Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

In spite of the multitude of issues concerning our world and the water treatment industry, winter can make them seem interminable. Spring, considered the time of renewal, is also a time to reflect on what changes have been made and what still needs to be done. Many companies have adapted to the current wave of disrupted business practices and appear to be making changes on a continuous basis. Not content to sit still and wait for better times, they are the ones to watch as the world attempts to return to some measure of normalcy, hopefully sooner rather than later.

COVID-19 has changed how companies do business, from restricted access for installations to donning masks all day. Workarounds have taken root for many companies to stay in compliance with ever-changing regulations that have made it difficult to do anything but adhere to the most stringent requirements. This has and will continue to result in significant reduction (and loss) of business. Working remotely can only be used effectively for so long before people have to be out in the trenches. Creativity has never been so important in making water treatment products viable for everyday life.

March means water softeners are the focus of this issue. Greg Reyneke of Red Fox Advisors offers a very personal perspective on losing access to softened water, giving a point-by-point on why softeners should be a standard appliance rather than a luxury item. Rick Andrews, NSF International, provides an educational overview on NSF/ANSI 44, the standard covering residential water softeners specifically. There are a number of requirements for manufacturers to meet, not the least of which is ensuring the correct sizing for each type of unit, while there are other standards that cover commercial and industrial water softeners.

Reaching certain milestones in business deserves special notice. According to a December 2016 article by Stéphane Garelli, Emeritus Professor, Institute for Management Development in Switzerland: “A recent study by McKinsey found that the average lifespan of companies listed in Standard & Poor’s 500 was 61 years in 1958. Today, it is less than 18 years. McKinsey believes that, in 2027, 75 percent of the companies currently quoted on the S&P 500 will have disappeared.” It’s a tough world out there and it’s getting tougher. And while that may seem to apply to major manufacturers, it’s representative of the business environment as a whole. But William MacHale keeps beating the odds of that report, now celebrating his company’s 30th anniversary. He gives a short history of his transition from the insurance to the water treatment industry and how he intends to make it last.

Dr. Kelly Reynolds, Public Health Editor, focuses on the annual consumer confidence water report and why it isn’t as helpful as it should be to the everyday consumer. Critics believe the reports are not written for the intended audience and most people do not understand them, even though surveys indicate high levels of satisfaction with their water. It is US EPA’s responsibility to ensure reports are provided but once a year tells little about what is actually happening. Consumer education is a must but is missing from these reports. Dealers can help with that by reaching out to inform consumers about their water on a timely basis and also offer both preventative and long-term solutions to any water issues that may be impacting their supply.

As this is being written, a record-breaking deep freeze that will be talked about for some time to come has descended across much of the central US. It’s hard to think of spring when your pipes are frozen and your electricity is off but it really is coming your way…soon we hope. Until then, think about the future and what’s next for your business. Be brave…be daring…be creative! Until we meet again, hopefully this year at WQA’s annual event in July, stay safe and stay positive.

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