By Steve MacCarthy, CWT, AWT president-elect & convention chair

Association’s 16th Annual Convention and Exposition to be held Nov. 3-6

This fall, the Association of Water Technologies’ (AWT) 16th Annual Convention and Exposition will roll into Nashville’s legendary Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center from Nov. 3 – 6.

The gathering is expected to draw about 800 water treatment professionals who will be focused on “The Business of Water—Meeting the Challenges to Come.” Attendees will have the opportunity to learn better ways to run their businesses as well as find out about the latest trends and newest technology impacting the water treatment industry.

“Whether they have been in the business for two years or 32 years, AWT convention attendees will walk away with invaluable knowledge and networking opportunities,” said Bruce T. Ketrick, CWT, AWT president. “This year’s conference sessions will present numerous networking opportunities to develop long term business relationships with top suppliers and other key water treatment industry experts.”

Last year, the AWT posted its best convention ever
More than 700 water treatment experts traveled to Phoenix, Ariz., for four event filled days in which industry leaders provided astute insight into the direction of the field. In addition, its exhibition hall featured more than 100 exhibitors, making the 2003 show the biggest in AWT’s history.

“AWT’s show in Phoenix was our largest ever,” said Elise Lindsey, AWT executive director. “We plan to break that record in Nashville.”

Highly regarded speakers and workshops
The AWT convention will kick off on Nov. 4 with an address by keynote speaker Jack Faris, CEO and president of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), who will discuss how his 600,000-member association is fighting the steady increase in insurance premiums for today’s small business owners. AWT developed a strategic partnership with NFIB in 2002 allowing full AWT members to receive NFIB membership benefits.

“The industry has a number of challenges ahead for all of us, ranging from technical and business changes to legislative and regulatory issues,” said Lindsey. “Mr. Faris’ presentation will be all-too relevant for AWT members. We applaud NFIB for leading the way for the small business owners and know his discussion will be relevant for all AWT convention attendees.”

Conventioneers also will benefit from the Nov. 5 General Session speaker John Rosso of Peak Performance Management. His presentation, “Break all the Rules and Close More Sales,” will focus on how selling has changed over the years and how buyers have attempted to make salespeople a commodity. He also will discuss several beneficial sales techniques. Janet Kopenhaver, president of Eye on Washington, a consulting firm on Capitol Hill, will then examine the issues impacting water treatment in the upcoming legislative session.

In addition to these featured sessions, AWT convention attendees will have more than 20 concurrent workshops and presentations to choose from. Those interested in learning more about the business and marketing side of the water treatment industry will find business topics that include computer management; Web site development; even a seminar on ways to successfully incorporate water consultants into a business model. Of special interest will be Communications Marketing Group general manager Natalie Judd’s presentation, “Marketing Your Business with Public Relations.”

A technical track will feature hot topics from Legionella to white rust and biocide choices to membrane water treatment options. These sessions are guaranteed to provide participants with the latest technical information in the industry. If you don’t get enough during the sessions, more than 100 water treatment exhibitors will be on hand at the AWT Exposition, featuring dozens of suppliers showcasing their products and services.

Plenty of highlights and countless opportunities
The trade show represents a unique opportunity for companies to market their products directly to the owners and managers who make purchasing decisions. Others in attendance will include technical specialists and consultants from the water treatment field who strongly influence the companies they consult.

Other highlights will include:

  1. Wastewater chapter unveiled—Wastewater Subcommittee Chair Rich Tassone will introduce the newest chapter of the AWT Technical Reference & Training Manual (TRTM) on Nov. 6. The wastewater chapter will provide a description of the industrial wastewater treatment marketplace and will serve as a reference for AWT members wishing to pursue additional revenue-gathering opportunities outside the typical boiler and cooling water treatment sectors.
  2. Competitive marketing update—John Baum of Craft Products will lead a Nov. 6 panel discussion with other industry experts reviewing the status of the marketplace. Topics will range from where major firms are heading strategically to areas ripe for expansion for AWT members.
  3. Networking opportunities—From the exhibition hall to the closing session, the AWT Convention will provide numerous opportunities to meet industry leaders, expand existing relationships and meet fellow professionals in the water treatment industry.

“The AWT Convention will address the biggest needs of professionals in the water treatment industry,” said Ketrick. “Undoubtedly, these needs are shared by dozens of their peers, all of whom are just waiting for the chance to share challenges and solutions with you. This chance is just around the corner.”

In addition to the many workshops, speakers and presentations, AWT’s gathering will offer a host of special events from awards receptions and an annual membership meeting to a golf tournament and interesting excursions to Nashville’s featured attractions.

AWT’s 16th Annual Convention and Exposition will be an event that professionals in the water treatment industry cannot afford to miss. Register for the 2004 AWT Conference today by calling 1-800-858-6683 or visiting www.awt.org.

About the author
Steve MacCarthy, CWT, is president-elect and convention chair for the Association of Water Technologies. He has been involved in the water treatment industry for more than 30 years. He currently works for WEST Inc. in Anaheim, California, and is responsible for the hiring and training of all sales/service personnel as well as service delivery and sales growth.

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