December tends to prompt reflection upon the past year, and if you’re like me, you’re wondering, “Where did 2010 go?” Much has changed in the world, the economy and the industry over the past year, yet it seems like December 2009 wasn’t that long ago.
State of the Industry
As you contemplate the year that’s about to become history, we are providing a tool to help you analyze the events of the past year, both good and bad—Water Quality Products’ (WQP) fourth annual State of the Industry Report (page 7), conducted by ABR Research Inc.
For the third year in a row, readers agree that the factor having the biggest negative effect on sales in the past year has been the economy. That the economy is still our biggest challenge is no surprise, but the survey did reveal a significant shift in how people are growing their businesses in spite of economic pressure—the Internet. Readers rated company websites as the factor having the biggest positive impact on business in 2010, rather than the previous year’s response of market diversification.
Connecting with peers, both at business events and virtually, seems to be one way our industry is responding to these challenging times. Association membership has risen since last year, when only a little more than half of respondents belonged to a national, regional or state association. This year, more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents report belonging to an association. We also noticed a jump in the number of readers who use the Internet for business (beyond the use of e-mail). One-quarter of respondents said they use LinkedIn for business purposes, along with 16% who use Facebook, demonstrating the growing value of social media for our industry.
Responses show that readers believe new products and technologies will be the most important issue in 2011, replacing last year’s top response of training. State regulations was the rated second most important issue for 2011, as more states were affected by regulations this year than ever before.
This issue also showcases the winners of WQP’s inaugural Top Water Quality Projects awards program (page 18). We asked readers to submit the best and most innovative projects they participated in during 2010 and selected four projects that represent the wide scope and capabilities of the water industry to honor with awards. Submitting is simple, so keep track of your good work and watch for our call for nominations for next year’s award program next summer.