The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Finance Center, in collaboration with the...
A key to success is adaptability—how you react to the challenges put before you will determine whether or not you will overcome them. While this is true in many areas of life, Bruce Whitney of Whitney’s Water Systems, Logandale, Nev., has found it to be especially true in the water industry.
Working in rural southern Nevada since 1987, Whitney and his wife Sherrie operate their business with the goal of “providing quality service to our customers and providing a good income for [our] employees.”
Adapting to Challenges
One reason Whitney needs to keep adaptability at the forefront of his business is his location. “Being in the desert southwest, you run into some unique water quality issues,” Whitney said, “from high salinity and high hardness to high volume needs, and addressing those needs at a reasonable cost—meeting the customer’s needs on a basis they can afford.”
The recent drought in the area, which has significantly reduced the level of nearby Lake Mead, has affected water quality and quantity in part of Whitney’s service area, but has also been a benefit because people are more concerned about conservation, Whitney said.
A drought significantly reduced the level of Lake Mead.
“Because of it, they’re concerned about the quality of water they’re drinking. I think in my market it’s probably been more of a benefit, because people are aware.”
The declining housing market has also been a challenge to the entire industry, Whitney’s business included, but he has focused on ways to counteract any negative effects.
“It definitely has had an affect on us and the industry as a whole,” he said. In response, Whitney and his team have aimed to become more service oriented, making sure customers’ existing systems are well serviced so they will last longer, and setting up regularly scheduled maintenance contracts rather than waiting for customers to call them.
Even if the housing market fluctuates, Whitney’s twenty-plus years of service in the area provides an element of stability. “I’m well-known,” he said. “There have been several others that have come and gone since I’ve been here, so I can offer the stability of saying, ‘We’re going to be around to maintain your system and we’re not going to sell you something where you can’t find somebody to maintain it.’”
Whitney sees his role in the community as going beyond that of businessman. “Aside from taking care of customers, I’ve become very involved in community programs, especially where it involves drug and alcohol awareness,” he said. He is the president of one such group.
Whitney’s advice to other dealers: “Be honest. Just sell a system for what it’s designed to do.” Promising that equipment will do things it’s not designed to do has really hurt the water industry, he said.
Although he has faced many challenges over the years, Whitney’s adaptability has helped him stay ahead of the game. And with the recent expansion of his service area from southern Nevada to southern Utah, it looks like it will stay that way.