The Main Event

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This year’s WQA Aquatech USA tradeshow will be held March 17 to 21 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago (Rosemont), Ill., near O’Hare Intl. Airport and about 30 minutes from downtown Chicago. Water Quality Products asked Peter Censky, executive director of the Water Quality Association (WQA), to provide some insight to what attendees can expect at the industry’s main event this year.

Stephanie Harris: Will this year’s WQA Aquatech USA tradeshow offer anything new for attendees?

Peter Censky: Changing times call for new approaches, and WQA Aquatech USA is well aware of the challenges that many in the water treatment field are facing. That is why we have added new elements to the show to present strategies to not only survive but to thrive during these times.

The additional conference elements will look at how to navigate through the economic realities everyone is facing. Owners of established water treatment businesses will lead discussions on best practices. This series of interactive panel discussions will cover topics from planning to operations.

Attendees are encouraged to send their business-related questions in advance to wqaforum@wqa.org.

Harris: What will be some key events not to miss during the show?

Censky: If you attended last year, you probably heard about or attended the successful Industrial Speed Dating networking program. This special forum brings together manufacturers, consulting engineers and other water treatment professionals. Last year, nearly 50 companies—from major corporations to smaller, new businesses—took advantage of the event.

And new this year, we are offering an Industrial Pavilion at the show. Attendees can expand business alliances and learn the latest in industrial installation and service, consulting and manufacturing/supplier capabilities. Connections can be made that could lead to future business during this networking session targeted specifically toward companies and professionals in the industrial market.

Four practical keynote addresses will also be offered during the tradeshow:

  • Stuart Varney, long-time business and financial analyst and contributor to CNN and FOX News. Topic: “The New Realities of the Global Marketplace.”
  • Tim Miles, marketing consul- tant, specializing in helping small business owners do more with less. Topic: “Strategic Planning Made Simple.”
  • “National Consumer Water Quality Study—Research Results.” A special panel will explain how to make your WQA 2008 Consumer Study work for your business.
  • “Develop an Effective Employee and Safety Manual for Your Business.” Hear from experts and dealers; sample manuals will also be offered.

Harris: Why is it so important that water treatment professionals attend industry events such as this?

Censky: With financial pressure only becoming greater, there may be no more vital a time to attend these tradeshows that keep you in front of your business connections and on top of developments. The difference between success and failure is becoming increasingly tighter today.

Tradeshows and events can be a cost-effective way to stay in touch with industry developments. In a single day spent visiting with other attendees and studying exhibits, you can do what it would take weeks of field calls and individual meetings to accomplish.

When you come to WQA Aquatech USA 2009, you also know that you are meeting with decision-makers. According to surveys, more than 90% of visitors to WQA Aquatech USA shows are “key influences” in their company.

There is one other important reason to attend: Economic downturns do not last forever. In fact, many economists now believe the economy could start expanding as soon as the third quarter of this year.

Our show will not be returning to the upper Midwest and Great Lakes market for several years. You can start making and cementing relationships now that will pay off in the future.

It has never been more important to stay on top of industry trends and learn new strategies for surviving and thriving. In these turbulent times, there is not much room for error and few of us can afford to hibernate.

Stephanie Harris is managing editor of Water Quality Products. Harris can be reached at 847.391.1007 or by e-mail at sharris@sgcmail.com.

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