Mar 02, 2017

Carrying on a Legacy

WQP is excited to present the second edition of Faces of the Industry, an annual special issue that lets us take a break from talking technology and treatment, and put a focus on the amazing people who make up the water treatment industry.

This year, we added a new feature that takes an in-depth look at an industry icon: Jo Grace. If you have ever attended a Water Quality Assn. (WQA) or Texas Water Quality Assn. (TWQA) event, you probably know her. In fact, it seems that just about everyone in the industry knows—and has deep respect—for her, due in no small part to her efforts to welcome and include every participant.

Grace is well-known for her welcoming and encouraging nature, and she has had a hand in mentoring many water professionals in their careers—notably, her daughter-in-law Daina Grace, executive director of TWQA, and Don McGhee, who wraps up his term as WQA president this month. Both are keen to carry on Grace’s legacy of dedication to improving this industry.

Carrying on a legacy is a common theme in this issue, and it is especially evident in the Dealerships Through the Generations section on page 20. Each of the three dealerships featured in the article is in its third or fourth generation as a family business. The current owners grew up in the water industry, learning from their fathers and grandfathers as they witnessed the day-to-day highs and lows of running a dealership. “Part of me feels a real responsibility,” said Mike McGowan, owner of McGowan Water Conditioning, of carrying on the family legacy. “It’s kind of a tradition for me.”

While continuing that legacy often means carrying on values passed down through the generations, it does not mean the current generation does everything exactly as its forebears did. To stay successful, a dealership must stay relevant, whether that means advertising with social media, introducing new technologies or updating software systems, as the three featured dealerships have done.

That spirit of innovation is also apparent in this year’s class of Young Professionals. The nine individuals featured this year, starting on page 10, have found that finding success may require taking a risk. From new businesses to new inventions, they are finding ways to make their marks on the industry while also staying true to their roots (note how many of the Young Professionals said their biggest influence was a parent).

The combination of strong values and a drive to innovate is a can’t-lose combination—one that will surely push the water treatment industry to achieve success in the future.

About the author

Kate Ferguson, Editor-in-Chief, [email protected]