worldwide improve their quality of life through sustainable drinking water, and proper sanitation and hygiene.