Steve Ver Strat, President, Water Quality Association
Amway Regulatory Policy Director

What an exciting time to be the Water Quality Association President! Our industry is stronger than ever, our association growing and expanding, and we are preparing to develop our Vision 20/20 at the upcoming WQA Convention and Exhibition. The industry continues to strengthen for several reasons. A key driver is the fundamental shift in consumer attitudes toward their drinking water. In the wake of Flint, MI (and now Newark, NJ), consumers continue to be concerned about lead.
Media reports are also leading them to worry about PFAS (the so-called ‘forever chemicals’) and other emerging contaminants. Although municipal water suppliers do an amazing job providing drinking water that meets state and federal standards, customers are increasingly looking to our industry for peace of mind. This need for credible assistance only reinforces the importance of our representatives to be trained and certified. WQA maintains a focus on the importance of certified products and works to speak authoritatively on behalf of our industry. As an example, last year we traveled to Newark to help the city educate the public on the use of certified products to protect against lead in their drinking water.
WQA’s updated Code of Ethics became effective in January this year. The associated marketing guidelines now set the expectation that member companies use terms like water softener as the industry has defined them in the WQA Knowledge Base Glossary. All WQA members and certified professionals pledge to uphold the Code of Ethics and this is essential for our credibility. We reviewed some of the updates to the code in a February 5 webinar, which can be viewed at We also are planning a general session panel discussion during the WQA Convention and Exposition, Ethics in the Water Treatment Industry, for which I highly recommend your attendance.
In fact, I highly recommend you attend all three days of the convention, April 1-3 in Orlando, FL. In view of our Vision 20/20 theme, we’re going to explore all the great ways our industry is growing and flourishing in 2020, and this continued expectation for years to come. Our keynote speaker, Simon T. Bailey, is the author of 10 books on being fearless and creating our future. He’s going to talk about how to “be the spark” for your business as part of our Opening General Session. Updates on the state of the association, inspiring words from WQA leaders, presentation of annual leadership awards and election of new members to the WQA Board of Directors will also be included in that session.
Our trade show will feature nearly 250 exhibiting companies offering the latest products and services in water treatment. We’ve expanded the hours this year so that everyone can take advantage of all the exposition has to offer, including the Learning Lab and Business Spotlights. Dozens of fascinating and challenging education sessions will cover such topics as emerging contaminants, commercial and industrial applications of water treatment, WQRF research and business operations topics. Attendees are welcome to visit most of the committee, section, advisory council and board of directors’ meetings, which will feature lively discussions on industry topics. Certified professionals can pick up potentially dozens of hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits at the technical sessions.
If you are looking for more education in water treatment topics, consider our two technical workshops, the Commercial/Industrial RO Sizing Workshop and Introduction to Water Contaminants and Drinking Water Regulations MEP Workshop, offered on April 3 at an additional registration fee. Each offers the opportunity to earn 0.4 CPD total. If you are a dealer looking for practical tools and tips for running your water treatment business, consider coming a day early for the WQA Business Boot Camp on March 31. Create the Vision is the theme for the day-long, intensive workshop that features water industry and outside experts’ presentations on leadership, hiring, retaining and onboarding employees. More information and registration for all these events are available at our convention website:
My presidency draws to a close at convention time, but I could not be more excited about the future of this great association. Thank you again for working with me and I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!


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