For more than 60 years, the family-owned Automatic Water Conditioning Co. has served central New Jersey with the mindset of providing customers outstanding service and customized solutions. That attitude is what has helped the company stay strong throughout the years, said managing partner Bill Simmons.
Andrew John Wilson’s start in the water treatment industry began with a night of reminiscing about the good old days with a childhood friend. In the 1970s, his friend’s father started Angel Soft Water, and Wilson remembered watching the company prosper, easily selling softeners to homeowners who were more than willing to purchase a product that would make their lives easier and their appliances work smoothly.
At Lemens WaterCare LLC in Luxemburg, Wis., there is a relatively small group of people working to keep water quality intact for local communities in Kewaunee, Brown and Door counties. Led by president James Simonar, the company focuses on delivering a variety of services to customers, from filtration systems and reverse osmosis (RO) systems to water softener salt and bottled water.
What's the secret to success as a water dealer? If you ask Pete Van Cleave, founder, owner and CEO of Water for Life in Atlanta, it's good old-fashioned hard work.
Water for Life has been one of the leading water dealers in Atlanta since it opened for business in 1991. The region presents its own unique challenges. Granite is prevalent in the soil, resulting in water with a low pH and high iron content. In 2010, an Environmental Working Group study placed Atlanta among the top 25 U.S. cities with high concentrations of chromium-6, a possible carcinogen, in the water supply.
A weathered van, a cardboard box full of parts, a dozen customers: These are the tokens of Clements Water Refining Service’s humble beginnings. Founded in 1972 by Roger and Joan Clements, the business originally operated out of the family home in Alpena, Mich. Roger had previously worked in the local oil industry, but after a poor economic showing, he decided to pursue water treatment.
“[My father took note of] a mostly ignored water softening division and saw it as an opportunity [to start a family business],” said John Clements, Roger’s and Joan’s son.
For Vicky Burtis, a career in water treatment was not always in the cards. Starting out as a procurement and contracts employee for the government, she never considered working in the water industry until a gregarious neighbor approached her with the prospect.
“I lived next door to the Rhoades family,” Burtis said, noting that patriarch Robert Rhoades owned Water Doctor, a local water treatment company in Annapolis Junction, Md. “He asked me to come and work for him.”
A few weeks ago, Bob Coakley went on a local sales call in Harrisonburg, Va. A customer scheduled a home service consultation with his company—Water Works Water Treatment Inc.—so Coakley brought along his top-selling equipment.
“Our big thing now is total home water protection,” Coakley said. “When we come out to your home, we talk to you about how water affects you in all areas of the house.”
Thirty years ago, Dean Lewis was a sales manager for a coin-operated laundry company in Colorado. Steeped in a declining market, laundry service no longer seemed like a viable career, so Lewis answered an ad for a sales position at a local Culligan dealership—and he was hired.
Rich Anderson spent years in the corporate world, most recently as the vice president of sales for Aquion Water Treatment Products, before becoming founder and CEO of ClearView Water LLC, in Denver in 2009.