Thousands of water treatment professionals will head to Denver this month for the Water Quality Assn. (WQA) Convention & Exposition, held March 26 to 29, 2018, at the Colorado Convention Center. The event boasts a host of networking opportunities, policy updates and new technologies. WQP Managing Editor Amy McIntosh asked Bob Maisner, president of WQA, what the association has in store for this year’s convention.
Amy McIntosh: What can attendees expect from the 2018 WQA Convention?
Bob Maisner: Well, I’m delighted to have the chance to let your readers know what an ideal opportunity the WQA Convention & Exposition is for attendees to connect with colleagues, learn about new trends and technologies, and engage with the challenges and the opportunities all of us in the water treatment industry are facing on a day-to-day basis. We’ll have top-level industry speakers who can address these challenges from hands-on experience. ... The trade show floor promises to be one of the best with a full array of products and services on display.
McIntosh: What will some of the hot topics be this year?
Maisner: There’s so much, frankly. The regulatory climate for businesses, the impact of the new tax law, the door-to-door water treatment scams from this past summer and California’s increasing regulations. Technical issues include everything from the impact of well construction to naturally occurring health hazards in private wells, from reducing chloride discharge to addressing [perfluorocarbons].
McIntosh: Can attendees expect to see anything new?
Maisner: We’ll have new research into consumer attitudes on water testing and treatment, and important treatment innovations in ultraviolet and reverse osmosis. At our opening general session, we’ll be giving out a brand new award this year. Our Excellence Award will honor two of our member companies that went above and beyond when it comes to excellence in business operations, innovation or customer service. Our opening general session also features David LaFrance, CEO of the American Water Works Assn., and keynote speaker Ross Shafer, author and Emmy Award-winning TV host and comedian. We are also excited to have a full day Business Operations Boot Camp.
McIntosh: Tell me about the Business Operations Boot Camp.
Maisner: The WQA Business Operations Boot Camp takes place on Sunday, March 25, the day before [the] convention opens. It’s a full-day intensive workshop aimed at our dealers, primarily. We have some great speakers, including Tim Miles, Michael Thompson, Denise Urbans, and John and Derek Packard. Topics include strategic planning, succession planning, cutting overhead, and—this one I really like—how to coach without being a drill sergeant. We think it’s going to be great.
It’s designed to give attendees new tools and practical tips they can take back to their dealerships or companies and really improve their bottom line. They’ll be thinking through just what are the true costs of what it takes to run their business, so they can more accurately determine what to charge for their services. They’ll look at goal-setting as well as goal-doing. It will be highly motivational and interactive, as well.
McIntosh: What professional benefits can attendees expect to gain from a WQA Convention?
Maisner: I mentioned the connections attendees will make, and I can’t overstate that. The WQA Convention is a great opportunity to break out of our routine, raise our level of knowledge, get a first look at new products, get inspired to try new ideas and stay on top of the changing trends and new research in the industry. WQA membership is a fantastic bargain when you consider all the benefits that the association has to offer.