By WQA and WC&P staff

Water Quality Association
International Headquarters & Laboratory
4151 Naperville Road
Lisle, IL 60532-1088
Tel: (630) 505-0160
Fax: (630) 505-9637
Organization website: www.wqa.org
Convention website: www.wqa-aquatech.org
Email: info@mail.wqa.org

As WQA Aquatech USA has grown larger and more diverse over the years, a number of those attending have said: “It’s great you have so much to learn and do, but there’s hardly enough time to take advantage of everything.”

“We at WQA take it as a compliment, but also a challenge,” Peter Censky said. WQA’s Executive Director is busily preparing for the biggest event in the industry.

“If you’ve thought that after attending one of our conferences, then I’ve got some good news … and even more good news, “ he summed up. The first good news is WQA has added more features for you to choose from. The second good news is that the association is offering a free Web-based system that will allow members to learn in detail what’s being offered, enabling them to literally map out a plan beforehand so as to maximize opportunities at the show.

“If the conference booths, exhibitions and programs are the target you are planning to assault, think of yourself as a general – or guerrilla, if you prefer – who’s been handed the perfect battle plan,” Censky summed up. (Or for a less graphic analogy, consider it the ultimate travel guide for your visit to the convention floor.)

WQA Aquatech USA 2008 is March 25-28 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The educational conference runs all four days; the trade show exhibition runs three days (March 26-28, 2008). This is WQA’s first year back in Las Vegas since 2005, which those who attended will almost universally recall as a great success. Today, WQA Aquatech USA is an international exhibition and conference on water technology where attendees will find:

  • Over 350 industry-leading business services, suppliers and manufacturers
  • Educational sessions on the tradeshow floor
  • More than 5,000 industry professionals

It is an extraordinary opportunity to see and be seen, Censky said. The exhibition is a showcase of what’s new and cutting edge in the industry and it gives attendees the opportunity to learn from their competitors. “You will also be exposed to the very best information on where the industry is headed and learn how you can take advantage of changes to grow your business,” he added. Multiple educational opportunities are designed with practical suggestions for everyone.

Among other new features this year, WQA is rolling out the eagerly anticipated Commercial Education and Certification Program. WQA’s Commercial Education Task Force has spent months developing content that is designed to provide a deeper understanding of treatment technologies and their practical applications in specifying commercial systems. The educational material will also serve as a reference to dealers in the field. At the conference, courses will focus on explaining the difference between the residential and commercial business model and marketing, and on sizing commercial systems.

Censky explained that attendees will also find expanded trade show floor education opportunities, along with more business education programs. There will be comprehensive instruction on the fundamentals for those new to the industry, as well as hands-on teardown/rebuild product training on the show floor.

Perhaps most importantly, new emphasis will be focused on industrial water treatment. A special networking event, Industrial Speed Dating, is designed to bring together companies involved in industrial water treatment. Censky noted that this is not an open-to-all feature of the conference. “In fact, it’s not a place to be unless you are already doing industrial work,” he explained.

The special event will have a $250 walk-in-the-door fee. “The goal is for this gathering to begin to create an industrial network, which will expand opportunities for everyone in the industry,” Censky continued, “ we’re providing a place where consultants, plumbing engineers, designers, industrial dealers and manufacturers will have an opportunity to come together and display their capabilities. That will empower them to form networks and take on more challenging projects.

For those first investigating this area, it’s a chance to begin to make contacts. While the vast majority of WQA core members are not involved in industrial work, many are already doing commercial applications because of the similarity in skills sets. A small percent of those who built in that direction went further still, Censky stated. While few of those have the manufacturing capabilities for the industrial sector, many can do the service end, maybe specify the job, perhaps even do the installation – but not design or engineer or manufacture. “The point of this event is they will be able to hook up with those parts of the industrial team which they do not have in-house, make those connections from which they can offer complete industrial services,” he said.

WQA plans to offer each industrial member a capabilities page on the organization’s website, which will make finding what you need even easier in the months ahead. Right now, WQA is advertising this new addition in the publications that serve the other parts of the industrial package – engineers, designers and the like. As an organization, Censky says there is a progression. “You really aren’t industrial until you hit the right mix. Speed dating and industrial education are the right pieces for us now, coming together to take us to that tipping point where we will really have this an additional sector at WQA.”

Right now, it’s early adopters, Censky surmises, while others will begin to nose around and others will simply ignore it for a while and see what develops. “It’s an evolutionary process overall,” he notes.

While many might think the way to determine the industrial sector is by defining the industries where such jobs exist, Censky realized early on that it would be an endless list-making that would not truly define the sector. “You have the obvious big industrial projects out there. But then there are, literally, millions of small, sophisticated, boutique applications, but they don’t go looking for water treatment. The middle person on the ground – and some WQA members today are that middle person already – know where these applications are; designers and plumbing engineers know as well. We seek the market that is grass roots, highly specialized and defined by the companies that do the work – not by the application, not by the individual industry.”

That market, in Censky’s opinion, is definitely out there; those already serving it have told him they often feel they are wandering in the desert. His goal for WQA is to secure that under-served middle of the market and bring it under the organization’s umbrella.

“We’re also introducing our commercial education program at this conference. I think many dealers will start there, begin with that education, get that knowledge, with an eye towards entering industrial in the future, building to it, as they build their knowledge base. And we will enable them to do that,” he said.

To build your own conference experience, visit WQA’s Web site, www.wqa-aquatech.org, and click on the Exhibition Hall/Exhibitor List button. If you click on ‘exhibitor search,’ you will be able to find out who is exhibiting (and you can do it by various different categories). Print out a real-time floor plan and you have a guide you can keep in your pocket. Last – but certainly not least – go to the ‘Attendees’ button on the welcome page. You’ll find tools to create your own personalized map, education itinerary and plan of attack/tour map.

Hotels and flights fill up quickly, so make your lodging and travel plans soon for Las Vegas. Create a personalized plan of action and enjoy the Convention experience — taking home valuable information and establishing key relationships that can make your business more successful. Or branch out into a new area entirely!

 

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