Last week, WQP, Water & Wastes Digest (W&WD), and Storm Water Solutions (SWS) editors traveled to Houston to speak with water...
Combination of customer service, education and ethics proves a successful formula
In this troubled economy, some business owners may feel like it would take nothing short of magical powers to turn any profit these days.
Enter Jeff Truesdall, self-proclaimed “Water Wizard.”
He doesn’t exactly wear the pointy hat, but he is good at what he does. Truesdall, president of Colorado Water Wizard, provides water treatment, purification and conditioning services for Boulder, Denver and the surrounding Front Range and Foothills regions of Colorado. Truesdall said his numbers haven’t been significantly affected by all of the economic mayhem this past year.
“We had a pretty slow spring—it didn’t feel like anybody was buying anything from February and March—but that’s also not an unusual time for us to have a slow period,” he said. “I was looking at the numbers and we are actually up from last year. So, in terms of how the economy has affected us, it really hasn’t affected us much.”
Truesdall chalks that success up to an emphasis on service.
“We pay a great deal of attention to making sure our customers are real happy and satisfied,” he said.
Truesdall’s background is a unique one: He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and also is a former chiropractor. Truesdall became interested in the water industry about 22 years ago after a water treatment professional came into his office to solicit a sale. For a while, Truesdall worked in the water industry “on the side” before becoming serious about it 12 years ago.
“For me it’s been primarily a process of educating myself—not only about water treatment but also about the treatment equipment, how it works, the valving and all of that kind of thing, as well as plumbing techniques,” he said.
Truesdall also had to become well-versed in certain region-specific challenges affecting the Rocky Mountain area, including higher-than-average levels of uranium, radium and radon.
“Everybody, from what I understand, has iron and manganese and hydrogen sulfide problems—the troublesome trio—and we’ve got some cases where we are dealing with 50 parts per million iron. And color in the water: We have tannims; we have colloidal iron; we have organic iron. There are just different forms that are always a challenge: first of all, figuring out what form it is, then figuring out what treatment is going to take care of it.”
As for the treatment of his employees, Truesdall thinks of them “like family” and also is extensively committed to their continuing education. As secretary of the Colorado Water Quality Assn., Truesdall likes to stay active in the industry.
“I took the time and the investment to get Andy [Tauscher, Colorado Water Wizard service manager] certified,” Truesdall said. “He is now a Certified Water Specialist IV and I’m a Certified Water Specialist VI. We’re both Certified Installers. The Water Quality Assn. is a huge resource for people in this business.”
Truesdall believes the future is full of possibilities for the water industry, but that there also are a slew of new obstacles—namely the onslaught of major new players with which to contend.
“For instance, two of the major valve manufacturers are now under one roof; and they used to compete with one another,” he said. “And I don’t think that’s a good thing.”
Another thing this wizard doesn’t practice is black magic: He has always remained true to his ethics, and is deeply troubled when he sees others try to sell their customers products or services they don’t need.
“For instance, in Boulder we have a hardness level of about 2, and there are a number of companies who try to talk residents of Boulder into buying softeners,” Truesdall said. “That, to me, is a travesty. So, selling equipment to customers who really need the equipment, I think, is primary. Basically, treat a customer like they’re your mom. You’re not going to sell your mom something that she doesn’t need.”