With 2008 coming to a close, we can now look back on what was an eventful and challenging year for the water treatment industry. But through our knowledge and active participation, we have been able to overcome the obstacles that confronted our industry this year.
Faced with a struggling economy and sinking housing market well before the year began, many water dealers were able to stay afloat by diversifying and expanding their businesses. Many of the dealers I spoke with throughout the year were virtually unaffected by the state of the housing market because they had the foresight to offer rentals, focus on service and expand their reach into the commercial and light industrial sectors of the industry.
As we look ahead to 2009 and beyond, the commercial/industrial trend is one that should be pursued strongly in order to remain successful in this industry. And with programs such as the WQA’s Commercial Education Program launched earlier this year, and the introduction of the Industrial Speed Dating networking event at WQA Aquatech USA 2008, the association is certainly an accessible resource for dealers and others in the industry to learn about and become familiar with these market segments.
The water treatment industry also faced its share of legislative battles this year, as a war was waged on water softeners. Through strong lobbying efforts and public awareness campaigns, AB 2270—the proposed California water softener ban—was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in late September. This was an excellent example of the power of knowledge, as water treatment professionals worked together to educate the public on what exactly was at stake with this legislation—and were successful in the end.
This goes to show that the best way to remain successful is to keep yourself educated and in the know. By reading trade magazines, actively participating in associations and networking with your peers, you will be aware of current market situations and trends and be better suited to determine your next move.
With this in mind, Water Quality Products is pleased to bring you the third annual 2008-2009 Reference Guide. Within the pages of this issue, you will find current information regarding standards and certification, water treatment techniques and successful business practices. This issue also includes the results of our 2008 State of the Industry Report, which provides current information regarding industry trends and issues according to you, our readers.
As we look ahead to 2009, I am certain it will be another eventful year. Your customers are becoming increasingly aware of and concerned with the quality of their water, so keep up to date on industry issues and trends so you can provide accurate, confident responses.
On behalf of the entire WQP staff, I would like to wish all of you a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year.