By Kevin Wong
The WQA Aquatech USA 2011 tradeshow and conference, the largest water treatment show on the continent, was held in March in San Antonio, TX. As a meeting place to showcase the best and the brightest, knowledge and education, Aquatech was the place to be this year for the water treatment industry in North America. Canadian CWQA member, Scot MacDonald was awarded the 2011 International Award of Merit from WQA for his decades of service and contributions to the Canadian and US industries and associations. CWQA’s own Technical Consultant, Peter Cartwright, was awarded WQA’s Lifetime Member Award. WQA stated that attendance was “close to 3,000 attendees,” with almost 150 Canadians attending in sunny San Antonio that week. For the second year in a row, CWQA hosted a reception on the show floor. It was a success and of the 150 or so Canadians registered, most showed up. This year was an additional success as we partnered with the host state association, the Texas Water Quality Association, and combined our 30 feet of booth space to attract local Texan and Canadian members in celebrating our industry and associations.
The success of this event comes from our members and ultimately, from their customers. As consumer awareness and interest in water quality issues increase, they will turn to those who are educated, certified, trained, knowledgeable, and can provide a superior service. In order for the water treatment industry to keep up with consumers’ thirst for information and service, water quality professionals must continue to gain industry knowledge. One of the best ways to do this is to attend local and national industry events like Aquatech or local venues.
The show couples the tradeshow component to give dealers access to manufacturers to see what is new in the industry and to gain insight on other services and technologies that are available in the market. Aquatech is also an educational conference, offering a wide variety of relevant educational seminars and information.
On a personal note, I attended the show, seminars and meetings with the intent of immersing myself in this segment of the industry, meeting counterparts at WQA, meeting members and some of the key players from both Canada and the US. What struck me as important was the committee meetings and the amount of work that Canada has done in the codes and standards arena that has diverged from our brothers and sisters in the US. In Canada, we are influencing the development of policies, codes and standards, working on policy with the regulators and, more importantly, linking that to the real business opportunities of our members.
One CWQA member claimed that we were giving away state secrets but in the end, what is the use of developing key industry knowledge if we are not going to apply it in a format that our members and regulators can understand and apply evenly? As a Canadian, it gave me a lot to think about.
On another note, I had many questions on why there was not a Canadian show for water treatment. My response is: “In time, let us grow the industry, and the membership, and all those good things like a dedicated show will come as we become more educated, certified and drive the hunger for more information and education”. That, then, is CWQA’s goal.
The next WQA Aquatech USA show will be held March 6-9, 2012, in Las Vegas, NV. I hope you will take advantage of the opportunities that come with attending this event.
See you next year.