Tides Turning

The air at WQA Aquatech USA 2010 was tinged with the winds of change. Attending this show invoked feelings of new beginnings—and new opportunities for success. Exact attendance figures were unavailable at press time, but preliminary estimates show that attendance was slightly above last year’s; and the tradeshow floor was bustling as showgoers perused 246 exhibiting companies.

The recession tested everyone’s resilience, but now that a turnaround is imminent, industry professionals know things are going to be different as a new era dawns for water treatment.

“Everybody at the show was very positive,” said WQA Executive Director Peter Censky. “They’re positioning themselves for the upturn that they expect to be coming soon. No one thought the recession was over, but the strength of the numbers and the strength of the ratings that we got at the show told us that we managed to put together the right show for them.”

State of the Industry
In his speech, Censky acknowledged that the industry survived the recession, but wondered, will water professionals “survive the recovery?”

This new chapter means a “new normal,” he said; and there are five emerging themes to consider:

  • Consolidation: Water treatment is becoming the water services industry.
  • Personal environment: Consumers are becoming more aware of their personal environment.
  • Green: As an industry, water treatment professionals need to define green in their own way.
  • Consumer: The consumer is smarter, and 67% of them have concerns about water quality in their homes.
  • Credibility: Water treatment professionals must elevate their visibility in their market.

Industry Recognitions
Various honors were presented to industry professionals during the Opening General Session. Michael Gottlieb, ResinTech, Inc., received the Lifetime Member Award, and Richard E. Clack, Clack Corp., received the Hall of Fame Award.
The nominees for the 2009-2010 WQA board of directors were also announced. These include:

Manufacturers/Suppliers

  • Robert A. Hague, CWS-VI,
    Hague Quality Water Intl., Groveport, Ohio;
  • Shamus Hurley, Kinetico Water Systems, Newbury, Ohio; and
  • Douglas S. “Sam” Karge, Pentair Water, Milwaukee, Wis.
    International
  • Anthony Frost, Aqua Focus, Ltd., Newport Shropshire, U.K.
    Dealers
  • Randy S. Eddinger, CWS-VI, Suburban Water Tech/Suburban EcoWater, Gilbertsville, Pa.;
  • David E. Hawkins, CWS-III, Hawkins Water Tech, Inc., Middlebury, Ind.; and
  • Michael Schaefer, P.E., CWS-VI, Schaefer Water Centers, Herculaneum, Mo.
    Retail Channel
  • Elaine Schley, The Brita Products Co., Oakland, Calif.

Battelle Study Revealed
The highly anticipated results of the “Water Heater Efficiency Improvements on Softened Water” study by the Battelle Memorial Institute were showcased in a presentation by Joe Harrison, P.E., CWS-VI, WQA technical director, and Kent.
Throughout the course of the nine-month study, Battelle evaluated the energy and costs in heating water versus the savings with softened water. They also examined effects on fixtures and appliances using hard water versus softened water.
Results of the study have shown that untreated hard water can cause significant efficiency losses and added costs in water heating—up to 48% in some cases. Battelle also found hard water to rapidly lead to clogged showerheads, in some cases possibly as soon as a year and a half of regular use.

Dealer of the Year
Ernie Wilmink, president and founder of “The Key” Water & Air International, Inc., was named Water Quality Products’ 2010 Dealer of the Year during WQA Aquatech 2010.
Wilmink has spent four decades in the water industry and specializes in ozone. He was chosen by industry peers to receive the award.

Looking Ahead
Next year’s WQA Aquatech USA show will be held March 8 to 11 in San Antonio, Texas. Censky promises that it will be a “blowout.”

Elizabeth Lisican is associate editor of Water Quality Products. Lisican can be reached at 847.954.7958 or by e-mail at elisican@sgcmail.com.

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