By Kaitlyn Longstaff
The year of 2022 has been one of challenge, recovery, and innovation. Companies and individuals working in the water industry have shown their openness to new technology, interest in solving challenges, and dedication to the industry. To wrap up 2022 and preview 2023, we asked nine individuals:
1) What was your biggest challenge in 2022?
2) What was your best success in 2022?
3) What are you preparing for in 2023?
- Our biggest challenge in 2022 was the supply chain disruptions, which resulted in lead times that often tripled our standard supplier lead times. Fortunately, our customers understood the issues because they were impacted likewise.
- Our best success in 2022 was the launch of our encapsulated NanoCeram filter for ice machines, which achieved certification for Legionella reduction, as well as scale control.
- For 2023, we are launching our new DEAL® carbon block series drinking water filter cartridges. Both cartridges will feature our patented Functionalized Diatomaceous Earth Media combined with carbon. Both are capable virus; bacteria; cyst; and chlorine, taste, and odor reduction, and one includes lead (Pb) sorbent. All components of construction comply with FDA Requirements 21CFR177.1520 for direct food contact.
- The biggest challenge was finding new service and installation employees. Younger applicants have become somewhat disrespectful, not showing up for interviews even after good phone conversations and conveyed interest in the job. The entitlement age is arising. Also, the sales lead flow has begun to slow, as it appears people are holding onto their money with the negative economic background.
- The best success was finalizing a relationship with Shore Capital Partners to provide more financial and operational support to grow our operations.
- For 2023, I expect economic slowdown and pursuing more service work to fill in potential gaps in our installation schedule.
- For us, the biggest challenges for 2022 have been related to inflation, launching a new fact-based drinking education/outreach platform at the height of fake news, and workplace burnout because the 12-week COVID-19 lockdown has now lasted almost 2 years.
- My greatest success in 2022 is that my daughter is going to be a mom, and my wife and I are going to be grandparents! But my biggest professional successes are being recognized by the Soil Science Society of America as a Certified Professional Soil Scientist and expanding our consultants service to include project management.
- For 2023, we are investing in updating our online water quality and drinking platforms and updating our Drinking Water Diagnostic Tool and the Water Quality Index Calculator for Surface Water. In addition, we will be actively promoting our new Water Professional Directory and the Global Directory of Conservation Groups and Watershed Organizations.
Director, Global Business Development—Water Systems, NSF
- The biggest challenge was dealing with the issues of supply chain disruption caused by COVID-19, global conflicts, and other factors. These issues made it difficult for manufacturers to prepare product samples for certification testing, which then makes it difficult for manufacturers to go ahead with certification projects.
- The best success was getting back into traveling to align with clients at industry events and collaborate with global colleagues. There were challenges, especially with international travel, but we overall successfully navigated them and completed all of our planned travel.
- For 2023, we are taking feedback from clients to continually improve our operations and services, looking forward to adapting to meet the ever-evolving needs of the clients. We adapted successfully to the conditions of the past few years, which were mainly external forces related to the pandemic and global conflicts, and we now look forward to being able to place greater emphasis on voice of the client going into 2023.
- Inflation once again drove equipment and installation component costs to unprecedented highs, along with the more subtle inflation attached to wages, employee health insurance, and transportation costs. The true challenge for me in 2022 wasn’t just the inflation itself, but in helping (convincing) business owners to understand their true cost of doing business and how it has jumped dramatically over the last 3 years.
- Mentoring my own teams and other industry professionals has been a continued source of joy this year. One memorable success in 2022 was in helping one of our clients culminate a five-year growth coaching cycle and sell their business at a price point that far exceeded their initial goals.
- The uncertainty of the early ‘20s will continue into 2023, and economists are promising an imminent general recession or depression along with an inevitable decline in new construction and home sales. I am preparing our own companies, as well as those we coach, for continued supply chain uncertainty, more inflation, a tightening of available capital markets, and a shift in buying motivations in the marketplace. Most importantly, I am preparing to hire new employees and welcome new clients who care about improving their water quality. It is a great time to be in the water industry.
National Sales Director, Nelsen Corporation
- In 2022 we saw the market transition from a market that was driven primarily off of inventory availability to a market that is driven more off of customer service, support, and competitive pricing. There are also many dealers in the marketplace that are open to using new OEMs and products. This has not historically been the case in the water treatment industry.
- One of our biggest successes of 2022 was to continue to grow our business during the rapidly changing market conditions. Our sales and operations teams were able to leverage their industry and product expertise to help our customers continue to succeed during unprecedented supply chain issues.
- As we head into 2023, I think we will see a return to more typical market conditions, where customer service, industry knowledge, and strong relationships will drive business. These have been the core values of our organization, and we look forward to the challenges ahead.
Publisher, Water Conditioning & Purification
- Staying on budget and on schedule was the biggest challenge. Along with everyone else in the water treatment industry, we’ve been facing supply chain issues, price increases from our vendors, and schedule changes. We remained flexible and did the best we could solving these problems.
- Our biggest success in 2022 was building relationships by attending several regional and national trade shows. It’s important for us to meet people face-to-face, and the 2022 trade shows allowed us to do that. And being in person is so refreshing after the long pandemic!
- WC&P is launching new products in 2023 that will help us better deliver value to our readers, advertisers, and partners. We are excited to show off these new options and see what people think about them.
Founder and CEO, ColiMinder
- For Vienna Water Monitoring Solutions, a late-stage start-up based in Europe, our three big challenges were travel restrictions, the significantly increased logistics cost, as well as supply chain problems.
- Our greatest success is the steady increase in customers but also in the area of applications. The food industry and, most importantly, the pharmaceutical industry have become aware of the ColiMinder. We could therefore win some very interesting customers in these fields of application. The potential for future customers is huge!
- We are preparing for a rapid increase in demand. Especially in the areas of drinking water and food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals have great potential. We also have very successful projects underway in the monitoring of bathing water and in sewage treatment plants, after which we expect increasingly large orders in these applications as well.
Residential and Laboratory Sales Executive, ResinTech Inc. ;
Executive Director, Eastern Water Quality Association (EWQA)
- One of my biggest challenges this year was juggling my various job responsibilities. I was given a promotion at ResinTech early in the year, which gave me a lot more
responsibilities. While maintaining my position at ResinTech, I also serve as the executive director at EWQA and have ambitious goals of growing the association. It took me some time to adjust and manage my time better, but I was able to find a way and so far have been successful with both ResinTech and EWQA.
- While working for ResinTech and enjoying my success there, I’d still consider my best success for 2022 the work I’ve done for the EWQA. Working for EWQA is one of the most fulfilling jobs I do. We were able to put on two training events that were very well attended, and our Fall Show was one of the most attended events in several years. This organization is growing, and I truly enjoy our members and working with a great board of directors.
- The goal for 2023 is to keep the momentum going for both ResinTech and EWQA. Now that I have a year under my belt at ResinTech, I can start to think more strategically about my territory and how to best grow, not only for my customers but my customer’s customers. Coming off the EWQA event just a couple of weeks ago, I’m already excited about next year and how we can continue to grow and offer our members great opportunities for education and networking.
Changes, challenges, recovery, and innovation can all feel like a daunting task to face, let alone to overcome. But as we are learning from our fellow water industry professionals, resiliency pays off and reaps the rewards of progress and successful new ventures. Looking back at 2022, it is clear that water treatment professionals faced many challenges resulting from still lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. But these challenges have served as inspiration moving forward into 2023. This next year will hold exciting new ventures and innovation across the water treatment industry, and we at Water Conditioning & Purification International Magazine are looking forward to seeing what is in store for the industry and continuing to bring you the most up-to-date news on these happenings.
Happy 2023 to the water treatment industry and the professionals that keep it going!
About the author
Kaitlyn R. Longstaff is associate editor at Water Conditioning & Purification International magazine. She studied English at Southern New Hampshire University and Publishing at The George Washington University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.