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Fourth-generation water industry professional Joe Huemann (pronounced HE-min), president of Huemann Water Management, Inc., dba Huemann Water Conditioning, in Johnsburg, IL, says water is in his blood.
Huemann’s great-grandfather started a water well drilling company in northern Illinois in 1902 — it’s still in business today. His father began the family’s water treatment business in 1963, and Huemann himself has his water well pump installer’s license, is a certified water specialist (CWS-II), and a licensed plumber in Illinois.
Active on the boards of the Water Quality Association (WQA), he also was a member of the Illinois Water Quality Association (IWQA). The IWQA, an all-volunteer-managed organization, was founded in the early 1970s by water treatment professionals to support professional growth and educate consumers.
However, the IWQA was not an active group, with many of its 64 dues-paying members often catching up at the annual national WQA meetings, Huemann says. In recent years, IWQA activity subsided even more. Huemann, attending meetings of all the professional associations related to his water business, began to notice redundancy among the different groups’ programs.
He then proposed this idea to the IWQA board: Associations always want to grow their memberships, and IWQA members recognized the value of fostering professional growth and education, as well as having an industry voice with government and being a resource for consumers.
So Huemann suggested the group consider a merger with the Illinois Association of Groundwater Professionals (IAGP), the trade group for the state’s water well industry. That group already offered a strong educational program overseen by a full-time executive director, Sue Bohenstengel.
The IWQA’s core membership agreed with the plan.
“It was a good economic decision to join forces because then we didn’t have to duplicate services,” says Huemann. “A lot of the education sessions could be beneficial for both of us. There was such good synergy that both organizations could benefit from each other with very little effort. The more we talked about it, it seemed to be a win-win situation for everyone.”
The result was that the IWQA became part of the IAGP effective July 1, 2008. Under the agreement, former IWQA dealer members are now members of IAGP’s Specialty Services/Water Quality division, and former IWQA supplier/manufacturer members are Associate members. As part of the agreement, the IWQA tapped its treasury to pay IAGP dues for its members in good standing through 2010.
Huemann, a strong believer in continuing professional education, added that as much as IWQA members would benefit, so would the IAGP. That group bolstered its overall membership by about 60 new members. (Huemann urges other interested Illinois dealers to look at the group’s Web site: www.iagp.org.)
He said there has been nothing but positive feedback about the merger, and while pleased with the outcome, he does admit “it’s sad to see [the IWQA] go away.”