Tri-County Water in Jackson, Mich., has been the Watts’ family business for almost three generations. According to Daniel Watts, general manager, his grandfather led the way into the water industry and the family has followed suit ever since. “My grandfather got his start delivering exchange tanks out of a milk truck in the ‘50s. He then transitioned to selling automatic water softeners,” Watts said.
Southern Michigan water business transitions to its third generation of owners
In 1989, Secondwind Environmental opened its doors in Manchester, N.H., bringing new life to water treatment in the state and a new career for its three founders. Christine Fletcher and her husband, Crispin Fletcher, both left the computer industry while their third business partner, Jan Beauvais, left a job in the manufacturing industry.
A second career for its three founders, one New Hampshire dealer has stayed savvy for nearly 25 years
In 1993, Scott Hillman got out of the U.S. Air Force in Indiana, met a young lady, married and set up roots. He began working for a water treatment company in Kokomo, Ind., where he learned the ins and outs of the industry.
In 2001, a tragic turn of events led him back to his home state. “I lost [my wife] to cancer, so there was really nothing to keep me in Indiana,” he said. “So in early 2002 I moved back to [western New York] and started setting myself up for my own business.”
Western New York water dealer shifts focus from plumbing to water quality
West Carolina Water Treatment opened its doors in January 1996 as a husband-wife team servicing the western counties of North Carolina. But when owners Jack and Joyce Brown decided to retire, they had to look no further for a new owner than their customers.
The Warwicks — Tom, Kathy and their son Dennis — had been customers of West Carolina Water Treatment for 10 years.
Dennis was interested in the elaborate water treatment system at his parents’ rental property and had recently graduated school and was looking for a career path.
Dealership grows business through new clients and chemical-free treatment
DeWayne Hanes got his start in the water industry in Nebraska in 1965 when he began working for a Culligan dealership. After leaving Culligan, he became a distributor for General Ionics, a water conditioning company that built equipment that was largely utilized by NASA.
Nebraska company’s clean water system addresses specific water quality concerns
Matt and Catherine Gilby purchased Southeast Texas Water in January 2011, and with the new adventure came old ties.
Catherine is carrying on the legacy of her grandparents, H.D. (“Tex”) and Emma Strait, who moved to Beaumont, Texas, 45 years ago to purchase a Culligan business. Tex’s middle son, Henry Strait, and his wife, Fran, then purchased Southeast Texas Water from his parents in 1994, and now it is Henry’s daughter’s turn to run the business with her husband.
Southeast Texas Water's new family owners look to technology to streamline their business
Vermont Water Inc. has just three employees, however, the company is currently experiencing the benefits of robust economy with a lot of business. Company President John Beauchamp credits this success to an abundance of business that has come through word of mouth.
“Doing quality work, treating our customers fairly and being responsive to their needs seem to be the techniques that have stood the test of time,” he said about Vermont Water’s ability to prosper even in the midst of economic downturn.
Vermont Water Inc. thrives due to its special emphasis on water treatment education and training
As a manufacturer of water treatment equipment, Hellenbrand is no small name, but one Hellenbrand has made his own name in the dealership side of the industry. KH Water Specialists in Mukwonago, Wis., is owned by Kevin Hellenbrand, the son of Jim and Florence, who founded Hellenbrand Water Conditioners in 1967.
“I got started because my father started Hellenbrand Water, so I grew up along with my brothers,” he said. “We all rode along and got to help out here and there, so it’s basically what I’ve done all my life.”
Son of Wisconsin manufacturer makes a name for himself as a dealer
In his early 20s, Bill Certain, president of Certain Water Service Inc. in Port Charlotte, Fla., was captivated by the water industry while working for a dairy supply company in Okeechobee, Fla. “My employer sent me to a school in Illinois to train on their supplies, and we spent most of the time on the importance of soft water and how much soap and supplies the dairy industry could save. I was sold from that point,” he said.
Florida water professional finds his niche in the water industry
Glenn Karn opened the doors of NorthWest Water Treatment in Kent, Wash., 17 years ago, but the idea was many years in the making. Karn began working in the water treatment industry in 1973, right out of high school. A Culligan dealership in Seattle needed someone to throw a bunch of garbage into a dumpster and Karn said he did it so fast that they decided to hire him.
Washington state father-son business embraces technology in the water treatment industry