Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine


Saturday, July 24th, 2004

NSF appoints sales director
NSF International, of Ann Arbor, Mich., appointed Bruce Murray as director of corporate sales. His goal will be to advance NSF’s overall strategic sales initiatives including development and implementation of integrated sales strategies and programs that promote effective cross selling. He’ll oversee the sales force of NSF and NSF-ISR to assure effective collaboration for corporate customer services and client retention initiatives. As part of NSF’s “Live safer”™ brand campaign, he will play a key role in executing marketing sales programs to increase global awareness of the NSF Mark benefits for companies and consumers. Most recently, Murray served as a strategic planning consultant for Severn Trent Laboratories, of Fort Washington, Pa., where he was responsible for formulating sales, marketing and business development strategies. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Carleton University.

BevExpo snares ex-Snapple CEO for opening speech
Mike Weinstein, the former Snapple CEO, will kick off BevExpo 2004 by delivering the keynote address. His session, “Snap Judgments—The Snapple Story,” will be held Sept. 29. Sponsored by the International Bottled Water Association, the International Dairy Foods Association, the International Association of Food Industry Suppliers and Beverage Marketing Corp., the expo will be held Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Tampa, Fla. The full BevExpo conference program is available at www.bevexpo.com

Warnes joins ZENON staff
Andrew Warnes, a global market specialist in the residential water treatment industry, has joined Oakville, Ontario-based ZENON Environmental as director of international marketing and sales for consumer products.  In this position, Warnes will be responsible for directing the company’s efforts to expand the use of residential membrane technologies for consumers around the world. He brings more than a decade of experience in global markets for residential water treatment.  Prior to joining ZENON, Warnes was the international director of the Water Quality Association (WQA), where he was responsible for pursuing the global interests of residential water treatment equipment manufacturers. Before that, he served in international management positions for residential treatment industry leaders Culligan and Kinetico. He received his bachelor’s degree in national security policy from Ohio State University.  In 2002, he received the Award of Merit from the WQA for his work on global regulatory issues on behalf of the water treatment industry.

Nelsen adds Dean to team
Norton, Ohio-based Nelsen Corp. welcomes Jeff Dean to its sales staff. Dean will be responsible for supporting and developing the company’s customer base. He can be reached at (866) 745-6008, ext. 690, or email: jdean@nelsencorp.com

Ecodyne welcomes Matz
Ecodyne Water Treatment, of Naper-ville, Ill., has hired Phil Matz as its national sales manager. He has almost 20 years experience in the water treatment industry including Ecowater Commercial/Industrial Systems in the mid-1990s. A Marmon Group company, Ecodyne is a manufacturer of commercial/industrial water treatment products with worldwide distribution.

Alco names sales director
Alco Chemical, of Chattanooga, Tenn., promoted John Cate to director of sales of North America. He’ll report to Win Cooke, vice president of Alco, and be responsible for continuing the growth of the company’s North American sales and improving its sales customer service department. A 16-year veteran at Alco, Cate was most recently the company’s national sales manager. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee. Alco is a manufacturer of specialty polymers used in water treatment, detergents, paper and adhesives.

IOA announces new chief
Michael Dimitriou, of ITT Industries, was confirmed as president-elect of the International Ozone Association (IOA) at its meeting in Barcelona, Spain. He’ll serve during 2006-2007. Dimitriou has been an IOA member since 1985 while promoting ozone in drinking water in North America. Since 1990, he has represented IOA in the USEPA drinking water regulatory process including serving on the EPA Technical Task Force for Stage 1 of the Disinfection By-Products (DBP) rulemaking effort.

Water industry loses veteran; Wynhausen ran softener firms
It recently came to the attention of WC&P that Nathan A. (Nate) Wynhausen passed away on Nov. 27. He was 85. He operated Wynhausen Softener, of Los Angeles, before selling it in 1981. He later bought O & G Softener Co., of San Gabriel, Calif., and sold it a couple of years later. Wynhausen also authored a sales primer for water conditioning salespeople entitled “How to Sell Industrial and Commercial Water Conditioning Equipment.” Though he spent much of his life in California, Wynhausen was born in Kokomo, Ind. He played bridge twice a week, enjoyed smoking a pipe, and loved listening to legendary broadcaster Vin Scully announce games of his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers. Bob Denne, of Ventura, Calif.-based Rayne Corp., worked with Wynhausen for 12 years and said his presence will be missed, especially by water treatment professionals who knew him: “Nate loved the water treatment industry and would never hesitate to help solve a dealer’s problem. I know of no one who didn’t like and respect him.” Sharon Peterson, WC&P’s president, added, “Nate and WC&P’s founder, Jerry Peterson, were good friends. Jerry often turned to Nate for his expertise on issues affecting the industry.” Wyn-hausen is survived by his wife, Grace.

Ask the Expert

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

Distilled water & plastic; storage tips for bottlers

Question: I am mailing from the State of Johor
in Malayisa. We are a distilled water bottler and are expanding our plant; thus, we need to buy new water storage tanks. Our previous tanks are polycarbonate tanks from America; however, there seems to be no such supplier in my country that manufactures such big storage tanks (1,000 gallons and above). And stainless steel is too expensive now. Therefore, we are looking for other alternatives. Someone has quoted me using a polyethelene tank instead. Please reply whether it is advisable to use polyethelene for storage of distilled water. Data specifications for polyethelene are attached herewith. Thank you.

Lynda Loh, Director
Pure Water (JB) SDN BHD
Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Answer: Storage tanks can be made from many different kinds of plastics. The type of plastic used will determine the method of tank fabrication and ultimately the price of the tank. Some plastics lend themselves to be molded into the final shape, while others need to be fabricated piece by piece. Molded tanks are generally less expensive and much more readily available.
A polycarbonate tank would need to be custom built. The only special property about polycarbonate is that it is extremely clear (like glass). Otherwise, polycarbonate has no special properties that make it a better choice for holding distilled water.

Polyethylene tanks are widely available in many shapes and sizes up to 10,000 gallons. There are different types of polyethylene, including medium density and high density. Both products are excellent for water up to 140°F. The medium density tanks are good for liquids with a specific gravity of less than 1.5 (water has a specific gravity of 1.0) and the high density tanks are good to a specific gravity of 1.8.

Polyethylene meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for potable water. These tanks are easy to find in an any farm supply store. You can see a variety of tanks online at www.usplastic.com. Pricing on the medium density tanks are usually around US$0.50 per gallon; thus, a 1,000 gallon tank should cost around US$500. Good luck with your tank.

Global Spotlight

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

Norland Int’l. Inc., of Lincoln, Neb., was named Exporter of the Year by the Midwest International Trade Association at the organization’s conference. The event was held May 16-22 in conjunction with World Trade Week. About 70 percent of Norland’s business is international. 💧

GE has formed GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies, of Trevose, Pa., a platform comprised of GE Betz, GE Osmonics and GE Glegg. It will provide customized solutions and products for the treatment of water, wastewater and process systems in industrial, commercial and institutional facilities. 💧

The national WQA has a new feature on its website that tracks legislative issues that may affect its members in all 50 states. The tracking table is located in the members-only area at the bottom of the home page—just click on the “Gov’t Relations” button. 💧

A special spring issue of Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation focuses on understanding and treatment of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupting chemicals, including estrogen, in groundwater. The issue contains breaking research on these and other emerging contaminants. For a free copy, contact Sharren Diller at sdiller@ngwa.org 💧

C. TradeUsa Inc., a water systems integrator, selected Sub Surface Waste Management of Delaware Inc. to act as the bioreme-diation systems contractor along with WaterChef Inc. for the development of cost-effective solutions for the treatment of perchlorate in water using the PureSafe Water Station technology. 💧

Portola Packaging Inc., of San Jose, Calif., reported results for the second quarter of
fiscal year 2004, ended Feb. 29. Sales were $54.2 million vs. $51.1 million for the same quarter last year, an increase of 6.1 percent. 💧

Jacksonville, Fla.-based SunBelt Coffee & Water has launched a national break room supply franchise called Coffee Perks. The model offers clients a local, single source for break room supplies and services for break room supplies and services for offices, hotels and restaurants. 💧

The world’s largest multi-step facility for the treatment of industrial water has started operation in Ning Po in eastern China. Design and planning were carried out by international experts from the Ion Exchange Resins business unit of Bayer Chemicals AG in cooperation with a Taiwanese customer, Formosa Chemical Fiber Corp.💧

Two more arsenic-free drinking water supply projects were inaugurated at Pirijpur and Lalbagh in Godagari Upazila in Bangladesh. The projects will ensure irrigation on 300 acres of land and supply of arsenic-free drinking water to about 3,000 people. Official sources said a total of 24 projects have been implemented in 12 arsenic-prone districts. 💧

Madison, S.D.-based G.A. Murdock’s Mur-lok polypropylene fittings and LLDPE tubing are now NSF 58 component certified, ensuring products meet standards through both structural and material testing. This allows certified components to be incorporated into any NSF 58 certified drinking water system with minimal paperwork and re-testing. 💧

Vermont Pure Holdings Ltd., of Randolph, Vt., has sold its retail production assets to Micropack Bottled Water, of Natick, Mass., including bottling facility and spring sites in Randolph Center, Vt. Vermont Pure will retain its trademark and continue to distribute water under that brand throughout its home and office distribution area. 💧

domnick hunter group plc acquired PTI Advanced Filtration, of Oxnard, Calif. domnick hunter, of the UK, provides filtration, purification, separation and gas generation products for a wide range of industries and applications. 💧

Harleysville, Pa.-based Met-Pro Corp.’s Pristine Hydrochemical Inc. subsidiary agreed on service contracts to provide water treatment programs for three municipal plant facilities located in the midwest and southeast United States. These service contracts are for a minimum of three years and are worth more than $500,000 per year. 💧

Adsorbent certified by NSF;  arsenic expelled at school
Hydroglobe Inc., of Hoboken, N.J., announced that its MetSorb G adsorbent has been certified by NSF International to the NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects—developed to identify and eliminate leaching or migration of contaminants from water treatment materials and products into finished drinking water. The adsorbent removes arsenic and lead in drinking water to significantly below current and proposed state and federal regulations, in particular addressing a lower federal drinking water standard for arsenic adopted in February 2002. Instead of 50 parts per billion (ppb), on Jan. 23, 2006, U.S. public water systems must comply with the 10 ppb standard for arsenic in drinking water. Some states are considering even lower levels. For example, N.J. Gov. James McGreevey proposed the most stringent standard in the country of 5 ppb in New Jersey for arsenic in drinking water earlier this year. In related news, Hydroglobe completed six months of a yearlong qualification program at the East Amwell Township Elementary School in Ringoes, N.J., to remove arsenic from drinking water there. Using the adsorbent, the company reduced arsenic to below 2 ppb from an average inlet level of 19 ppb. The equipment supplied by the company is treating all of the drinking water in the school. Over 150,000 gallons of well water have been treated using 3.5 cubic feet of the adsorbent over the six-month period. The only maintenance required is a periodic backwash. HydroGlobe is a company of experts who deliver water purification technology to countries, municipalities and individuals.

WQA gets wide play on CNN
TV news network CNN broadcast a report on safe drinking water on May 8 that featured footage of the Water Quality Association (WQA) laboratory and an interview with WQA executive director Peter Censky. Washington, D.C.-based CNN correspondent Christy Feig and a camera crew filmed the interview and lab operations at WQA headquarters and laboratory in Lisle, Ill., the week before the show aired. The report focused on filtration and other waterborne contaminant-reduction technologies, accentuating the recent focus on water raised by the Washington, D.C., problem with lead in drinking water and the ability of POU/POE equipment to give consumers added assurance that their water meets federal standards.

Watts ROs recognized by NSF
Watts Water Technologies, of North Andover, Mass., announced in June its completion of both NSF and California Department of Health Services (Cal DHS) certification for the reduction of perchlorate from drinking water on its line of residential reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration systems sold under the name Watts Pure Water. The line of RO units are said to be “the first and currently only” NSF- and Cal DHS-certified products for which the claim can be made of achieving 96.5 percent perchlorate reduction. Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and manmade chemical, known to interfere with iodide uptake into the thyroid gland, which may also result in thyroid gland tumors. In the United States, perchlorate is used mainly as a rocket and missile propellant and in fireworks. The contaminant has been detected in groundwater or soil in hundreds of locations in at least 43 states. Currently, the most recognized contamination of perchlorate is the Colorado River, which provides water to Nevada, Arizona and Southern California. NSF/ANSI Standard 58 covers RO systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants that may be present in drinking water. The perchlorate reduction claim was added to the standard in response to growing health concerns and increased occurance of perchlorate in drinking water.

GE picks up BHA Group
GE Energy, of Atlanta, has signed an agreement to acquire BHA Group Holdings Inc., a leading provider of air quality control products and services, for $38 per share or about $260 million. Upon consummation of the transaction, BHA will become a wholly owned subsidiary of GE. Based in Kansas City, Mo., BHA is a company with operations in 11 countries that supplies parts, services and engineered upgrades to reduce particulate matter emissions for a broad range of power generation and industrial applications, as well as ePTFE membrane products for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products. Following the close of acquisition, BHA will be integrated with GE Energy’s portfolio of environmental services. The acquisition will add complementary particulate matter control capabilities to GE Energy’s existing combustion control and emissions monitoring solutions. It also adds ePTFE membrane technology to the GE portfolio.  

Pall filter gets good press
Janet Stout, Ph.D., director of special pathogens laboratory at the Veterans Administration (VA) Pittsburgh Healthcare System and a past contributor to WC&P, discussed on June 8 the risks of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) waterborne infections and presented results of a study on the efficacy of point-of-use filtration to eliminate Legionella bacteria and other pathogens from water. The study, conducted at the VA hospital in Pittsburgh, found that the 0.2-micron Pall-Aquasafe water filter completely eliminated Legionella pneumophilia and Mycobacterium spp and achieved a greater than 99 percent reduction in heterotrophic bacteria in the water samples. The findings were presented at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology annual conference.  

Electropure gets 2nd patent  
Laguna Hills, Calif.-based Electro-pure Inc. was granted a second U.S. patent for its ion exchange membranes. These membranes are part of its electrodeionization (EDI) water purification technology. EDI is used in industrial water treatment systems to make ultrapure water for electronic, pharmaceutical and power generation applications. The company currently exports about two-thirds of its EDI products, and sells to 37 countries around the world.

Nitrates don’t cause cancer
Despite indications from animal studies, long-term exposure to nitrates in drinking water doesn’t raise the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer, according to an April issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. The risk, however, may be increased with consumption of dietary nitrite from animal products. This prompted researchers to look at whether increased intake of nitrate and nitrite from water and diet was associated with pancreatic cancer risk. The group linked detailed water source histories with nitrate measurements from Iowa community water supplies. It then compared 189 people from the area with pancreatic cancer to 1,244 “control” subjects without cancer. The risk of pancreatic cancer didn’t rise with increasing nitrate consumption from drinking water. In fact, increased intake was associated with a decreased risk in women, but not in men. Conversely, higher levels of dietary nitrite from animal sources were linked with an elevated risk of pancreatic cancer; however, the findings do “suggest a role for nitrate derived from animal sources as a pancreatic risk factor.”

CUNO acquires Pentapure arm
CUNO Inc., of Meriden, Conn.,  purchased WTC Industries Inc., of Eagan, Minn., in late May. WTC, through its PentaPure Inc. operating subsidiary, manufactures water filtration systems and replacement filter cartridges for point-of-use (POU) applications including residential refrigerators and under-the-counter drinking water systems. WTC currently employs approximately 220 people. Last year, WTC’s sales totaled $28.3 million. The planned combination will increase CUNO’s presence in the POU water filtration products business.
Fresno gets $32M plant
Fresno, Calif. residents may soon notice a marked improvement in their tap water, area newspapers reported. A new $32 million surface water treatment plant that will send Kings River and Millerton Lake water into thousands of northeast Fresno homes will open in the next few months. The plant will add to a system of 250 groundwater wells that currently meets the city’s needs, and should supply water that tastes different and has more pressure. Officials said the plant will provide up to 30 million gallons of water a day, just a fraction of what Fresno uses daily, which is between 140 million and 230 million gallons.

Dow obtains arsenic media, raises Dowex resin prices
Dow Chemical Co., of Midland, Mich., has licensed a patent-pending technology from HydroGlobe, of Hoboken, N.J., that removes arsenic III and V from drinking water.  Developed by Stevens Institute of Technology, Dow will use the innovative technology to create new adsorptive media for cost-effective removal of arsenic and heavy metals from drinking water. In other news, Dow increased the price of its ion exchange resins by an average of 5 percent across the entire range of products, effective April 15. Customers will be contacted by their local Dow sales representatives with specific product and price details. In addition, Dow announced at the WQA convention in Baltimore in March that its DOWEX XUS-43597 solvent-free resin was now available for general sale. Dowex market manager Alan Green-berg noted it has the highest operational efficiency available in the home drinking water industry, adding NSF Standard 44 certification is pending.



Saturday, July 24th, 2004

The ‘unidentified’ man
Dear Editor:
The unknown man in the “Flashback” photo in the June issue (see “Check Out that Hair!” WC&P, p. 98) is Dr. Ron Rogowski of Culligan International. He was responsible for product research and development (R&D) for Culligan. Dr. Rogowski left Culligan in the early ’80s to continue his career at Quaker Oats. He has since retired. His last position at Quaker was global vice president of R&D. We question the date of this photo, as we believe it was taken in 1978 not 1988, as Dr. Rogowski was with Culligan at the time of the photo and left our employ in the early ’80s.

Frank A. Brigano, Ph.D.
Group Vice President, R&D
Culligan International Company
Northbrook, Ill.

Editor’s note: Thank you for that information. I cannot verify if 1978 was the year the photo was shot but, if so, the venue would have been Houston, Texas, which hosted the WQA convention that year—not Denver. While we do try to verify all identifications, we sometimes have to rely on incomplete information as our photo archives are a bit rustic. But we hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. 

Old activated carbon model
Dear Editor:
We were very surprised to see the old “tree root” model for activated carbon (AC) used in a WC&P article in the June 2004 issue (see “Drinking Water Treatment: Activated Carbon Filtration,” p. 31). This model has been out of favor for over 20 years. This root schematic does not agree with laboratory data. A “modern” activated carbon model has long been advanced by Dr. Mick Greenbank at Calgon Carbon Corp.

Otherwise, the authors of your June “Spotlight” article on activated carbon filtration did a splendid job of informing your readers about AC. We do ask that the authors research the models used for AC and strongly consider the “modern” model.

Henry Nowicki, Ph.D.
Professional Analytical and Consulting
Services (PACS) Inc.
Pittsburgh, Pa.


Saturday, July 24th, 2004

By Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor

A Superhighway of Water: Smooth driving or traffic jams
In this month’s “Executive Q&A” interview, Blue-White Industries’ Robin Gledhill laments the decline of trade shows. A quote from Mark Twain comes to mind: “Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.” Trade shows will never go out of style.

That’s not to say they won’t change. But there’s too much business to be done and they’re a unique business-to-business medium at which players can pursue the exchange of commerce. Still, things can be done to enhance a particular event’s viability. In the end, though, complacency is not an option. There are so many competing events, change is required often just to offer something different and “new.”

The trade show business is like any other. It cannot escape the economic rules of supply and demand. In an expanding market, there are usually plenty of attendees to go around. Thus, the number of trade shows grows. In a declining market, that supply drops and trade shows either adjust expectations until the next upswing in the business cycle, shift gears or look for partners.

To be sure, other factors such as the rise of the Internet—a virtual 24/7 trade show—have arisen to challenge the monopoly trade shows held. It used to be a trade show or trade magazine was the only way for professionals to learn about new technologies, products and services. Not anymore. The Internet has become just another component of doing business. It has its place. So too does the trade show. So too do trade magazines. They’re all part of the mix. And to effectively reach a target audience, a smart business uses each.

WC&P editors and advertising executives attend a plethora of trade events each year, the Water Quality Association’s being the anchor for the magazine’s primary reader—POU/POE water treatment market professionals. And it’s true attendance at some has dropped (Baltimore’s attendees were the fewest in more than 10 years). Explanations vary from business is so good that dealers don’t have time to get away, to the economy is so bad dealers can’t afford to get away. A hard-to-get-to venue. A snowstorm struck. The events of 9/11 had a definite impact.

It used to be said it’s a two-way street and dealers and manufacturers both need to participate. Today, though, it’s more like a freeway with multiple lanes based on different member “section” needs. Each may go at a different speed. In a very general sense, the WQA is a traffic cop, saying who can get on the freeway. It’s had a more expansive perspective understanding more traffic is good. But jams occur when rules guiding traffic on the freeway become unclear, as has been the case with the Internet, more emphasis on commercial/industrial applications and greater interest by mass retail in the market. The WQA’s evolving new strategic plan begun at the 2003 Las Vegas convention attempts to streamline this traffic.

In addition, I’ve always viewed regional associations as on-ramps to the industry. Other industry associations and events, however, also offer a merging of freeways. In a big way, recognition of this resulted in the agreement between WQA and Aquatech RAI to reorganize next year’s trade show and expand the industry’s options to assure greater traffic. This requires greater diplomacy between organizations, which we imagine is under way behind the scenes under the guidance of WQA executive director Peter Censky. A lot hinges on its success and the more input the better. Accessing that input is dependent on a level of openness from all players to make sure the evolution from freeway to superhighway is seamless.

Structural Integrity and the DWTU Standards

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

By Rick Andrew

Imagine this scenario: You purchase a new point-of-entry (POE) water filter from your local water treatment dealer or home improvement center. You have the filter installed in your basement by a qualified individual from the dealership or a plumber. The installation is in accordance with state and local laws and regulations. A week later, you head into the basement only to discover massive water damage. The cause of the damage? A cracked filter bowl caused simply because the bowl couldn’t handle line pressure and hammering from opening and closing faucets.

The thought of this type of incident makes manufacturers, dealers and retailers cringe. Who’s liable for this water damage? In fact, the No. 1 homeowner insurance claim is for water damage with the most frequent source being the washing machine. Fortunately, this kind of scenario is much less likely to occur when certified water treatment components and devices are used. It’s no fluke, because the NSF/ANSI Drinking Water Treatment Unit (DWTU) standards used to evaluate such equipment* have specific structural integrity requirements that are met through severe tests of various types of stresses.

Three basic tests
There are three different tests that establish conformance to structural integrity requirements: a cyclic pressure test, a hydrostatic pressure test, and a burst pressure test. The specific details regarding which tests apply, the number of cycles required, and the test pressures vary according to product category, product design, manufacturers’ pressure rating, and the standard being applied (see Table 1). Requirements for other DWTU standards vary slightly from those of Standards 42 and 53, although the same three basic tests are involved in all standards.

Complete systems are categorized differently and have different certification requirements from DWTU components. For pressure-bearing components to be certified to the DWTU standards, they must not only conform to the requirements for structural integrity, but also to the requirements for material safety. Plus, for non-metallic components, structural integrity compliance includes a burst pressure test, which isn’t required for complete systems or metallic components.

In addition, the number of cycles required for the cyclic test is either 10,000 or 100,000. And the pressures for this test can be either 0-to-150 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) or 0-to-50 psig. The hydrostatic pressure test is conducted to either 1.5 times or three times the manufacturer’s maximum working pressure, depending upon the category of product. Because of these potential variables within the same base test, it’s very important to precisely categorize products prior to establishing test requirements. If there’s any question on how to classify your product, confer with your certification organization on where and what areas your device will be used in the industry. Otherwise, it will be unable to assist in a certification plan.

Test descriptions
The cyclic test is designed to simulate the opening and closing of faucets and valves throughout the lifetime of the product by cycling pressure between 0 and 150 psig. The rise in pressure must be at least one second to avoid undue stress on the test unit. A test stand with electronically controlled solenoid valves is used. This stand also incorporates an automatic cycle counter (see Figure 1).

The hydrostatic test simulates a short-term increase in static line pressure. The pressure rise must be accomplished within five minutes, but the ramp-up must not exceed 100 psig per second, again to control stress on the product. The test pressure must be maintained for 15 minutes.

The burst test establishes the required strength of the product against an instantaneous maximum pressure. The pressure rise must be accomplished within 70 seconds with the ramp-up not exceeding 100 psig per second. The test pressure must be maintained only for an instant, and then pressure is released.

Successfully passing these tests means the test product is still intact at the end of the test with no leaking detected. This differs from some other types of integrity testing that establish the conditions when failure finally occurs. Also, it’s acceptable to perform each test on a separate test unit. It’s not required the same test unit survives the full gauntlet of structural integrity tests from beginning to end. These tests require the test unit be purged of air prior to commencing pressure increase. This is necessary because air is much more compressible than water, and trapped air can cause explosions from test failures to be much more severe than they would be without air present.

Two case studies
Selecting two examples of different product types to examine and determine the application of structural integrity test requirements, let’s first examine how a faucet-mounted water filter with a maximum working pressure rating of 100 psig is tested. These are the small devices that literally hang from the end of the kitchen faucet, suspended over the sink. Because they’re installed downstream from the faucet valve, and aren’t subject to line pressure in the “off”mode, they’re considered complete systems designed for open discharge.

Structural integrity test requirements for complete systems designed for open discharge are described in the third row from the top of Table 1. As a first step, measures are taken to seal the treated water outlet of the filter element of a new test unit prior to beginning the hydrostatic pressure test. This is done per Note 2 in Table 1. The concept behind this note is that an open discharge system would only be under hydrostatic stress if the filter were plugged. And even then, those components of the system downstream from the filter media wouldn’t be subject to this stress. Given this logic, those components aren’t subject to the hydrostatic pressure test requirements and are sealed off. The system inlet is connected to the test stand, the system purged of air, and the pressure is ramped up to 150 psig for 15 minutes. The system is observed for leaks throughout the 15-minute period.

A 10,000 cyclic pressure test of 0-to-50 psig is also required. A filter system with plugged product water outlet is used for this test, just as with the hydrostatic pressure test. This test is initiated by attaching the inlet of the system to the test stand—with the system in its normal use configuration—and purging it of air. The cycling is then begun, with periodic observations for leaks throughout the course of 10,000 cycles.

As a second example, let’s look at a filter housing with a clear plastic bowl designed to accept 10-inch long × 2.5-inch diameter cartridges, that has a maximum working pressure rating of 125 psig. Because this product is sold without a cartridge, it’s a component. It fits the category of non-metallic pressure vessels having a diameter of <203 millimeters (mm) or 8 inches.

The first test to be performed is the hydrostatic pressure test. The housing inlet is connected to the test stand. The housing is purged of any air. The housing outlet is capped off with a fitting to simulate downstream closed valves. The pressure is ramped to 375 psig (which is three times the maximum working pressure) and held for 15 minutes. The system is observed for leaks throughout the 15-minute period.

A new test unit is selected for cyclic pressure testing. Again, the inlet is connected to the test stand, purged of air, and the outlet is capped with a fitting. One hundred thousand cycles of 0-to-150 psig are conducted with periodic observations for leakage made. This test will take several days to complete.

The final required test is the burst pressure test. Once again, a new test unit is connected to the test stand at the inlet, purged of air, and the outlet is capped with a fitting. The pressure is ramped to 500 psig (which is four times the maximum working pressure), and held for an instant. Note that an instant is less than a second. After an instantaneous observation of the integrity of the housing, the pressure is immediately released.

You may be thinking to yourself that these test conditions are quite harsh. After all, how much stress will that faucet-mounted filter really see? The only time it sees any pressure at all is when someone turns the faucet on, and even then it’s open discharge. And how about that housing? One hundred thousand cycles of 0-to-150 psig is a severe test of resistance to cracking. And surely the housing would never see a pressure of 500 psig in the real world.

The truth is, these test conditions are quite harsh. That’s the whole idea. And because certified manufacturer’s design and mold products conform to these harsh requirements of structural integrity, they can rest assured that these products will survive a lifetime of real world service with a significantly less chance of product failure in the field. After all, no one would appreciate a water treatment product made of very safe material, does a great job treating water and looks great, but develops a leak that leads to severe water damage after a few months of service.

About the author
Rick Andrew has been with NSF International for over five years, working with certification of residential drinking water products. He has been the technical manager of the Drinking Water Treatment Units program for over two years. His previous experience was in the area of analytical and environmental chemistry consulting. Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan. He can be reached at (800) 673-6275 or email: andrew@nsf.org


Saturday, July 24th, 2004

By Ronald Y. Pérez, WC&P Managing Editor

Timberrr… Another Calif. City Falls to Softener Ban
The city of Fillmore has become the second city in California—Santa Clarita was the first—to enact a ban on new automatic softeners as permitted by AB 334, reported the Pacific Water Quality Association (PWQA) website. On May 11, the city—based on a request by the city engineer—acted to formalize the ban drafted a week earlier outlawing the installation of new automatic water softeners within city limits. Representatives of the PWQA were on hand to voice their opposition to the ban as unfair and unnecessary to the citizens of Fillmore. The city is also considering a citywide ballot measure aimed at forcing local residents to remove their existing automatic units. According to observers, the city is considering placing a ballot measure asking residents to either soften all of the city’s water supply by building a treatment plant or build a membrane-based effluent treatment plant. The PWQA went on to say that each of these options would carry a high cost, which is certain to cause voters to turn down both options, giving the city carte blanche to enact further ordinance or impose a special fee on owners of self-regenerating water softeners. At different times, representatives of the city have stated this fee could be up to $180 per month more on a consumer’s sewer bills. For more information, visit www.saveoursofteners.com. Local residents have formed a grassroots organization, Save Our Softeners (see April PipeLines), to oppose the city’s ban on new automatic equipment as well as future efforts by the city to make all automatic softeners illegal.

In other PWQA news, the association conducted a membership drive on May 11 and swung 12 new members onto its rolls. The drive was hosted by Performance Water Products, of Buena Park, Calif., and participants included Mark Howlett, past PWQA president Pat Dalee, WC&P Technical Review Committee member C.F. “Chubb” Michaud, Mike Mecca and Tony Pagliaro. For more information on joining the PWQA, contact Kristi Pihl at (760) 644-7348 or email: info@pwqa.org

In its May 2004 newsletter, the Ohio Water Quality Association (OWQA) estimated that 30 people attended the April 23 seminar held in Bellville, Ohio. As OWQA executive director Dan Schlosser reported, the day began with a two-hour presentation on integrated marketing by Creative Marketing columnist David H. Martin. During lunch, the future of the Great Lakes WQA program was discussed. It was decided that next year’s event will be held at Kings Island Resort and Conference Center in Cincinnati in June. Exact dates weren’t provided; see future Upcoming Events for further updates. Also, Rebecca Petty, of the Ohio Department of Health, outlined areas of the private water system rules to be reviewed later this year. She also asked for input from water treatment professionals in attendance. A copy of Martin’s Power Point slides can be obtained by contacting him by email: dmartin@lenzimartin.com

The Water Quality Association of Wisconsin (WQAW) lost a charter member recently when Paul Maher passed away in late April. Maher, along with his wife Lydia, were founders of Maher Soft Water Service, of Stevens Point, Wis. He was a pioneer in the treatment of low pH waters found in central and northern Wisconsin. He was also a charter member of the Wisconsin Water Conditioning Dealers Association, which later became the WQAW. Maher was elected to the WQAW board of directors, served as president, and was awarded the WQAW’s Lifetime award. He retired in February 1980, selling his business to his son, William Maher, who is serving as WQAW president this year and is also the WQA regent for Wisconsin. The elder Maher is survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters.


UV Light as Water Treatment: Why Its Popularity is Rising

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

By Tom Stoll, P.E.

Summary: Whether it’s used as a supplement to a multi-step water treatment program or by itself, UV light is beginning to take a stronghold as an effective technology in the United States. As many of you know, it has been widely used in Europe for many years. The author describes what makes UV such an attractive water treatment option.

With growing populations demanding quality public services, many countries—including less-developed ones—are searching for better ways to provide clean drinking water. There are many different purification methods from which to choose including filtration, chemical treatment, distillation and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. Some of these methods are customarily used in conjunction with one another to provide purified water that meets certain health standards, e.g., USEPA and U.S. Public Health Guidelines. When used together, these methods remove solids, neutralize adverse chemicals, and disinfect by killing bacteria and other microorganisms.

One inexpensive and efficient way of disinfecting the water supply is by irradiating it with UV light. It’s known that UV light of wavelengths between 250 and 270 nanometers (UV-C or UVC band) is extremely effective in killing many species of bacteria, mold spores, viruses and other microorganisms. The UV light causes DNA damage to the cells of the microorganisms that leads to mutations and eventual cell death. Using UV radiation in this manner to purify water is popular among Europeans who have known about it for decades. Its use here in the United States started in the early 1990s and is becoming more prevalent especially with outbreaks of drinking water contamination by microorganisms. Those incidents include a Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee in 1993 that killed over 100 people and in Las Vegas in 1994 that killed 43 people; as well as E. coli outbreaks in upstate New York at a county fair in 1999 that killed two and in Walkerton, Ontario, Canada, in 2000 that killed seven people. In each case, hundreds and hundreds of thousands were made ill.

Typical UV water purification systems rely on the movement of water through a vessel that contains a UV lamp positioned so its axis is aligned in the same direction as the water flow. This ensures maximum exposure of the water to the UV radiation as it passes across the lamp body. Many of these types of purifiers require pressurization to assist the flow of water through the device. Some, however, don’t rely on pressurization. They use gravity instead as the primary means to move water through the system (see UV Waterworks at http://eetd.lbl.gov/iep/archive/uv). This results in a very simple design that can be easily relocated to the water supply. This is particularly important in less-developed countries where the water supply may consist of smaller sites at many different locations. The designs of these systems typically consist of a flow tank, UV (germicidal) lamp, electronic ballast, and automatic shut-off valve to prevent water flow when the lamp is inoperable. This simple design means the user now has an economical way to purify his water supply that requires very little maintenance and uses a fraction of the energy as compared to other disinfecting methods such as distillation.

Advantages of UV
A few benefits of using this type of UV water purification scheme include simplicity, portability and affordability. To help realize these benefits, the UV purification system incorporates a lamp of suitable size and wattage to generate light of the proper wavelength with an electronic ballast to operate it. The electronic ballast plays an important role in how much UV the lamp generates. Dosage is a function of UV wavelength, intensity and time. Light intensity from the lamp is proportional to the electric current flowing through it, and is also affected by the frequency at which it’s operated. Both of these parameters are controlled by the electronic ballast. Since many water purification systems are portable, they sometimes require power supplied from a battery rather than the typical AC source, i.e., 120-volt outlet. The electronic ballast must be able to accommodate applications with this requirement. Some of the other features users might expect from the electronic ballast are small physical size, long life and high efficiency.

At least one line of electronic ballasts can help meet these requirements. It can operate a wide variety of germicidal lamps from a number of different power supply voltages including both AC and DC (battery) sources. Many models are compact in size and can be easily incorporated into most designs. Probably one of the most attractive features of the product line is that nearly any model can be customized for a specific lamp to generate different levels of UV radiation. In some cases, new or specialty lamps require new ballast designs. In these instances, engineers can often create designs that meet or exceed customer needs.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, customization could be of primary concern as different systems may require different levels of UV generation from the same lamp. This isn’t possible with most electronic ballast manufacturers since they customarily require high-volume production runs to justify any change or customization of their products. This is a good example of how a line of electronic ballasts can provide flexibility to accommodate special customer requirements. Some customers of these particular units are suppliers of UV purification products. For example, Atlantic Ultraviolet, Cannon Environmental Technologies, Photon Technologies, Sobrite Technologies, and Water Systems Integrators are all recent users of these products. Many of them use a product to generate high levels of UV radiation to purify air or water by operating a germicidal lamp from a DC power supply. This is important in remote or less-developed areas where power supplies and water quality may be more inconsistent.

In summary, UV irradiation is becoming a more viable and economical means of water purification when used in conjunction with other methods. Systems incorporating UV technology must be portable, affordable and easily maintained. Electronic ballasts can help system designers meet these requirements by offering products of small physical size, flexibility in design, and quick turnaround to help bring the system to market faster.

About the author
Tom Stoll is product engineering manager for The Bodine Co. Inc., of Collierville, Tenn. Her can be reached at (901) 854-1651, (901) 854-1630 (fax) or website: www.bodine.com 

Pool & Spa Operator Certification: How Products and Services for Drinking Water Apply to Recreational Water Treatme...

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

By Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D.

Recreational water treatment is similar in many ways to municipal or point-of-use (POU) drinking water treatment. Because of these similarities, and despite the differences, organizations that provide services and products to the drinking water industry may find opportunities to tailor their products to the recreational water field. The first step to identify opportunities is to understand recreational water treatment. This article summarizes some of the topics relevant to the care of commercial (public) and residential swimming pools and spas. Fortunately, there are more than 1,000 classes for operators or service personnel offered each year that provide in-depth information.

Defining recreational facilities
The recreational water field can be broken into two major segments: residential and commercial. Residential swimming pools and spas, which are more numerous, usually have smaller water volume, are less sophisticated and less regulated. In contrast, commercial pools and spas on average are bigger, have higher bather loads, and fall under the jurisdiction of local health departments. Recreational water venues are regulated by state and local health codes that establish higher standards for commercial facilities and the people who care for these facilities. Since pool operator classes are taught by local instructors, they provide information about local codes. Of course, federal rules covering pesticide registration, “right-to-know,” hazard communication, and hazardous material transportation also apply to the recreational water field.

Commercial or public recreational water facilities include hotels, motels, health clubs, therapy facilities, schools, universities, hospitals, municipal facilities, competition pools, YMCA/YWCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, Jewish Community Centers, and water parks with many unique water environments. As the size of the facility increases, it becomes more common that trained professionals are on site to operate the facility. In other cases, the facility is visited and serviced by a company that has certified personnel. Although this article focuses on commercial venues, many of the concepts also apply to residential applications.

Disinfectants must be suitable for human contact. In addition, disinfectant residuals must be constantly maintained to ensure sanitary conditions and prevent disease outbreaks. The most common disinfectants release chlorine (hypochlorous acid) into the water. In spas, bromine-releasing chemicals (hypobromous acid) are commonly used. Water balance is maintained to protect the facility and circulation system components from damage due to corrosion or scaling. Additional care must be taken in recreational water to minimize irritation to eyes and mucous membranes. The water balance parameters include pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, temperature and, to a lesser extent, total dissolved solids (TDS).

New chemical treatment technologies are finding use in recreational water. For example, ozone as a supplemental oxidizer and disinfectant is used in selected pool and spa applications. Ultraviolet light is used in some commercial facilities. In addition, electrolytic cells convert salt (sodium chloride) into chlorine. In these systems, salt is added to the water to establish an approximate 3,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L) level.

Other common traits
Similarities between drinking and recreational water treatment include factors associated with chemistry, microbiology, engineering, facility management and application technology. In either application, the water is ingested, contacts people’s skin, and can emit vapors that can be inhaled.

The physical facilities have some common factors as well. For example, filtration removes contaminants in both applications. The filters used to purify recreational water include high-rate sand, cartridges or grids that are coated with diatomaceous earth. Pumps are used to transport and circulate water. A variety of products help improve water quality and clarity. Automatic chemical feeders maintain disinfectant residuals and pH. An increasing number of facilities use sensors or probe technologies to monitor water quality and control the addition of chemicals to the water. Recently, wireless, web-based monitoring and control technologies have been introduced.

Water in any container—a bucket, bath tub, lake, stream, pool or spa—poses a drowning hazard. Important design criteria including barriers, self-closing and self-latching gates, warning signs, and caregiver education for children prevents tragic loss of life. Particular care must be taken when children are in the vicinity.

General differences
The differences between drinking and recreational water are driven by customers’ needs. Basic business texts commonly review mankind’s hierarchy of needs and show that physiological survival and physical safety take precedence over higher level needs of belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Drinking water satisfies the most basic physiological survival need of mankind—although innovative marketers have positioned certain water products to satisfy higher-level needs with “prestige” products. In contrast, a swimming pool or spa focuses on higher-level needs like belonging with family and friends, esteem, prestige and self-fulfillment. As a result, products and technologies must consider how they help satisfy these specific needs. As the population ages and sedentary lifestyles become more common, recreational water’s role is changing to satisfy basic physiological needs as an environment to maintain or recover physical health and fitness.

Drinking water and recreational water differ in how the water is maintained in a sanitary state. Once drinking water is filtered, disinfected and transported in the distribution system, water quality is largely maintained. Recreational water has a greater challenge to maintain a constant disinfectant concentration because the water is often exposed to outdoor environments and frequently contaminated. In addition to microbial contaminants from washed off skin, saliva and the environment, it’s estimated that 0.1 grams of fecal matter is introduced from each bather.1 Organic and inorganic contaminants from the environment, cosmetics, and flora and fauna further complicate the system.

Most commercial pools use hypochlorite-based chlorine, releasing chemicals like sodium or calcium hypochlorite. Elemental chlorine gas is used in a relatively few facilities, and the number is decreasing. Since many pools and spas are exposed to sunlight, cyanuric acid has been used since the 1960s to extend chlorine’s half-life, which is about one hour in the absence of the cyanuric acid “stabilizer.” In addition, chlorinated isocyanurates, which release chlorine and cyanuric acid, are commonly used to treat recreational water.

There remains a need to find ways to protect people from recreational water diseases. For example, as shown in Figure 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that recreational disease outbreaks have been increasing over the last 10 years.2 The biggest increase is due to chlorine-resistant pathogens like Cryptosporidium. Although some research is ongoing in this area,3 the opportunity exists to explore possible solutions from the drinking water industry. The amount of research and number of talented individuals and companies working in the drinking water industry far exceeds those in recreational water.

The physical systems used in recreational and drinking water differ in the potential hazards they pose. Since swimmers can come into direct contact with plumbing lines under vacuum, injury or drowning due to entrapment or hair entanglement is possible in pools and spas. Fortunately, research has identified facility design criteria, and anti-entrapment covers are available that eliminate the entrapment risk.4 Another difference is that pool and spa water is circulated over and over. As a result, contaminants can build up over time.

Many pools and all spas include a heater in the circulation system. It’s important to maintain balanced water to prevent heat exchanger corrosion, calcium carbonate (CaCO3) scale deposits or etching. The high temperature and aeration in spa water reduces the carbonate buffer capacity of water by driving off carbon dioxide. In addition, the high bather-to-water-volume ratio in spas further exacerbates disinfectant loss, often requiring the use of scale inhibitors.

There’s an excellent opportunity for companies that provide services or products to the drinking water field to pursue opportunities in recreational water. This opportunity is based on the many similarities between these fields. The key to exploring recreational water opportunities is understanding how the differences would require services or products to be tailored to satisfy the needs of recreational water facilities or people who use those facilities. This article provides a brief review of some of the similarities and differences between recreational and drinking water. A more in-depth knowledge can be obtained through an operator training class.


  1. Gerba, C.P., “Assessment of Enteric Pathogen Shedding by Bathers During Recreational Activity and its Impact on Water Quality,” Quantitative Microbiology, 2:33-68, 2000.
  2. Lee, S.H., et al., “Surveillance for Waterborne-Disease Outbreaks – United States, 1999-2000,” Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, SS-8, Nov. 22, 2002.
  3. NSPF issued a two-year grant to the CDC to research ways to reduce disease outbreaks due to chlorine-resistant pathogens.
  4. Rowley, W.N., “Suction Entrapment & Hair Entanglement/Entrapment,” National Swimming Pool Foundation Safety Compendium, In Press, 2004.

About the author
Dr. Thomas M. Lachocki is the chief executive officer of the National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF®). Before joining the foundation last year, Dr. Lachocki was responsible for product development for a leading recreational water treatment company. He has performed research, presented findings and published papers in diverse fields including recreational water treatment, surfactant science, synthetic lubricants, industrial catalysts, solvents and combustion chemistry. He has been granted six U.S. patents that have been issued and are practiced in at least eight countries. He earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from Louisiana State University and a bachelor’s degree from Lock Haven University. He can be reached at (719) 540-9119, (719) 540-2787 (fax) or email: tom.lachocki@nspf.org

Gleaning Wisdom with Blue-White’s Gledhill

Wednesday, July 14th, 2004

By Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor

Fresh from his tour in the U.S. Army, Robin Gledhill joined Blue-White Industries in 1970 in the service department of the California-based specialist in chemical feed injection and flow metering equipment. With diligence and dedication, he moved up at the company and was elected president in 1997.

Blue-White was founded in 1957 by Oswald “Ozzie” King, who was well known at the time as a commercial pool builder. Gledhill notes that, left to his own devices, King developed numerous products out of necessity during his years in pool construction. Among those were the pumps and flow meters that have anchored the company.

Ozzie passed away in 1998. But his wife, Frances, is still CEO, their son heads up manufacturing and their daughter manages advertising for Blue-White. The company—like most who felt the effects of the recent recession—is coming off a few bad years, but took the time to position itself for growth. Thus, Gledhill talks about a percentage jump in sales in double-digits this year and optimism for better times.

“I think it’s going to be good,” he says. “It’s an election year. I think we’ve been through—I don’t care what the government says—a three-year recession. And that should be followed by a minimum of five years of stable growth, barring any unforeseen terrorist issues.”

Gledhill laments how many U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost in recent years and touts his company’s efforts to keep from outsourcing work through innovation and automation. After letting staffing fall to 65, Blue-White is nearly back to its peak of 75 employees. But those numbers mean little compared to production, because it has always focused on high-tech manufacturing to be more efficient and cost-effective. Much of the resulting equipment allows one person to do the work of four.

Gledhill says, “We’ve really lost a lot of blood as an industry. It’s so nice to see it coming back… But going through a recession like this is really good for us, in a sense. It’s just like taking bad medicine. In every section of your business, you become more efficient.”

About 45 percent of Blue-White’s business is in pumps with 55 percent in flow metering, but that’s cyclical and may flip-flop if the high-tech industry—semiconductors, computers, microelectronics, etc.—is up or down. High-tech requires more flow and sensory control to assure ultrapure water in manufacturing processes. But Blue-White’s pumps also assure precise dosing of various chemicals used in water treatment, whether chlorine, algaecides, biocides, slurries, etc. Fluids dispensed may be for other uses as well such as soaps and waxes for car washes or nutrients for agricultural irrigation. Aside from residential applications, its equipment is used in just about any commercial/industrial setting from boiler feed to cooling towers.

Gledhill likes to say this requires a lot of sophistication, both in how Blue-White’s products are made and instrumentation required in them. Still, with ongoing growth and development worldwide, marshalling water’s limited resources sustainably will become even more important, requiring even greater sophistication. That makes him very positive about the industry’s future.

Blue-White Industries
5300 Business Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Tel: (714) 893-8529; Fax: (714) 894-9492
Email: info@blue-white.com
Web: http://www.blue-white.com

Employees: 73


  • Frances King, CEO
  • Robert “Robin” Gledhill, president
  • Ron King, vice president of manufacturing
  • David Koch, sales and marketing manager
  • Jeanne Hendrickson, advertising manager

Revenue: $10 million-plus annually

Operations: A leading manufacturer of diaphragm and peristaltic style chemical metering injectors, variable area flow meters, electronic meters and flow totalizers.

And now for the interview:

WC&P: How long have you been in the water treatment business and how did you get started?

Gledhill: This question is assuming I’m the founder. I can tell you I’m not. I’m the president of the company. But it was incorporated in 1957. And our founder is the late Ozzie King, or Oswald King. He is Jeanne’s father. He passed away in August of 1998.

WC&P: When did you come on board at the company?

Gledhill: I was elected president in 1997. I started with the company in 1970.

WC&P: As what?

Gledhill: I started in the service department. I’d just gotten out of the military.

WC&P: Tell me about, if you could, the transition at the company over that period of time?

Gledhill: In the early years, Blue-White was primarily a manufacturer of swimming pool related products. Mr. King was a commercial pool builder of notoriety and, in the ’40s and ’50s, he oftentimes was left to his own devices when it came to developing products. He was very intelligent and came up with a lot of products out of necessity. That’s how we developed our basic product line, which would be chemical feed pumps and flow indicating devices. From there, it grew into the industrial and medical sectors and all kinds of areas.

WC&P: How has the company grown in terms of people?

Gledhill: Well, of course, you can imagine in the early years there were just several people. Blue-White has grown nicely through the years with a very consistent growth rate. And right now, we currently employ around 73 or 74 people.

WC&P: At the point when you started in 1970, roughly how many people were there? Oh, and I should ask which branch of the military did you serve?

Gledhill: Oh, I was in the Army. I was a medic. I was drafted.

WC&P: Did you serve in Vietnam?

Gledhill: No, the Vietnam War was raging at the time and, oddly enough, through other parts of the country—and they sent me to Korea. So, in 1969, they shipped me off to Korea. We take care of a certain part of the perimeter on the 38th Parallel and we patrol it for like 13 miles or something like that.

WC&P: I have an uncle who was in Korea in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.

Gledhill: Really. So, there I went. People say, “Gosh, you were drafted in 1968? Oh, man, what was it like in Vietnam?” And I can honestly say they shipped me somewhere else. But, anyway, I wasn’t a conscientious objector. I had no problems going to Vietnam. I was just lucky. Still, I think we’re building a foundation here on something that bothers me as a president of a manufacturing company. You can’t measure the strength of a company by the number of employees that you have. I’ll tell you why. Our business has gotten so competitive that we have to really work smart. And that’s to develop machinery and processes that require fewer people, not more people. If you were to walk through our plant, I can show you machines that can do the work of between four and six people. It takes an enormous expenditure of capital to get this kind of machinery in a business.

WC&P: How big is your plant?

Gledhill: Fifty-thousand square feet. So, when I started with the business, we had maybe 12 people. But every product we designed or were engineering, we always try and think of the fabrication and how we can do without just throwing a lot of people at the job. And I’m not talking about outsourcing. I have very strong feelings about that.

WC&P: Such as?

Gledhill: Well, such as I think that outsourcing works wonderful for a lot of people, but over the long term, it can be harmful for your business. I think in the short term, most company presidents are focusing on bottom lines. They have to answer to their shareholders, board of directors, etc. Oftentimes, though, you go for the quick gain by jobbing certain things out and you tend to lose control of quality. And then your products start appearing in other countries that you had no intention of them being developed.

WC&P: I think we’ve seen that in particular in the pump industry.

Gledhill: Pump industry, very much so.

WC&P: We’ve heard of a number of Asian manufacturers where production was outsourced to and then, a few years later, copycats began to appear.

Gledhill: Yes, little cottage industries show up in the country you were outsourcing to. Still, I’m certainly not here to cast aspersions. I’m just pointing out what I see. I’ve really fought to keep most of our manufacturing here in the United States. And I think it takes a little more sophistication—it truly does—and creative ways of doing things.

WC&P: For example, going a little more high-tech so that you make sure your efficiency on that level competes with the advantages of lower-cost labor on a foreign level.

Gledhill: Exactly. Because we think that our people are every bit as bright over here. I don’t even think you should say that because it implies that there’s some question about it. But there are a lot of people here who can do printed circuitry. And there’s a lot of people here that have so much expertise. You just have to tell them, basically, what you’re willing to spend on it. And before you embark on it, you kind of get this thing worked out. You keep reworking and refiguring—and you manage.

WC&P: Well, part of the reason we chose Blue-White to do this particular month’s “Executive Q&A” column is because we’ve got a sub-theme of this issue on chemical feed and pumps. And that’s sort of the core of your business, is it not?

Gledhill: Chemical feed pumps, yes, it is our core. But Blue-White really—if you analyze our company—we’re two companies in one. We make flow instrumentation and that is certainly a growth industry also. But there’s not really a tie-in with the two. In other words, with every pump you sell, you don’t sell a flow meter. You could, I suppose, but they’re both ground-up manufacturing.

WC&P: Tell me if you could what sort of percentages you have on both sides of these businesses and what kind of growth rates you see as well.

Gledhill: Typically, in the instrument industry, there’s a lot of tie-in to the tech industry. Whenever you see the tech increasing and growing, you can count on flow instrumentation to grow alongside of it.

WC&P: Because they’re going to need to have more controls and monitoring capabilities inherent in production in that industry.

Gledhill: They do. They need control. They need to have eyes into their system. And, in the pump industry, it is a lot more—you might say—diversified. It can be used in agriculture, certainly in swimming pools for chlorination, the car wash industry for pumping soaps and wetting agents and waxes. Did I mention the ag industry for nutrients and pH control? So, it’s so diversified, the pump industry; but if you’re looking for a dynamic industry, I would say the flow meter industry is more. Still, it can be kind of spiky.

WC&P: Well, the high tech industry is influenced a bit more by ebbs and flows in capital expenditures and the general economy…

Gledhill: Good point. And you can almost track the instrument sales by that. The pump industry seems a little more resilient. When the economy is going sideways, you still have fairly consistent pump sales. You don’t have high highs and low lows. You have more consistency.

WC&P: How much of your business is split this way? Is there a percentage that you offer on what you’re doing in pumps compared to the overall business?

Gledhill: I would say that we’re probably 45 to 55 percent. It’s so close it’s unbelievable. It might even be like 48 percent pumps and 52 percent flow meters. And they’ve kind of been jockeying back and forth for position, the two products. So, any given year, one could take over the other.

WC&P: Right, depending on what economic drivers are prevalent at the time.

Gledhill: Like the tech industry will drive the instrumentation. I keep mentioning the tech industry…

WC&P: When you say tech industry, you’re referring to what?

Gledhill: Solid state circuitry, semiconductors, computers—anything that has that involvement. What’s good for Cisco is good for Blue-White. What’s good for IBM is good for Blue-White. What’s good for Apple is good for Blue-White. Hewlett Packard is good for Blue-White. Although we don’t sell to those companies direct—we sell through wholesalers. And typically those are their customers.

WC&P: How would your products be employed with theirs on what type of systems?

Gledhill: Measuring deionized water, because they wash a lot of circuitry with ultrapure water. RO systems, cooling water…

WC&P: For microelectronics of any sort?

Gledhill: Yes, they use them all over the place.

WC&P: OK. Now, when you look at any particular niche in which your products are used, you’ve got on your website: irrigation, greenhouse, car wash, water treatment, commercial pools…

Gledhill: Yes. If you were adding a rinse to a piping system and you had some valuable crops that you were growing, wouldn’t you want to know what your flow rate is.

WC&P: Particularly if I lived in Arizona as I do. There are some hydroponic tomato growers out here that are actually from Europe that have actually very sophisticated systems in how they grow basically organic tomatoes.

Gledhill: There you go. With the use of a flow meter, you know precisely how much nutrients you are going to add. And the world is becoming a lot more sophisticated. Of late, we’ve had our dose of developing countries… But, typically, it’s so much more sophisticated.

WC&P: It’s kind of like what you were saying in how you view keeping the majority of your operations here in the states instead of outsourcing them. If we look at the concept of water as not necessarily a limited resource but one constrained by population, growth and what’s available—then we have to learn how to use our resources smarter if we’re going to continue to grow. That involves what you’re talking about, raising the level of technical sophistication so that everything is done more efficiently and cost effectively.

Gledhill: There you go. You’ve just made a good point. They use instruments anywhere—pressure gauges, flow meters, level gauges, etc.—to be more efficient on whatever you do. Imagine driving your car without a gas gauge. You could, but I’m not sure how efficient you’d be.

WC&P: You might be doing a lot of walking.

Gledhill: Yes. Exactly. So, it’s just to enable industry to do a better job of what they’re doing.

WC&P: Well, tell me something about your company in terms of what’s new? What are some of the new things that have been happening or new products you’re introducing?

Gledhill: There’s always, in manufacturing, the question: What’s in the pipeline? Customers seem to be very interested in what’s new. And, for obvious reasons, they just want to know what you’re coming out with. “Don’t tell me about the products you made yesterday… What’s new?” One of the challenges with chemical feed pumps is you could get a flow chart with a feed pump, a feed rate chart, and we can tell you that the pump will pump 1 ounce an hour at 30 psi. We’ve tested it in the laboratory, using water. But you may not be using water. You’re pumping something that has a viscosity like light oil. And you’re pumping against pressures that vary. One day, it might be 40—another day, it might be 80 pounds. So, our guidelines that we send you when we send the pump are only guidelines. What we’ve developed is a micro-flow meter that fits on your discharge tubing or it can fit on your suction tubing. It measures precisely to the milliliter or cc or gallons or ounces. It’ll tell you exactly what the pump is doing with an LCD readout. Now, you can tie that into a flow meter so that the pump will pump precisely. You can set the pump to pump, say 6 ounces a minute or 6 ounces an hour.

WC&P: It would all be dependent upon what your specific production needs are?

Gledhill: Exactly, so you can plan for precise amounts. Still, what this will do is that you can get close using the feed rate charts that most pump manufacturers provide—but now, you can nail it. And you can give this readout to be cumulative. Now, let’s say you’re selling a chemical. Now, you can go in at the end of a week and see how much chemical has actually passed through this feed pump. So, we’re just offering people an accessory that can be used on a chemical feed pump that keeps track of what the actual feed rate is.

WC&P: Would this be the Digi-Flo F1000/F2000 Series?

Gledhill: We’re taking a similar concept, but we’ve downscaled it and instead of using a certain sensor, we’re using something else. This one employs a little more use of infrared.

WC&P: What variety of expertise do you have to collect in-house to be able to have all these various technical capabilities?

Gledhill: A company like Blue-White has to be very strong in engineering. We pride ourselves with having a good marketing and sales team, but we’re heavily weighted in engineering and R&D. If you were to come through here, you would see people in labs testing and soldering. In our R&D department, they would be machining little widgets—left-handed ones, right-handed ones. They’re taking them into the engineering department for evaluation. There’s an awful lot of that going on. We’re heavily weighted in the technical end. And we try not to dwell on what somebody else has done and try to do what we do. We have an electronic engineer, a mechanical engineer, basic engineering technicians, etc.

WC&P: Geographically, what would be the concentration of your business in the states vs. overseas?

Gledhill: Well, the tech industry typically lies in pockets. Of course, there’s a huge one in California. You know Silicon Valley.

WC&P: Also in the Massachusetts area.

Gledhill: Massachusetts, yes. Areas in North Carolina—you know, research areas. And Texas also. I can probably name every state, if you let me. Those are the ones that jump out at you. The Midwest tends to be more of the heavy industry. Of course, the first thing you may think about is automobiles, which is certainly significant.

WC&P: Also agriculture.

Gledhill: Agriculture, oh my gosh. That’s the feed growing belt of the growing, the grain areas of Michigan and Kansas and Indiana…

WC&P: Cornfields.

Gledhill: Exactly. But those tend to be kind of pump places. And Florida tends to be a pump area. And of course, then you have to think of another area. What area did Blue-White cut its teeth in?

WC&P: Pools.

Gledhill: The pool industry, of course. What’s big in that? Florida and the West Coast.

WC&P: The Sun Belt, generally.

Gledhill: Exactly.

WC&P: Blue-White is an international company. What’s the percentage there?

Gledhill: OK, you want to talk international. Although China… strike China. Let’s say Asia. While Asia is the oldest civilization that I guess we know of—people may argue otherwise—oddly enough, Asia uses an awful lot of products, American products.

WC&P: Well, in the news now is the issue of oil prices largely being a product of demand in China because their economy is running so hot.

Gledhill: They’re economy is going gangbusters.

WC&P: That means they need just a little bit—or a whole lot—of everything.

Gledhill: They need products. While they make a lot of products, they typically buy a lot of products too. So, we take a lot of pride in shipping a good amount of our products, probably in equal amounts of chemical feed pumps to flow meters, into Asia. We’re talking about in Singapore, into the Philippines, Hong Kong…

WC&P: Malaysia.

Gledhill: Oh, Malaysia is a very good area. Indonesia can be good. So, yes, we take all of that seriously. Our international department is very busy, if you were to work here.

WC&P: Is there a percentage of what is being done in Blue-White overseas that’s customarily given out?

Gledhill: Well, there’s a typical ratio. You like to do about 25 to 30 percent international business. That’s a good indicator. Presently, we’re doing about 15 percent of our business international. But it’s a strong 15. We’d like to sell more in Europe, but the Europeans have an awful lot of products. They have a lot of metering pump companies and quite a few flow meter companies.

WC&P: The Germans and Swiss do pride themselves on precision.

Gledhill: They do. While we feel our products are every bit as good as theirs, they do have some homegrown products. Although we do sell into Western Europe, we’d like to sell more. We have to, I think, work a little harder.

WC&P: I notice you also separate out on your website Mexico and Latin America.

Gledhill: Absolutely, great countries there. We have our literature in Spanish. We think it’s important. They’re our neighbors. And we take a lot of pride in having distributors throughout Mexico—as well as Costa Rica and Nicaragua and Colombia…

WC&P: Do you go as far south as Brazil, Argentina and Chile?

Gledhill: Absolutely. South America, we’d like to do a better job there.

WC&P: Well, you know, our sister magazine, Agua Latinoamérica, specializes in the region and we’re trying to help out there as well. Another thing we like to ask is, in the breadth of a person’s business life, they run across a variety of situations. Some of those can be strange, funny or just a one in which they learned a lot. As such, we’d like to know if you could share an interesting story or anecdote about your experience in water treatment?

Gledhill: Gosh, I wish I could think of something amusing. I’m usually the one that makes these jokes at get togethers and easily could provide you with something funny. I would say that there’s a lot of temptation when you sell internationally to extend credit. They tempt you with nice big orders. But, especially, when you’re trying to grow the business, you oftentimes have to avoid those types of temptations—or approach them prudently.

WC&P: And your lesson on this would have been from?

Gledhill: I’d have to name names and I don’t want to do that.

WC&P: You could just mention countries and the situation.

Gledhill: Well, there was a huge order—one of the biggest we’ve ever taken—and it was a distributor in Mexico and we had agreed to a letter of credit. Little did we know the letter of credit was a 120-day letter. That was somewhere buried in the fine print. And for an order the size of what went out of here, having to wait that long with the feeling that somebody actually got that by you—as it approached the 120 days, you’re kind of wondering if indeed you’re going to get your transfer. Of course, it did work out. It was many years ago. And we’re a lot more careful now. One thing also, when you talk about outsourcing, your magazine is going to be read by a lot of people outside of this country, and the last thing I want to do is upset them. I know you can’t please everybody. There are certain things you cannot help but outsource. That would be like plastic materials, plastic rod, plastics that you buy. Usually, that stuff is done overseas.

WC&P: Right, the raw materials.

Gledhill: Exactly. I don’t want people in Jakarta reading this and thinking, “Blue-White, we don’t want them.”

WC&P: I think that everyone kinds of recognize what the competitive nature of certain markets are. I believe they’re very aware of that overseas as well. One of the things we’ve been told by various sources is that, while in the past parents and grandparents may have referred to getting product from Japan that were chintzy little toys. Well, what are they producing today?

Gledhill: High tech. The machines that we buy that can do the work of four people, typically are Japanese. This is big CNC equipment, machine tools, etc. We make them in this country, but they’re a lot more expensive.

WC&P: The point I was going to make was that in the same sense in our industry, you may have seen pumps or RO systems coming out of Asia about 10-20 years ago, that might have been questionable as far as quality. Did they perform as well as an American-made product. Today, we’re told by most, that’s not necessarily the case anymore. Most of these producers are very sophisticated and the product coming out of there is very good.

Gledhill: Yes. For example, would you consider buying a Kia 10 years ago.

WC&P: Probably not.

Gledhill: Now you might look at it. It may not be your dream car, but they’re made alright.

WC&P: And when you look at a 10-year/100,000 mile warranty, that makes you think twice. That means somebody’s willing to stand behind its quality for that long.

Gledhill: We’re really faced with fish-or-cut-bait in this country when it comes to developing new products. And I tell you what, I draw a lot of strength in seeing what the Germans have done through the years. They have a higher burden rate than we do here with their elaborate vacations and the job security they offer, etc. And they manage to stay very active in manufacturing because they have developed a reputation for having very good quality. You buy a German product and you know it’s going to be good. And we have to recapture that American-made perception of excellence. So, I’m doing everything I can. And I have a lot of people that feel the same way I do that work here. We want people to recognize the quality. When you pick it up, you know that it’s just way overbuilt. It’s just made so well that it’s unbelievable. Now, absolutely, other people are going to develop that kind of quality that you just alluded to, but we keep trying to change. If you copy us today, it’s going to be last year’s product.

WC&P: Because you’ve got things in the pipeline.

Gledhill: We’ve got things in the pipeline all the time. And whatever we’re selling today, we’re trying to improve tomorrow. There’s no product that we’re completely satisfied with. None. We’re always improving.

WC&P: Tell me—we haven’t even mentioned at this point—how much of what Blue-White does is actually in water treatment?

Gledhill: Well, it’s all relative. Let’s use the term processing industry. Water treatment would be in there also. Think of a boiler treatment or cooling tower treatment or dishwashers using rinse agents. All that is involved in treating water.

WC&P: But your products are used on other fluids also, correct?

Gledhill: Yes. For example, when you take your car to a full-service car wash, somehow or other soap has got to get onto your car. And it could be just a passive-type venturi, but more likely it’s a positive displacement feed pump, because you get precise dosages per car. Then, when you get to your polish wax, that’s also put on by a feed pump, more than likely. Or your under-body cleaners. Is that real water treatment? I would think so. You’re treating water for some effect.

WC&P: How do you—in the context of your business—define water treatment, since there’s a specific link on your website that says, “water treatment”?

Gledhill: Well, I would say that I kind of index it to what is generally thought of as water treatment. And that would be pumping disinfectants, chlorine, algaecides and any number of water treatment chemicals. But I tend to personally take a much broader description or definition. And that would be just whenever you change or add something different to water.

WC&P: What’s a major challenge that you or your company faced and how did you overcome it?

Gledhill: Can you be specific? Probably a good question would be, how did you weather the recession?

WC&P: That’s true.

Gledhill: Yes, and it’s serious. Now, I know your industry, the printing industry, that was brutal. And I think the industry is just finally climbing back out of that.

WC&P: Yes, you saw pretty much any trade magazine—or magazine in general—take a hit.

Gledhill: Well then, you and I could share some experiences, because manufacturing was hit equally.

WC&P: Particularly in the high-tech industry.

Gledhill: The manufacturing sector was hit first and I started seeing it first in July of 2000. This has nothing to do with politics. That’s exactly when I started seeing it. Then, there was the buildup to Y2K and then the falloff right after that. Then we started seeing the economy sliding. And the bigger you are, the more you track the economy.

WC&P: We started seeing a couple of other things. We started seeing blips as far back as the Asian Flu, because a lot of companies were heavily invested in China and Asia and were putting a lot of money into starting or expanding operations there. So when the Asian financial crisis happened, it hit their numbers hard. We saw a change with a few key companies. Then, the year after, you had the Russian financial crisis, then the near Brazilian financial crisis… These may have affected only a few companies, but they were key players. That’s not to mention the problems created in 1999-2000 by class action lawsuits in California related to lead-bearing brass faucets either.

Gledhill: Wow, so you actually see it from even a broader perspective than I do. I saw it later and that was exacerbated by 9/11.

WC&P: And the affects from the bursting of the Internet bubble…

Gledhill: Oh, yeah, the bubble. I didn’t even mention that.

WC&P: You were talking all those high-tech companies, all those computer and software companies who quit selling or buying.

Gledhill: They quit buying. I think they all said to themselves, “We’re not out of business, but we’re certainly not going to be buying any more stuff for expansion. And we’re going to keep what we have and use it.” So, anybody that supplied stuff into those industries were seeing diminished returns. And it was awful. It was awful. I think that it was the fifth recession that I’d ever been through in my life with Blue-White and it was the worst. But I think we’re finally out of it.

WC&P: We noticed it begin to stabilize last year and then get soft and now it’s evened out and looking up.

Gledhill: It would get good and then… Now, we’re putting together back to back months that are excellent. I’m not saying they can’t be better.

WC&P: Our page count is starting to go back up.

Gledhill: Yes, and we’ve seen it. We use simple questions like: “Hey, UPS driver, how many packages? Are you up many?” That’s a good indicator. And the package company who you buy boxes from is another.

WC&P: Well, how did you survive this? What did you do?

Gledhill: The better-run companies have to cut their staff when they expect kind of a prolonged downturn. It’s nice to say, “Well, we’d like to keep everybody and weather the storm.” But well-run businesses have to cut. And we did. And I’m happy to say that we’ve added probably one person every two months now.

WC&P: What was your peak employment?

Gledhill: Seventy-five. And we got down to 65. Now, we’re going back up.

WC&P: From your perspective in the market, where do you see the industry going—the water treatment industry?

Gledhill: I see that we’re in a position now where we no longer need to be taking market share from other manufacturers in order to grow. I think we can actually see some growth just by an expanding market. I don’t mean to say we wouldn’t want to take market share from other people. We’re not that nice. But I’m seeing the market growth to where I’m more confident.

WC&P: What were some of the percentages you’ve seen for the last few years and how they’ve changed?

Gledhill: The last few years wouldn’t be fair, because the economy’s just turned around.

WC&P: That’s why I asked for a comparison. Say in the late ’90s, what was the growth rate?

Gledhill: I would say that we were growing at a significant single digit. That would be anywhere from 5-9 percent. And then, it just completely dropped off. And we actually had retreated a bit, without giving you numbers. And now, we’re posting very low double-digits in actual units, which is really significant.

WC&P: How do you think things are going to look for the rest of the year?

Gledhill: I think it’s going to be good. It’s an election year. I think we’ve been through—I don’t care what the government says—a three-year recession. And it should be followed by a minimum of five years of stable growth, barring any unforeseen terrorist issues.

WC&P: It’s a good caveat to add in these days and times.

Gledhill: Uh-huh, it is.

WC&P: Are there things specific to our market that you see potentially happening or affecting that outlook?

Gledhill: I don’t know what you mean.

WC&P: Are there specific factors shifting in the water treatment industry or unique to this market that can affect that one way or another? It can be regulation, competitive issues, consolidation, deconsolidation…

Gledhill: I think when you go through an exceedingly difficult recession, especially in the manufacturing sector. You can talk recession to somebody that’s in home mortgages and they’ll look at you as if you’re crazy because they’ve had a wonderful three years with lower interest rates and all the refinancing. But when you talk about manufacturing, it becomes a lot more serious.

WC&P: The numbers that have gotten tossed around are between two and three million jobs lost.

Gledhill: Exactly, and so much of it came from our industry. So, we’ve really lost a lot of blood. And it’s just so nice to see it coming back. It’s nice to see magazines getting a little thicker. People are placing ads. We’ve seen our advertising department, Jeanne Hendrickson, has gotten more ambitious advertising campaigns. We see more stuff we’re doing on the web. But going through a recession like this is really good for us, in a sense. It’s just like taking bad medicine. In every section of your business, you become more efficient. Virtually every section. There isn’t one area that isn’t scrutinized.

WC&P: Yes, we’ve kind of had to do the same thing here. It’s kind of interesting in the sense that we do a magazine with probably half to a third the staff of some of our competitors.

Gledhill: There you go. You’re working smarter. But if I ask you, well how big is your company—how many people? What I’m trying to do is put a value on your business by how many people you hire. But you see you probably run circles around people that have half the staff.

WC&P: We try to.

Gledhill: That’s the point I’m trying to make about Blue-White. We’re an exceedingly efficient company. To work here is a lot of fun because you can do so many things.

WC&P: It keeps you agile and on your toes.

Gledhill: Right.

WC&P: What’s the one hot-button issue facing water treatment dealers or the industry that you think will have the most impact over the next few years? Time to get out your crystal ball…

Gledhill: If I manufactured ozonators, I’d say the elimination of chlorine. But I know that’s nonsense. I’d just say better controls for processes, more sophistication in whatever anybody is doing. Controlling chemical usage. Turnkey processes. I would say automation. Swimming pools now have monitors for adjusting the pH and checking the chlorine residuals. It’s just incredible.

WC&P: Not as much getting down on one knee and drawing a sample.

Gledhill: You still have that. But more of the public pools are going to different levels of controls. It really creates opportunities.

WC&P: You could take that concept and extrapolate to say as companies’—like yours—manufacturing processes get more efficient and cost effective, it means that the type of technology that you provide is less expensive and, thus, more available to a broader group of industries or people.

Gledhill: I couldn’t have said it any better. But if you’re looking for a hot-button—and I’m just thinking you’ve probably heard this a thousand times—for us, it’s the Internet.

WC&P: We haven’t heard that in a few years actually.

Gledhill: Although we sell through distribution, the Internet enables people in any part of the world to find us. You can be in Bombay, India, or Kuala Lampur, Indonesia, or in the Czech Republic. You go to our website and download any information you want without sending a letter that may not get here and then us having to fill an envelope and mail it to you. And it’s been absolutely phenomenal. It doesn’t matter where you are. If you have access to the Internet, you can go to our site.

WC&P: Well, I know that we’ve updated and expanded the offerings on our website to a great degree and we get a lot of attention through that. And the vast majority of questions that we get in from it are either from consumers or overseas.

Gledhill: Of course. And I’m going to ask you a question. I don’t know if you’re a Laker fan?

WC&P: No, I was born in Indiana, so I’m a frustrated Pacer fan about now.

Gledhill: OK, a Timberwolves fan, whatever. But if you want to read an article on it, you can type in the Timberwolves and click and read the most current articles written by the New York Times, the L.A. Times or any publication. Instantly, you can read fresh articles without having to go and buy their newspapers. That’s magic. The same goes for us as far as our products go. People can get the most current information on our technical website. It’s just incredible. So, I see that as probably that magical thing you were talking about. That’s not to say that advertising in your publication isn’t wonderful. That’s a must.

WC&P: There again, our job is to try and put that advertising in front of as many decision-makers as possible, whether through our website, through the publication or us going to trade shows and presenting both there. That’s what creates the value for you as an advertiser.

Gledhill: It’s somewhat distressing to hear that trade shows are falling off in their popularity. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. Trade shows are a wonderful venue. But perhaps they were getting too expensive. That may be getting off the subject…

WC&P: Yes and no. It goes into what one might look forward to next year with the Water Quality Association beginning an alliance with the Aquatech RAI people.

Gledhill: That would make more sense. But we tend to think that we would rather put more dollars in print ads than send someone to a trade show for a minimum of $10,000. How much advertising can that buy you?

WC&P: I like to hear that. Still, it all depends on where you’re buying your access and to who. Will this trade show put you immediately in front of a lot of decision-makers who will immediately be able to influence purchases of your product. It’s all usually a tradeoff from here to there, with business people like you seeking the most effective mix.

Gledhill: You can’t eliminate any one of them if you’re smart.

WC&P: Each of them has their value and strength. It’s a question of leveraging and choosing between them to the best of your ability. Give me a closing statement, if you could.

Gledhill: Something profound?

WC&P: Yes.

Gledhill: I don’t have anything. What you see is what you get. No, seriously, I would say just that the key to our success is just working very hard, but working smart and trying to move forward every day. Try not to dwell on things that take you away from the business that you’re doing.

WC&P: There’s a couple of follow-up questions I’d like to ask. One is, where are you a native of?

Gledhill: I was born and raised in Santa Monica. We moved to Orange County because it was less developed.

WC&P: Who are the top people at Blue-White that we would want to list if we were to list the management?

Gledhill: First of all, you’d have to mention Mr. King’s wife, Frances King. She’s our CEO and very active in the business and runs a heck of a board meeting every quarter. Of course, Ron King is our vice president of manufacturing. He’s the one who keeps all of our engineering humming. Then, David Koch is our marketing manager. And certainly, you want to mention Jeanne Hendrickson as our advertising manager. She’s on our board of directors—although she owns her own business, Blue-White Advertising, she’s an integral part of this business.

WC&P: And how do I spell your last name?

Gledhill: My first name is Robin. My real name is Robert, but they’ve called me Robin for years. My last name is Gledhill. I’ve been with the company since July of 1970 and I graduated from Golden West College (in Huntington Beach) using the G.I. Bill. But that’s not important to anybody.

WC&P: Well, sometimes it works its way into the profile portion.

Gledhill: And you just stayed focus on what you’re doing. And just been lucky and worked my way up the ladder here.

WC&P: How do we want to refer to revenues at Blue-White?

Gledhill: How about this? We have a 4-A-1 Dunn & Bradstreet rating. We just got that a week ago.

WC&P: What’s that mean?

Gledhill: 4-A-1 means $10 million and over in revenue a year. And before they’ll give you that rating, you have to have that over $10 million revenue for more than three successive years. So, when I tell you we do in excess of $10 million a year, that has some meaning. We’ll cross over into $11-12 million, you know.

WC&P: OK. Thanks for your time.


Join us next month, when we interview Jim Baker, president of AmeriWater Inc., of Dayton, Ohio, and a past WQA president, in the “Executive Q&A” column.

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