The Value of Involvement
How one water treatment dealer’s industry involvement gives his business an edge over the competition
Success is often accomplished through efforts that go above and beyond the norm, whether it be putting in extra hours at the office, taking additional classes to further your education, or simply becoming more involved in your industry. For dealers in the water treatment industry, the latter is considered by many to be the easiest, and possibly the most beneficial, way to get ahead of the industry curve.
Vincent Kent, president of Abendroth Water Conditioning, Inc., Fort Atkinson, Wis., largely accredits the success of his business to his involvement in national industry associations. “I wouldn’t trade my involvement in the national WQA [Water Quality Association] for anything,” he said. “I don’t think you can put a price tag on what I pay in dues versus what I get out of the WQA.”
Abendroth Water Conditioning has been in business since 1953 and currently has 12 employees. A family-owned business entering its 55th year in operation, the company predominantly works in the residential water treatment sector, but it also treats the industrial and commercial fields.
Since becoming involved in the water treatment industry nearly 14 years ago, Kent has faced his share of challenges, such as the rise of the big box stores and the decline of the housing market. Had it not been for the information and educational opportunities provided by industry associations, Kent may have not found the same success in dealing with these issues.
Kent currently serves on the WQA board of directors and is the treasurer of the WQA board of governors.
Involvement & Education
“The dealer who is uneducated, uninformed and uninvolved is going to have a hard time competing in the water treatment industry,” Kent said. “I think they’re giving up valuable tools such as the Find a Water Professional [program] that the WQA offers all of its members. I feel they’re giving up education and they’re giving up their voice by not being at the table when decisions are made on tough topics. They need to bring their opinions forward.”
By not getting more involved within the industry, according to Kent, water dealers are opening the door for competitors to use this lack of involvement as a tool against them. “In today’s time, if you’re engaged in water treatment and you’re not a member of the WQA, you’re going to struggle because the technology, the people, the support, the referrals, the lead generation and everything is going to go right by you,” Kent said.
In an industry such as water treatment, the needs of the customers and the technologies to meet these needs are always changing; however, the necessity for quality water will always exist. But for the water dealers who sit back and remain inactive, the industry is likely to pass them by.
Kent plans to expand his operation in the next year and is currently looking for other locations for additional stores and possible business acquisitions, all while remaining proactive among the industry associations. His business has been consistently growing thanks in large part to lead generations he has acquired through associations. “I don’t think there’s a dollar spent that’s better than that.”