The Texas Water Quality Association’s 41st convention and exhibition will take place this summer on July 16-19 at the Sheraton Hotel & Spa in Fort Worth, Texas. We caught up with TWQA’s Executive Director Daina Grace for some more insight into the association and the plans for its July event.
Water Technology: Please provide a background on the association as well as your current goals and projects since last year’s event.
Daina Grace: The Texas Water Quality Association (TWQA) is a non-profit state trade association which was formed 41 years ago in order to ensure the right of the individuals and companies in the water treatment industry to do business in a professional manner that benefits not only those treatment professionals, but also the consumers of Texas. Our members initially joined together to secure their right to install equipment professionally and without excessive cost to the consumer. We continue to work today as a unified entity, even if we are competitors in the marketplace, to provide a well-trained, professional workforce that benefits not only our association members, but all citizens in Texas.
The purpose of the TWQA is to assure individuals’ rights to improve and enhance the quality of their water. We help do this by providing continuing professional education and training opportunities to our members, government and regulatory entities and the general public. Our primary purpose today is to provide a venue for the adequate training of all personnel installing, servicing and maintaining water treatment equipment, administered through a TCEQ Water Treatment Specialist program that can be found at http://www.tceq.texas.gov/licensing/licenses/wtslic. We endeavor to keep those in our industry updated on all water treatment issues that might affect them and the public and we also strive to keep them up to date on the newest technologies available.
WT: What trends and significant water issues are occurring in your region and how are they unique compared to the rest of the country?
DG: Texas is currently in the midst of one of the largest oil booms in the state’s history. With the boom comes both residential and commercial opportunities for water treatment dealers. The fracking technique which is being used is creating new and challenging problems with regard to water and the affects it could have in the future.
Texas is also currently experiencing an extended drought which has left many cities without an adequate water source; because of this many towns are seeking out alternative sources of water and are even considering indirect or direct reuse of water. This is opening up many opportunities for our members as well.
TWQA and its Board of Directors are currently working with TCEQ and other state agencies to help safeguard the residential water sources. TWQA supports updating plumbing codes with clear wording to avoid misinterpretations and educating plumbing professionals, including water treatment specialists, that air gaps are safe and cost effective backflow protection for residential water treatment devices.
WT: Please explain the association’s Code of Ethics and why TWQA puts such great emphasis on it.
DG: TWQA has a Code of Ethics which was designed to work closely with the Texas Attorney General, if necessary, to resolve any disputes between consumers and members of our association and industry. While we have had to get involved in very few disputes over the years, each of them has been resolved to the parties’ satisfaction without the expenditure of state tax dollars.
TWQA, as well as the consumers in the state, put a lot of emphasis on the fact that our members have to abide by our Code of Ethics because this reassures the consumer that they are dealing with a true water professional who is properly licensed and is knowledgeable about the water industry. TWQA members proudly display the TWQA logo on advertisements and company vehicles verifying their commitment to excellence in the water treatment industry.
WT: What is planned for this year’s 41st annual TWQA Convention and Exhibition?
DG: This year’s show will offer multiple business sessions that will benefit both owners and employees as well as a variety of technical sessions which will give dual credit for their Texas WTS licenses and their WQA licenses. The activities begin on Wednesday with the Board of Directors’ meeting followed by the President’s Welcome reception which is open to everyone.
The TWQA golf tournament will be held Thursday morning at Fossil Creek Golf course — this is always a highlight at the convention. The Basic Water Conditioning course begins Thursday morning with the Annual Awards Banquet Thursday evening. This year the post banquet activity will be an evening in Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth.
Friday morning begins with the Annual Meeting/General Session. We are proud to have representatives from WQA coming to update us on the progress that is being made through the efforts of WQA. The Spouse and Children’s Breakfast will also be held Friday morning — this is one of the highlights for adults as well as kids. The exhibit begins at 11:00 a.m. and continues until 4:00 p.m. We will have lunch served on the show floor as well as four technical talk sessions. We look for the show to sellout and to be very well attended.
The Friday evening activity will be held at Billy Bob’s in the historic stockyard district. Attendees will be treated to some real Texas traditions: Texas barbeque, line dancing, a rodeo and an evening of boot scootin’ fun.
Saturday will offer more technical sessions as well as the Advanced Water Treatment course. WQA will be offering all levels of the exams Saturday afternoon. If you are interested in taking one or more of these you need to preregister. Forms are available on the TWQA website for all of the Convention activities, training activities and WQA exams. Go to www.twqa.org and click on events.
WT: What new programs or events are planned for this year’s convention and exposition?
DG: Clark Benson of Engitech Inc. has created courses to help the training attendees with the math that is covered on the Water Treatment Specialist Class 1, 2 and 3 exams. This year’s convention will be the first time that these courses are offered and it is our hope that the schedule will benefit the trainees. The Basic Math Course will be given on Wednesday evening before the Basic Water Conditioning course on Thursday. The Advanced Math Course will be held Friday afternoon in preparation for the Advanced Water Conditioning course which will be held on Saturday.
WT: In your opinion, what makes this event and other regional shows so important for our industry?
DG: The regional associations are a vital part of the success of WQA. It is the regional associations who are the first line of defense for any issues which occur in their state or region. They are the eyes and ears for their members and address the issues which directly affect them. Regional shows are very important to the water treatment industry. They offer the ability to hear about the issues which are affecting their members and the strategy which is being used to deal with those issues. Regional shows offer attendees invaluable networking time which adds strength to the association. Exhibitors are able to meet with the members in a smaller setting which allows for better business as well as building new relationships. It always helps to put a face with a voice or name and you are able to do that at the regional shows. Texas is a huge state and having the ability to see water treatment dealers from all over the state in one place is a benefit to the exhibitors who come to the TWQA Conventions.