By Ronald Y. Perez, WC&P Associate Editor

Never before has the bottled water industry enjoyed so much acceptance in the eyes of an enthusiastic public. To celebrate this success, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is expecting over 3,000 people to attend its 42nd Annual Convention & Trade Show in Seattle.

Held on October 12-14 at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, the show’s theme is “Taste the Difference!” Everyone from bottled water representatives to various experts will be there to inform and share their ideas with the industry.

‘Town hall meeting’
“The show will give attendees the chance to thoroughly visit all the booths and discover ways to run their businesses better and more efficiently,” said Stephen Kay, IBWA’s vice president of communications. He added a few hundred booths are anticipated. Kay calls the show “the town hall meeting of the industry.”

Some of the show’s highlights will be the wide-ranging sessions and seminars from technical (fluoride and waterborne pathogens) to business-related (employee management and websites).

Seminars run the gamut
On Wednesday, Oct. 11, a day before the actual trade show, “Effective Strategies in Government and Media Relations” will discuss: a) trends in federal and state regulations, and b) training on how companies can respond to these regulations through the media. Other seminars on Wednesday include “The Fiscal Physical: Strategic Growth and Cash Flow Management” and “How to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service.”

On Thursday, scheduled seminars include “The New Era of Waterborne Pathogens” where Cryptosporidium parvum and enteric viruses will be talked about. “Fluoride—Understanding the Issue” looks at the issues and costs of bottled water fluoridation. In addition, featured speaker Keith Harrell will explain why “Attitude is Everything” and helps people to excel.

Friday finishes up the show’s seminars with “Effective Advertising for Any Budget,” and “Why Should Someone Do Business With You…Rather Than Someone Else?” by Sam Geist. Seattle has a little bit of everything for those attending the seminars and educational sessions. In fact, a total of 18 Continuing Education Units are available throughout the show toward a certified plant operator’s (CPO) certificate. A CPO exam will be given on Saturday.

New chairman and tours
Every year, the IBWA welcomes its new chairman for the fiscal campaign. Incoming Chairman William G. Bell, of Tyler Mountain Co. in Pittsburgh, will formally address the convention on Saturday. Bell replaces Jeffrey L. Vinyard, of Crystal Springs in Albuquerque, N.M.

“The show allows us to tell the good story on bottled water,” Kay said. “We then can present the quality and safety of our products to an ever-growing audience of bottled water consumers.”

Plus, there are many attractions to enjoy in Seattle. The show itself has organized tours of Boeing’s Everett Plant, the Hiram Crittenden Locks (which link Elliott Bay with Lake Union and Lake Washington) and Seattle Harbor. Also, everyone is invited to the Museum of Flight in the historic Red Barn, birthplace of Boeing. The following day has The 5th Avenue Musical Theatre Company performing the hit musical, “Parade.”

Kay stressed the industry needs to “work as one unit” in the face of increased regulation of bottled water. The key, he added, is for federal and state officials to give a “fair and balanced view based on scientific policy and logic.” Still, a bright future remains a constant. Kay intoned, “We’re looking forward to consumers enthusiasm of bottled water as their drinking choice.”

International Bottled Water Association
42nd Annual Convention and Trade Show: “Taste the Difference!”
Washington State Convention & Trade Center,



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