By C.R. Hall, 2001-2002 President, Water Quality Association
WQA President — The Year in Review
As I reflect on my year as president of the Water Quality Association, I can only smile. I’ll definitely remember this experience for the rest of my life. The interesting discussions and hospitality of friends, both new and old, have been wonderful! I want to thank all of you for allowing me to hold this office.
As I said when the year began, my overriding goal was to maintain WQA’s relevance. As the world and industry change, WQA must continue to adapt to needs of the organization’s members. I feel WQA has succeeded with that. Here are some of the year’s highlights:
- Focusing on the association’s core: We needed to make sure staff, management and leadership remembered who remains WQA’s primary customer — dealers and companies supplying them. I understand our need to change and adapt, but feel we did a good job of obliging the majority of our membership.
- Upgrading state and regional associations: I visited nearly every state and regional meeting this year, and came away amazed about the diversity of structures and programs offered by these groups. In the future, I hope WQA can assist these associations in fulfilling their members’ needs. When asked, WQA will help with speakers, membership prospect lists, venues, technical training and lobbying. And I trust the good relationship between the state/regional associations and WQA will continue.
- Acceptance of our products as alternatives to central treatment plants: WQA has worked diligently to make sure we’re at the table when options are reviewed for treating a community’s water. My June trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with several U.S. senators is an example of inroads we’ve made in legitimizing our products and services for community water treatment. The USEPA and American Water Works Research Foundation are currently undertaking studies (in concert with WQA) to prove the efficacy of point-of-use treatment as a solution to water contamination.
- California brine discharge response: The formation of a WQA Task Force composed of industry leaders and stakeholders happened with this association’s leadership. This group will make the water treatment industry’s views “loud and clear” to those who try to ban our products.
- Internal changes at WQA: There have been a few moves at WQA to ensure we’re responding to members’ needs:
1. Industry education and certification programs were taken “on the road” by WQA and will be seen in more places in 2002.
2. It’s hoped the Water Quality Society (http://www.waterqualitysociety.org) will eventually bring end-users of our products and association members together in a mutually beneficial forum.
3. The WQA website (http://www.wqa.org) was upgraded to better serve members.
The low point of my year at WQA was the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and subsequent cancellation of the Mid-Year meeting in Sedona, Ariz. The sense of community I was hoping to promote would have been helpful during that trying time, but the correct decision was made not to travel that week.
The terrorist acts didn’t negatively affect our industry much beyond the first couple of days or weeks. In fact, there was increased focus on the public water supply as a possible delivery vehicle for future acts of terror. This led to a large influx of questions to WQA and member companies on the ability of our products to act as an insurance policy against some possible contaminants. WQA has done an admirable job of informing the public and its members of the value (and limitations) of our industry’s products as potential solutions.
In closing, I want to encourage all of you to join WQA and become involved with your industry. The value I receive in contacts and education more than pay for the cost of membership. I look forward to seeing all of you March 5-9 in New Orleans for the annual WQA Convention and Exhibition!