Guest Viewpoint: A message from the WQA Executive Director
Pauli Undesser, MWS, CAE, Executive Director
While the Water Quality Association is marking 70 years of leadership in water treatment this year, our gaze will be firmly on the future during the 2019 WQA Convention & Exposition (wqa.org/convention), April 23-25 in Las Vegas, NV. The convention theme this year is ‘solutions.’ The trade show, education sessions, inspiring words from industry leaders, section and committee meetings and, of course, the WQA Business Boot Camp, are all designed to help you find solutions to the challenges you face now and in the future. For example:
• Chloride reduction, microplastics, emerging contaminants like PFAS and problems associated with high levels of iron and manganese in drinking water are addressed in our robust education lineup. The technical education sessions provide Continuing Professional Development credits toward professional certification.
• Speaking of certification, if you’re ready, increase confidence in you and your employees by preparing for and taking a professional certification exam while at the convention (and at a discounted price).
• Former Speaker of the House Richard Gephardt and WQA’s Global Governmental Affairs Director David Loveday will discuss the regulatory climate for businesses and some legislative issues to watch on Capitol Hill and in your own state legislature.
• We will present the results of our 2019 Consumer Opinion Study (and give you a report to take home) so you can better understand the needs of your customers…and potential customers.
• Learn about new products and services that can help your business operate more efficiently. On the exposition floor, you’ll make important contacts so that in future you’re doing business with someone you’ve met, rather than a faceless company.
• Keynote speaker Marilyn Sherman will help you understand how you are in charge of your own future in her presentation, Front Row Leadership: How Top Performers Never Settle for Balcony Seats. (Thanks to Clack Corporation for sponsoring the keynote address. If you’d like to hear Sherman preview her talk, listen to our WQA Radio podcast at blog.wqa.org).
• If you’re a manufacturer, you can speak with WQA staff about Gold Seal Product Certification and how it can help your products earn a better spot in the marketplace.
• Dealers can benefit from staying an extra day to attend the 2019 WQA Business Boot Camp on April 26 at the Wynn Las Vegas resort. This day-long intensive training in business planning, leadership and employee engagement can help you take your business to the next level.
• You can help focus on our industry’s future by attending WQA section, committee and advisory council meetings.
I’d like to talk just a little more about our two advisory councils, Women in Industry (WIN) and Young Professionals (YP). Maybe you fit into a category that one or both of these advisory councils was formed to support. If so, look for education sessions sponsored by these groups to provide your feedback, ideas and your voice. But even if you’re not in either target group, you can help support these members. Can you serve as a mentor or a sounding board for a YP or WIN? Do you have ideas for how they can best prepare for a long and lucrative career in water quality? Would you like to understand how you or your company might unintentionally hold back young people or women? Come share your experiences, suggestions or questions with these advisory councils.
Now, back to that history I mentioned in the beginning. While WQA as it is structured today technically was formed by the 1974 merger of the Water Conditioning Association International and the Water Conditioning Foundation, our history actually traces back to 1949, the year both founding organizations were opened to all the manufacturers, suppliers and water treatment dealers now included in the association. The 70-year logo WQA is using in 2019 has a phrase that points to our bright future, as well as our rich past: “Water quality solutions for 70 years and beyond.” Won’t you join me at the Convention & Expo to celebrate both?