Q&A: Dealers in the Desert

Jan. 21, 2022

Water treatment professionals head to Las Vegas for the Water Quality Assn. annual conference

About the author:

Amy McIntosh is former managing editor of WQP. For more information, email [email protected].


Water treatment professionals will head to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the Water Quality Assn. (WQA) Convention & Exposition, held April 23 to 25, 2019. The event boasts a host of educational opportunities, policy updates and new technologies. WQP Managing Editor Amy McIntosh asked Chris Wilker, WQA president, what the association has in store for this year’s convention.

Amy McIntosh: What can attendees expect from the 2019 WQA Convention?

Chris Wilker: The WQA Convention & Exposition is the water treatment industry’s signature event, expected to draw more than 3,000 people to the Las Vegas Convention Center April 23 to 25 for education and training, inspiration, and connections. Attendees come to find out the latest research results, to strengthen their expertise and to speak with industry leaders and each other about the challenges and opportunities in our industry. The latest in new treatment technologies will all be on display on the trade show floor. 

McIntosh: Who should attend?

Wilker: Water treatment manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and dealers, large and small, whether WQA members or not. Folks interested in pursuing a career in water treatment. People who work in related industries or functions—such as finance, marketing and research—that support the industry. 

McIntosh: What will be some of the hot topics?

Wilker: Results of our 2019 Consumer Opinion Study and updates on key research projects will be presented. We’ll provide education sessions on issues such as chlorides reduction, emerging contaminants (such as PFAS) and approaches to removal, and water treatment system design. We’ll take a look at the regulatory climate for water treatment businesses. Hot topics are sure to come out of our section meetings, committee sessions, and the Women in Industry and Young Professionals advisory councils.

McIntosh: What is new this year?

Wilker: The trade show floor will have a new look this year with “Main Street WQA,” a park-like walkway winding through the exhibit hall that will engage attendees with park benches, foosball tables, a golf simulator and other opportunities to rest, meet informally with other attendees or be entertained. We’ll also have an inflatable “Pop-up” room on the show floor for a new feature called Business Spotlights.

Elsewhere, we’ll have special mini education sessions called “Short Takes: 15 Minutes of Wisdom.” Speakers were asked to create a presentation of 20 to 30 slides that automatically advance every 30 seconds. We’re really excited to see how this idea takes off.

McIntosh: What is the Business Boot Camp?

Wilker: WQA’s Business Boot Camp is a day-long intensive workshop for business owners to work on their business instead of in their business. Subject matter experts will focus on the areas of leaderships, human resources and financial planning. Sessions will include “Achieving Results Through Employee Engagement,” “Developing the Leaders Within You,” and “Planning for Profitability: Business Management.”

Boot Camp will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 26, at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort. 

McIntosh: What professional benefits does the convention offer?

Wilker: Water treatment professionals can earn continuing education credit toward professional certification or recertification. We also offer the certification exams during the convention, if you’ve earned your credits and are ready to test (sign up in advance, please!).  The exam is offered at a discount, and you can earn a lot of credits at a very reasonable price through your convention registration.

The education sessions are good for anyone in the industry, whether you’re just starting out or wanting to learn more about new contaminants and treatments. You get an early look at products and services at the trade show and can make good business connections. You’ll hear from industry leaders about the challenges and great opportunities in water quality. You have a chance to have your voice heard in committee or section meetings or on one of our advisory councils.

Dealers can get support in the education sessions, which offer a few business operations topics as well, and they can stay an extra day for the intensive Business Boot Camp experience.

We really think we offer something for everyone! We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas April 23 to 25. 

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