By Peter J. Censky, Executive Director, Water Quality Association

WQA Aquatech USA
Lately, I have been asked two questions a good many times about WQA Aquatech USA.

First, what kind of turnout is expected this year? Second, given the belt tightening everyone is going through, does attending a trade show make sense?

The answers to both questions are related.

WQA Aquatech USA will run from March 17 to 21, 2009, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. This is near O’Hare International Airport, about thirty minutes from downtown Chicago.

Based on figures so far, we are now on track to have a very well attended show. Due to the high concentration of water businesses in the region, Chicago is always a draw.

What that means for you is–as much ever–coming to WQA Aquatech USA provides a ready-made networking opportunity for exhibitors. As you know, making and keeping contacts often requires a significant expenditure of resources. Just one of the many benefits of trade shows is the opportunity to do in a matter of days what often takes months. In fact, when you come to WQA Aquatech USA, you know that you’re meeting with decision makers. According to surveys, over nine out of ten visitors are ‘key influences’ in their company.

And for our attendees, we have retooled WQA Aquatech USA to offer strategies for not only surviving but thriving during these times.

I think you’ll be particularly interested in our new interactive business panel sessions. We are bringing together owners of established water treatment businesses to lead discussions on the best practices they use to survive and prosper in these hard times. Topics will include subjects like Sales Management Without a Sales Manager, and Marketing in a Downturn. (If you’re planning to attend, please send your business-related questions in advance to wqaforum@wqa.org.)

We have chosen four keynote addresses designed to make sure you leave with practical information that you can apply on day one:

  • Stuart Varney, long-time business and financial analyst and contributor to CNN and FOX News. Topic: The New Realities of the Global Marketplace.
  • Tim Miles, marketing consultant, specializing in helping small business owners do more with less. Topic: Strategic Planning Made Simple.
  • National Consumer Water Quality Study – Research Results. A special panel will explain how to make your WQA 2008 Consumer Study work for your business.
  • Develop an Effective Employee and Safety Manual For Your Business. Hear from experts and dealers. Sample manuals will also be offered.

New innovations and products will also be highlighted in a special display area, a presentation stage on the trade show floor and a number of demos.

Last year, WQA unveiled a special networking event entitled Industrial Speed Dating, which brought together companies involved in industrial water treatment. This year, in addition to Speed Dating, the industrial focus will be even greater, including the introduction of an Industrial Pavilion and additional industrial education.

Finally, in recognition of the difficult circumstances so many in our industry are facing, we are offering a special discount. Buying one conference package will get you the second one free. Just register online at wqa-aquatech.com, using priority code FRC9.

Trade shows and events can be a cost-effective way to stay in touch, to stay on top of industry trends and to learn new approaches to your business. I hope to see you in Chicago this March as we all talk and work together to get through these challenging times.

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