Suburban Water Technology owner Randy Eddinger says his success in the water treatment industry has been a direct result of the education and resources provided by his regional Water Quality Association affiliate. It’s a common story, Eddinger says, as many dealers out there are finding that doors of opportunity are unlocked with keys provided through the networking, continuing education and regulatory influence that the regionals provide.
That’s why Eddinger actively participates in the Eastern Water Quality Association, serving as the group’s newest board member and eager to begin bringing even more local dealerships into the fold to find success and opportunity in the industry.
Suburban Water Technology was founded in 1961 by Don Saltman, a Lindsay dealer who later sold EcoWater products. In March 1992, Eddinger purchased the company from Saltman along with his father Philip and brother, Michael. Today, the company has six service trucks on the road and 11 employees serving a five-county area in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The business is evenly split between residential and commercial customers. The region has a number of water problems, Eddinger says, including iron, hydrogen sulfide, low pH and hardness. He also has ventured into a number of peripheral businesses that have been surprisingly successful. “We do a lot of remediation work for volatiles and, being PADEP [Penn. Department of Environmental Protection] licensed public water treatment plant operators, we operate more than 30 small public water systems that are now required to have certified operators.” Suburban also maintains an online store for their customers to order filters and other replacement parts at any time.
“The long-term goal is simply to be the best at what we do. We are a very technical- and service-oriented company. Our sales strategy is ‘education.’ We believe that the more we can help our potential customers to make an informed decision, the better the chance is they will choose us in the end,” he said.
“My father has since retired and my brother and I run the company today. We bought the company on advice from Suburban Water’s accountant who was a personal friend of mine,” he says.
None of the Eddingers had any experience in the water business at that time. Randy was a machinist and his brother was a draftsman. “I quit my job when we bought the company… and immediately began to take classes, mostly from the Water Quality Association plus wherever else I could find them and became a Certified Water Specialist in about a year,” he said. “I continued going to classes and became one of the first CWS-VI’s in the country.”
That education and assistance from the national and regional WQA have been key to Suburban Water Technology’s success, Eddinger said. It’s the primary reason why the dealer encourages others to get involved with the WQA.
“I’ve been in the business for nearly 14 years and it has been very good to me and my family,” Eddinger says. “We have been members of both WQA and EWQA since the beginning. I believe the WQA and the regional organizations provide an important service to our industry and they need to be supported with both dollars and volunteer hours.”
To that end, Eddinger joined the EWQA Board of Directors three months ago. He hopes to be able to help the association bring its message to even more dealers like himself and to improve the association’s connections to the general public.
“The present EWQA board has really improved the organization lately,” he says. “Right now I am still the new guy; so I don’t know exactly what the board has in store for me. The education sessions at the last convention included people from various Eastern states’ environmental protection agencies and I would like to see that interaction continue and grow. There are some really good opportunities for dealers to expand their business in that area.”
While he is enjoying his work on the EWQA board, Eddinger said he has no plans to continue his service at the national level. While there are host of national issues facing the Water Quality Association that are critical to his region and his livelihood, Eddinger is focused keenly on his contributions at a more localized level. “ I just hope I have something positive to offer,” to the EWQA, he says. “The latest EWQA convention in Scranton was one of the best yet and I urge everyone in the region to support this great organization. I’ll do all I can to help it get even better in the coming years.”
“ Since we are a family owned business we try to always keep an eye on the future,” Eddinger says. “By continuous education and exploring new technologies as they become available we try to keep our company and our people at the forefront of this business.”
In the future, Eddinger said he hopes to expand the business even further into a variety of peripheral water treatment industries. Like the success of his water treatment plant operations, he believes the future of any successful water treatment dealer is finding new and unique ways to solidify their customer base and explore all the potential water treatment avenues, be them residential, commercial or even industrial, where applicable. He’s also sure that Suburban Water Technology, Inc. will remain a family-run business far into the future.
“My son Kyle has worked here since high school and is a CWS-IV and a PADEP certified operator and he will be taking more of a management role as time goes on,” Eddinger says.