Brain Trust

It is safe to say that the annual WQA Aquatech USA tradeshow and conference is the place where the best minds in the water industry come together. We learn from our shared knowledge and shared struggles, and emerge stronger and better prepared for the year ahead. We meet people from all over the world who are influencing the industry, some new arrivals and many of them old friends.

My schedule for this year’s event in San Antonio is already looking tight as I try to prioritize all the educational sessions I would like to attend in hopes of staying up to date on what is new and what is needed for our industry to be successful in the coming years. I’m also hoping to check out some of the newer features at the tradeshow, such as the hands-on sessions, Spanish educational sessions and the Industrial Water Forum/Networking Event.

One of the highlights for me this year will certainly be our presentation of the third annual Water Quality Products’ Dealer of the Year Award. I’m thrilled to announce that Mike Guidara of Truckee Meadows Water Systems Inc. in Reno, Nev., received the most votes from his peers among the 12 dealers we profiled in 2010 as Dealers of the Month in our Dealer Insight newsletter. We want to honor those who do good work while inspiring our readers with examples of success. We are always looking for successful dealers to profile, so feel free to contact me with tips and recommendations. We will be presenting the award to Guidara on Thursday, March 10, at Aquastage 3 at 2:45 p.m. Come to the presentation to support Guidara and all the dealers we profiled in 2010.

As we listen to the many messages that will be given to inspire and motivate our industry at the tradeshow, I hope we will see industry leaders encouraging us to head into the future with the following:

A positive attitude. Those who have survived “The Great Recession” have done so in large part because of a tenacity that refuses to give in to the negativity that ultimately brings down both people and their businesses.

A better financial forecast. As contributing author Jerry Horner says in this issue, “there is no lack of need for the water treatment industry” (page 6). Everyone has had to take a step back to examine the books and determine what is nice versus what is truly necessary, but we can continue to grow cautiously and steadily.

Improved marketing and sales strategies. A changing economy paired with ever-changing media consumption habits demands new strategies for reaching customers. As the public becomes more educated about potential problems with their water, we have more potential customers in wider demographics who must be reached to keep our industry relevant.

Continued development and support of new technologies. Our industry should stand behind new innovations and technologies that are scientifically proven and certified. We also should make serious efforts to educate consumers about what our products can do. Often consumers seek water treatment for aesthetic concerns which are easily tasted, seen and felt, but many are becoming concerned about invisible contaminants in their water. We can empower them with knowledge about the benefits and safety our products and services can provide.

Rebecca Wilhelm is managing editor of Water Quality Products. Wilhelm can be reached at 847.391.1007 or by e-mail at bwilhelm@sgcmail.com.

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