Editor's Note: Do you know a water treatment dealer who deserves recognition for leadership in the industry, innovative ideas or successful business practices? Nominate them to be featured as a WQP Dealer of the Month here. Self-nominations are accepted.
Jorge and Courtney Zukoski, left and middle, bought Best Water Solutions from Jorge’s parents, Walt, right, and Myriam, in January 2017.
The city of Gainesville is a fast-growing municipality located in North Central Florida. Since 2000, its population has increased by 27.5% to approximately 131,591, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With a growing population comes a growing demand for high-quality drinking water, and Best Water Solutions is meeting the needs of customers around the metropolitan area with highly trained employees and a variety of treatment products.
Husband-and-wife duo Walt and Myriam Zukoski founded Best Water Solutions in 1982. Both previously had worked in the medical rehabilitation field and took an interest in water treatment due to its potential health benefits to customers.
“I was convinced that we needed to be doing something to help protect health,” Walt said. “It didn’t take long to figure out that you can’t just treat water in the house—you’ve got to start outside to begin to improve it, so we did a serious search regarding how we can deal with this total water situation.”
In developing their methodologies, the professionals at Best Water Solutions realized that a range of problems required a range of solutions, and they became known for providing their customers with a variety of treatment options.
“We wanted to have various technologies because we wanted to have opportunities to treat the water the way people want it to be treated,” Walt said. “We like to think that we have several approaches to any water issue out there, and typically, we do.”
Walt and Myriam’s son Jorge and his wife Courtney joined the business in October 2015 and purchased the dealership from Walt and Myriam in January 2017.
Walt and Jorge still work together as Walt and Myriam prepare for retirement.
“[We have] taken over the business from my parents so they can start their slow ascension into retirement,” Jorge said. “But we’re all still here, and we’re all still working hard at it.”
Commitment to Excellence
Best Water Solutions is an independent dealership, which allows the Zukoskis to offer a variety of treatment solutions to their customers.
“We’re selling a broad range of water treatment equipment—everything from your traditional water softeners and reverse osmosis for residential applications to ozone and low-pressure membrane systems for whole-house systems,” Jorge said. “We embrace the newest and latest technologies, learn about them, and implement them in real life to see what works and what doesn’t.”
Best Water Solutions uses its fleet of vehicles to service a variety of water quality problems for the area’s growing population.
In order to confidently provide such an array of products and services, the team members at Best Water Solutions are all required to attain Water Quality Assn. (WQA) certification. The Zukoskis feel that this offers prospective customers peace of mind and ensures employees are willing to work hard to be their best.
“Those who want to grow, those who want to learn, are eager to work with us,” Walt said. “I say to people, ‘You’re going to have to go back to school and get certified.’ If they don’t have the interest in doing that, that gives me an indication that they don’t really want to be on top of their game.”
As a result of this commitment, the employees at Best Water Solutions tend to stay with the company for the long haul.
“The challenge of keeping that staff is not simple, but we’ve been able to do that—we’ve had more people retire from here than we have had leave for other employment,” Walt said. “Right now, finding enough staff to keep up with the growth we’re experiencing is a challenge. [We are] searching for people who want to grow with a company that’s going high-tech and knows different ways of treating water. We’re happy to meet with anyone who wants to meet that challenge.”
Best Water Solutions has found it difficult to keep up with the population growth in Gainesville, but its focus on professional certification has helped it develop qualified employees who are deeply committed to the job.
“The learning curve here is very steep, and for a technician to become what we call ‘truck ready,’ it takes an extended period of time in which we’re investing in them,” Jorge said. “We invest not only in their skills in regards to the technology, but also customer service and representing the company appropriately when doing customer interface.”
Thanks to its dedication to maintaining this high level of employee commitment, Best Water Solutions has been recognized as a member of WQA’s Business Excellence Program. The Zukoskis feel that their membership in the association has opened the door to a number of opportunities for the dealership. “There’s just no doubt about it in my mind—if you can say you are nationally certified by WQA, it buys credibility,” Walt said. “I’ve never regretted paying the dues to WQA.”
The Power of Perseverance
Best Water Solutions’ success is built on years of hard work and devotion to providing its customers high-quality treated water. This has helped create a unique bond between employees and customers.
“It’s a family company, and we have a family of employees as well, and we’re very prideful of that fact,” Jorge said. “We have employees who are highly motivated, they want to learn, they want to grow and they want to develop. They are proud of what they do and believe that they’re providing something positive back into the community in which we live and work.”