Every year, during the Executive Forum and Fly-In, a delegation of member executives from Plumbing Manufacturers Intl. (PMI) travels to Washington...
WQP: What is WQA Aquatech and how did this event become to be?
Peter J. Censky: WQA Aquatech USA is a new tradeshow concept in the water industry. We examined the North American water industry over the past years and talked extensively to exhibitors, and came to the conclusion that there is a pressing need for one tradeshow to represent the household, commercial, industrial, high purity or ultrapure and other specialty water markets.
WQA’s show was the largest of several that served various niches in this market but no one was doing the whole job. The exhibitors could not afford to send people to small shows that don’t produce results and all these shows were beginning to see a slide in participation. At WQA we began anticipating this about eight years ago.
Several years ago I began discussions with the people at the RAI in Amsterdam who own the Aquatech water industry show that runs every two years in Amsterdam. They also run shows in other regions of the world. Aquatech is in my opinion the premier water show outside of the U.S. It focuses on the same markets I mentioned above plus some wastewater and municipal water vendors. Our agreement marries the WQA show and the Aquatech concept into an aggressive and much needed new venue for exhibitors who serve everything from household through industrial. We’ll gladly accept wastewater exhibitors and municipal exhibitors too because the customized water market is growing rapidly and that’s where the action is.
WQP: When and where is the WQA Aquatech event being held?
Censky: The show will be in Las Vegas in March. Exhibition dates are March 30, 31 through April 1st. We also have education seminars taking place starting on the 29th and at various times through April 2nd. For registration information go to our website at www.wqa.org.
WQP: Currently, how many attendees and exhibitors does WQA expect?
Censky: We are expecting about 4,000 total attendees at our first show and we plan to increase that number with each successive annual show.
WQP: What can those who have been going to the WQA show for years expect to experience at the new WQA Aquatech USA show that would be different and beneficial to them?
Censky: There are a lot of exciting new exhibitors, new technologies, new education opportunities and new networking events. We’ve reached out to other associations to help us build an outstanding education offering. These contributors include the Industrial Water Conference, the International Ozone Association, the International UV Association, the Association of Water Technologies, and of course, WQA.
In addition the Water and Waste Water Equipment Manufacturers Association is helping us promote the show. The exhibitors should also be pleased because we do not have education seminars competing with tradeshow floor hours. The show is an education in itself and we want to drive all the attendees to the floor.
That said, there is one exciting new thing we are doing in concert with a number of exhibitors. We are accrediting a number of “mini courses” on the tradeshow floor. These will be put on by exhibitors and they will last no more than 20 minutes with a short time for questions. This is the kind of selling that many exhibitors do anyway, but we are offering credits for these courses so people can keep up with their various professional certifications.
WQP: What do you expect the attendees to retain from the show?
Censky: In a word? Opportunities, and lots of them. This is not the slow moving part of the industry; this is where the action is. There are new technologies that will be exhibited, new application models, new business models, the latest information on contaminant outbreaks, top industry leaders and executives... The networking opportunities are an excellent way to gather corporate intelligence, meet new people and create your own opportunities.
Censky: Actually, the show is focused more on the residential, commercial, industrial dealers, specifying engineers, consulting engineers and all of those with responsibility for processes within plants, clinics, small communities and many more. I think the municipal water and wastewater utilities are well served by their present trade shows but of course we won’t turn away any exhibitor or attendee who is looking for new opportunities.
In fact, we’ve found that in recent shows a lot of business has sprung from exhibitor to exhibitor contacts. Many of our exhibitors are looking for partnering opportunities or other models that open up new markets or extend present lines of business. There is a commonality across this market; the technologies are the same so it is a matter of scale and knowledge.
The end user is not well served by today’s market configuration where there is a chemical treatment alternative or a filtration alternative, or a membrane alternative, etc. The problem is each is its own world and the specifier and installer only tend to know how to do one thing.
You know the old saying, “if all you have is a hammer then every problem looks like nails.” Well, there often is a preferred treatment solution but the customer today has only the luck of the draw. Our show is designed to diffuse knowledge and technologies across existing industry barriers.
WQP: Where do you see the show in five years in terms of size and diversity of attendees and exhibitors alike?
Censky: Within the next five years we expect the show to more than double and perhaps triple in size. This is going to be the go-to destination for anyone interested in the custom water business serving industrial, residential, commercial, ultrapure, small community and specialty needs. Practically everyone in the business who’s looking for those new niche opportunities will want to exhibit or visit this show.
WQP: What type of technical/business training is planned and how will these technical sessions benefit the attendees?
Censky: There will be courses on industry trends, consumer preference trends, sales and marketing, desalination and brackish water treatment, boiler water, industrial, commercial, UV applications, ozone fundamentals and applications, ultrapure design and applications, cooling tower treatment, the fundamentals of water treatment and numerous technology and contaminant focused seminars.
WQP: In the overall context of trade shows, how will this event differ from other water-related events being held around the globe?
Censky: We are focusing on targeted areas where the real growth opportunities in the overall water industry - commercial, industrial, household, and specialty markets were the downstream buyer has discretionary money and clear needs and where their buying is not subject to government restrictions and cutbacks.