By Pauli Undesser

As we prepare for the WQA Convention & Exposition in Orlando (April 6-8), we’re building on the interest and excitement that we saw in Las Vegas, NV, last summer. WQA’s Convention in July was one of the first large in-person gatherings in the US, in light of the pandemic. Just being able to get together face-to-face started the excitement and energy.

The quality of topics and the raw authenticity of speakers generated enthusiasm that rippled throughout the industry even for those who could not attend in person. WQA staff and volunteers really stepped up and brought forward relevant content with an engaging mix of speakers and presentation styles. Just six weeks later, our Mid-Year Leadership Conference was held in Oak Brook, IL. Again, industry leaders met in person and were able to discuss important topics and trends.

It was last spring that we launched the Grand Opening of our new international head­quarters and laboratory, which was due in no small part to the generous contributions we received from member companies in our Building Our Vision campaign. When I think back to all of the virtual meetings and having to wear my hard hat on site during construction, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come and the resulting productivity for staff, as well as product testing and certification capabilities that are second to none in the industry. The new facility has become a catalyst for the association and the industry.

And that brings us to the 2022 Convention and its theme: Impact. This is the year our members (and more broadly the industry) can have a real impact on quality water around the world. Each of us, in every community, is meeting ever greater water challenges. We need to work together, with the training and education, the resources and the opportunity to meet in person that WQA provides.

I’m really excited about unveiling WQA’s 2022-2024 Strategic Plan at Convention. This strategic plan is set up for success because of the expanded capabilities of our new facility and the strength of our membership. There are three overarching strategic goals:

GOAL 1: Advancing knowledge and professionalism of industry participants. WQA will enhance and expand the opportunities by which the water treatment industry demonstrates value and positive impact on water quality.
GOAL 2: Increasing advocacy. WQA will strengthen its position as a thought leader having a voice with government, NGO, and other industry associations at the United States federal, regional and state levels, and globally relative to all critical water quality concerns and solutions.
GOAL 3: Driving public awareness and knowledge. WQA will proactively provide awareness and knowledge about the importance of understanding water quality by strategically communicating thought leadership, while highlighting the industry’s ethics, technologies, methods and benefits.

Yes, we will have action plans, resources and budgets behind the strategic plan, but the true success comes from the strength of our members. If we are not promoting within the industry and presenting our pride of the association, industry and participants within it, the impact of the advocacy and public awareness aspects of the strategic plan are limited.

I can think of no better industry poised to have a major impact on public health and safety than the water treatment industry. We look forward to seeing more of our members and exhibitors who were unable to join us in Las Vegas. And, if you’re a long-time member, please reach out and invite a colleague to explore what WQA has to offer. I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

Pauli Undesser, MWS, Executive Director
Water Quality Association and Water Quality Research Foundation


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