By Denise M. Roberts
Soft Water Specialists LLC
127 Chad Ct., Richland, WA 99352
Tel: (509) 845-SOFT (7638)
“WQA is a great place to start and will help you improve your skills as well as our business. Training is extremely important to us, especially WQA certification.”
Soft Water Specialists LLC, a family owned and locally operated business headed by Matthew G. Mahany, CWS-II, wasn’t planned, programmed or modeled in the typical sense. Mahany, looking elsewhere, found himself on the front lines of the water industry nearly 13 years ago due to lack of opportunity in his chosen field, the aviation industry. The lack of good opportunities caused him to search other possibilities, bringing him into the past of a great mentor who owned a large soft water distribution and retail company. He saw great potential in Mahany, but that wasn’t the company consensus. The GM didn’t see Mahany as a good fit for the company and informed the owner that he would make or break Mahany within 30 days. His plan was to break the young and inexperienced man. Mahany proved himself capable and competent, able to rise to the challenges of the industry and winning a lifelong friendship with the GM in the process.
A slow but consistent learner, often referred to as an oak tree, Mahany caught the water bug working with a number of water treatment and plumbing businesses, eventually founding Soft Water Specialists with a goal of providing the best water for the best price in Washington. When the company was officially launched, it was strategically aligned with the best plumbers, suppliers and small businesses in the area as partners and joined an independent dealer network.
The company serves all of Washington and a small portion of Oregon and northern Idaho, but focuses on Richland, Kennewick, Pasco and surrounding areas. “The best part of this business is the people we get to serve,” he said. “I love meeting new and interesting people in the Tricities and surrounding areas.
I consider all my clients my friends and I really enjoy improving their lifestyles by improving their water. I’ve worked with some of the best water experts, business owners and engineers in the industry. I was able to start a water treatment company for a local plumber and help make their business very profitable. I knew I could take what I learned and make it ever better, especially in eastern Washington, where they have a unique market and water quality challenges, including extremely hard water, chlorine issues and well water containing hydrogen sulfide, iron, manganese and occasionally, nitrates. We are overwhelmed at the support referrals and kind words our customers or friends share with us and for us—it pays to treat everyone like family. My goal is to be the best! If you don’t have a passion for what you can do and you can’t be the best, you really shouldn’t be doing it.”
Mahany believes one of the primary keys to success is continued education and research. “WQA is a great place to start and will help you improve your skills as well as your business. Training is extremely important to us, especially WQA certification. We are the only certified water specialists in our area and we we try to invite our competitors to engage in continued education with us. We also participate in on-line training through mywateradvice.com, where we share our knowledge with customers and other dealers. Although we are backed by Pentair and ProFlow, we don’t have the big franchise name. So, we have a goal to be known as the local experts in water treatment.”
Mahany is in it for the long haul, with focused goals to meet the challenges he sees coming to the industry in the future. “Overall in the water conditioning industry, I see great strides being taken in new technologies and many exciting new things on our horizon, especially twin-tank sensor technology and electrodeionization,” he says. “We plan to capitalize on the developments and concentrate our efforts on company growth. Additionally, we project a growth rate of at least 500 percent within the next five years. In 10 years, I plan to dominate the area as a the very best water quality improvement company or global domination with ProFlow, whichever comes first!”
Success is measured in different ways but underlying it all is the willingness to take risks, make life changes and move quickly, once opportunities present themselves. The confidence this ‘oak tree’ exudes makes him a prime candidate for creating the level of growth he envisions, in ways that will move Soft Water Specialists into a broader category of water treatment. The company is one to watch to see what novel methodology Mahany employs to make his dreams a reality.