Pacific Water Quality Assn. (PWQA) President Ken Steitz is rather new to the industry, with five years of experience as an EcoWater dealer. He quickly got involved with the association and ascended to president. Under his guidance, PWQA has been proactive for its membership, and he spoke to WQP Associate Editor Bob Crossen about the association’s strides.
Bob Crossen: What is your background in the water quality industry?
Ken Steitz: I’ve owned the EcoWater of Central California dealership for the past five years. So for the water treatment industry, I’m pretty new.
Crossen: How did that background help you as president of PWQA?
Steitz: When I bought the dealership, I got involved with the PWQA and Water Quality Assn. (WQA) right away. I went to the conventions, barbecues and Legislative Days. I felt it was very important to network with others who have been in the business longer than I had been, and to get the water knowledge needed for WQA certification. I have served on a number of boards, and am a former Fresno, Calif., city councilman. I believe the PWQA board of directors felt I could add to the association with that background.
Crossen: In what ways do regional water quality associations benefit their members?
Steitz: Regional water quality associations benefit their members by addressing issues specific to their locales. The culture and issues in California (i.e., chloride bans) are very different than in Florida, Texas or other areas. The regional associations can advocate and be a voice for local issues quickly, and the networking opportunities make a lot more sense. Our convention allows more localized subject matter for educational topics and, being regional, makes it more affordable in time and money for members to attend.
Crossen: What are PWQA’s goals?
Steitz: To promote the water improvement industry; advocate at the state and local levels for affordable and reliable water treatment solutions; provide education and certification opportunities for those in our industry; and offer networking opportunities for our members.
Crossen: How varied is the PWQA membership and how does that variety impact the association’s goals?
Steitz: We have a great cross section of dealers, suppliers and manufacturers that are members. Our goals have stayed pretty consistent historically—being a promoter and advocate for our industry in the Pacific region of the U.S.
Crossen: What regulations and legislation is PWQA currently focusing on?
Steitz: We have been consistently watching legislation and ordinances that would hinder or altogether stop the installation of self-regenerating treatment systems. With the help of our legislative advocate, Pete Conaty, we have been able to stop always being on defense and actually have supported legislation that has been supportive of the point-of-entry/point-of-use industry.
Crossen: What direction do you see water-related legislation and regulations heading in the future?
Steitz: Just as the electric car industry was able to require car charging stations in the garage of every new home built in California, I would be very supportive of legislation that would require a loop in every garage that would allow our industry to install products homeowners could choose to best meet their home water needs—something like the “Homeowner’s Water Choice Act.” Just a little dreaming is OK, right?
Crossen: Are there any other thoughts on PWQA you would like to share?
Steitz: It has been an honor and pleasure to serve as president of PWQA this past year. I have served on many boards, and I would rank our board of directors as one of the best. [The directors] are involved, they love the work they do, and they work hard to make our industry better. We have been able to help fund studies for the improvement of our business, funded two college scholarships and began providing a quarterly newsletter to our membership and those involved in our industry. We have advocated at the national, state and local levels to educate and promote the work we do and, in the middle of doing the work of the association, we also work our own businesses.