WQP: You grew up around this industry. Can you talk about what made you want to join the family business?
Amanda Moore: At a young age, I actually tried to do a lot of things other than the family business. I didn’t necessarily see the potential of a career in the water treatment industry. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, I had the unexpected opportunity to come home and work for a while. I enjoyed working in the family business with my father, but it was not until I became active in the day-to-day operations that I became passionate about what we do as water treatment professionals. I quickly realized that I was part of an industry that could make water healthier. That was much more exciting to me than just making someone’s soap lather. I realized that the opportunity to learn and continue professional development was recommended and endless. I also noticed there were not a lot - if any - women in the industry around me, and I have always loved a challenge. I decided quite quickly that I was going to be part of the industry and change that narrative.
WQP: What is your favorite part of this industry?
Moore: Two things. The first thing is how close-knit we are. The second is how big we can grow to be. I have been involved in the industry in some way for the greater part of 30 years, and I still have relationships with people I met at the beginning. To this day, I know dealers that can share stories about working with my grandfather. There are very few industries you can say that about. I also love that despite that history, we are still a fledgling industry. We are just hitting our stride, and research and technology have opened so many new opportunities. It amazes me that water quality has flown under the radar for so long, but I think a new era is upon us and with that knowledge comes opportunity for our industry.
WQP: Your father was previously WQA president. Can you talk about what it has been like to carry on this family legacy and work alongside him?
Moore: I hope that our legacy as a family will be one of commitment to the water quality improvement industry and helping define the industry and its public perception as a credible, reputable, necessary industry. During Jamie’s tenure as WQA president, the industry was going through its own set of growing pains – discussions about regulating contaminants (DBPs), licensing, ethics and other issues. The decade was different but the challenges for our industry have remained fairly consistent over time. One of the most important tools to have is the ability to look back at history and learn from it. However, we can’t stay in the past. If we don’t want to repeat history, we need to take that vision and grow and evolve. Having my father active in my day-to-day life ensures I can always look back in time and learn from his experiences. He is a true mentor and role model.
WQP: What are your goals for WQA during your presidency?
Moore: Every president finds their niche. My goal has always been to lend my time to the association to help further its established goals. We have a strategic plan, and I was part of that process. At this point, it becomes about how I can help us reach those milestones as an association. I have lots of goals - too many probably! - so I’m going to discuss just a couple. My biggest goal is related to advocacy, which I am extremely passionate about. As an association, we need a bigger, louder voice. I think it is critical that we stand together and increase our voice in the discussions about water quality and our role as an industry. I believe that there are other closely related industries that we need to be working with, too. My other goal is to help more consumers recognize WQA as a professional association promoting the betterment of the water quality industry. When people have a concern about water quality, I would like the Water Quality Association to be one of the first places they go for information. WQA is a unbiased source of information able to provide research and data when discussing water quality concerns. Consumers should come to wqa.org or BetterWaterToday.org to learn about their water quality concerns and then reach out to member companies that adhere to our code of ethics to discuss solutions.
WQP: What do you think is the most pressing issue facing the industry?
Moore: The discussion of PFOA/ PFAS is obviously at the forefront of a lot of minds. That discussion will likely take time and years to figure out. More immediately, we have a lot of issues we continue to deal with post-pandemic. Economic conditions such as higher interest rates and inflation have to be one of the largest thunderstorms out there. As the dollar continues to buy less, consumers start to draw back on spending, and we can feel that impact. The supply chain is improving but there are still concerns about product and material availability. Labor shortages remain, and that remains one of the largest complaints among water treatment professionals. The water quality improvement industry still struggles to find the boots on the ground, as many trades do. It is something to consider and watch carefully as we move forward. It is also one of the reasons the instructor-led training offered by WQA is so beneficial. We are having to onboard people from outside this industry and train them as quickly as possible but still have to ensure they have all the skills necessary to professionally recommend and install water filtration solutions.
WQP: In a previous discussion you and I had, you talked about how important ethics are to you. Can you expand on that here and share some ways you hope to implement this through WQA and throughout the industry?
Moore: WQA tells consumers that being a member means a commitment to ethics, professionalism and sound business practices. Each and every member agrees to follow the Code of Ethics. It is very important that we define the expectations to our members and also share those expectations with consumers. We want the consumer to understand the commitment our members make to uphold these high professional standards. We also want to let regulators and legislators know of our commitment, especially in light of the Healthy H20 Act. We have a new Ethics Task Force looking for ways to help members promote their commitment, including a poster for their office or showroom. We have a new page on our website committed to all things ethics (wqa.org/ethics). We have ongoing ethics training included in all WQA Professional Certifications. We are even talking about a TikTok!
WQP: Your presidency comes in the second year of WQA's 2022-24 Strategic Plan. Can you talk about where the plan stands now and your priorities for it during your presidency?
Moore: To me, the sign of a good strategic plan is one that can be tweaked and fine-tuned as economic circumstances and other factors change. We’ll spend time in 2023 drilling down into the specific goals of the plan as the goals are relevant to the world today. The discussion around PFAS has required us to quickly acknowledge its influence on our lives and work as an association on how to best represent our industry and membership. The opportunities to promote advocacy and professionalism (two key goals) are greater than ever. My goal is to ensure we are looking at all the outside factors and how they impact our strategy as an association and help ensure we remain timely in the plans we are implementing.
WQP: Has mentorship played a role in your career, and if so, how?
Moore: I could write a novel on this topic. Suffice it to say I would not be where I am without the mentorship of a great many. I have been proud to learn from my industry peers and take the best of each and every mentor and build my own story. Serving on the board of directors alone has allowed me to surround myself with a caliber of people I never would have had the opportunity to without this role. I have learned an incredible amount in the last five years about the industry, business, leadership - and those are just a few. I suspect when this year is complete, I will remain active as a mentor for all my remaining years in this industry.
WQP: What piece of media (books, TV shows, movies, games, podcasts, etc.) has had the greatest impact on you in the past 12 months?
Moore: I think this is the hardest question to answer. It made me realize that I don’t spend enough time not working! The majority of what I read and listen to is industry related, not because I have to but because I want to. Every headline about water makes me more excited to be part of this industry and the future. My girls (twins Maddie and Marley, 11 years old) actually are my escape when they tell me about all the great books they are reading. My goal this summer is for the three of us to read all their summer reading together and revisit some of the great books I haven’t read in four decades.
WQP: Anything to add that you would like readers to know?
Moore: It is not enough to just be part of this industry. You need to dive in headfirst off the big diving board and become immersed. This industry is changing and for those of us who dive in, the future is going to be amazing. WQA, WQRF and state and regional associations are all resources available to further your journey and help you grow as a water treatment professional. Professional is the key word. We are all professionals, and it is time to demonstrate just that!