By Toby Thomas
It is an exciting time for the water treatment industry and I am proud of the position that the Water Quality Association enjoys today in the marketplace. WQA has never been stronger and the opportunities ahead of us as an association are vast as we emerge — and we will emerge — from this pandemic. I see three main areas of focus for WQA in the coming year:
- Successfully driving WQA through the post-pandemic recovery
- Advancing the awareness of water quality and WQA’s preparedness for a broader, more public stage
- Broadening membership and deepening our member engagement
To successfully drive WQA through the post-pandemic recovery, we will ensure we effectively finish commissioning our new WQA headquarters and laboratory, maintain and further the financial gains we have made this year and over the past five years, and re-establish our important face-to-face engagement at the WQA Convention and Exposition, the Mid-Year Leadership Conference and regional events.
Make no mistake, gathering for the convention in Las Vegas July 28-30 could not come at a better time for our members, exhibitors and attendees. I’m proud that our Board of Directors took a bold stand earlier this year and voted to press ahead with an in-person event, while also offering online access for those who cannot or choose not to travel. If you have not yet registered, please go to wqa.org/convention and sign up you and your team.
Our new headquarters and lab, located outside Chicago, IL, will propel us into the future with gleaming office space and a spacious new testing facility that will allow us to provide ever-expanding testing capabilities for our Gold Seal and Sustainability product certification programs. The opening of this new facility is so timely as the economy reopens and demand for our industry grows.
To effectively advance the awareness of water quality and WQA’s preparedness for a broader, more public stage, we will increase our advocacy with legislators and regulators both at the federal and state level, work with affiliated associations such as the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and organization such as NSF, ANSI and non-governmental organizations to promote the unique value our industry can bring to resolve water quality concerns. We will drive consumer awareness and knowledge by relaying WQA’s thought leadership on water quality and connect them to the industry through tools and strengthen WQA’s brand recognition and demand.
To broaden our membership and deepen our member engagement, we will build on our Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD), Women in Industry and Young Professionals programs to recruit and engage a newer set of leaders, bring in new members both in traditional categories – dealers and manufacturers – and less traditional segments such as plumbing and retail organizations.
If you are reading this and are not yet a member of WQA, let me encourage you to join. All of us are better and smarter than any one individual water treatment professional. So why try to go it alone? Join us and we will have the added benefit of your expertise, as well.
And finally, we will engage all of our members frequently, deeply and conveniently by re-establishing our face-to-face interaction and by embracing many of the new innovative platforms such as Zoom to ensure more members can readily and effectively participate in our critical work. Let’s build on the success we have had and move WQA to an even more influential, value-creating and engaging association for us all and for the public. I’m ready! WQA is ready!
President and CEO of Kinetico, Incorporated
President of the Water Quality Association