The Water Quality Association (WQA) Mid-Year Leadership Conference (Aug. 31 to Sept. 2) was an information-packed event for the leaders and members of the association. During the conference, I attended a panel focused on dealer topics, including discussions regarding WQA’s Modular Education Program (MEP) for certifying employees. It is an online learning management system that allows participants to take classes remotely.

While the coursework is self-paced and computer-aided, most dealers assign mentors to each person participating in the MEP. The participant needs face-to-face time with his/her mentor, and these intervals should be scheduled. The student could also shadow a senior technician during work. However, the dealers stated that the mentor is key.

Another topic cited in this dealer section and during President Bret Tangley’s state of the industry presentation was dealing with millennials as employees and as customers. They discussed hiring, training and working with this age group. The dealers on the panel and those in attendance questioned how best to use technology to communicate with this group and encourage them to join the team as employees. Expect Water Technology to include articles on these important topics in upcoming issues.

Hiring and training personnel was second only to getting support and value from suppliers in Water Technology’s July 2015 Benchmark Survey. On page 22, supplier support and relationships are featured. Good communication and asking the right questions are critical.

Dr. Joe Cotruvo also provides his insight into the most recent U.S Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in this month’s “Professor POU/POE” on page 16. He indicates that many states are waiting on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide guidance before they take action and that the release of a review draft is likely this fall.

We always want to hear from you, especially during this time of year when we are planning the editorial topics for next year. What is important to you? How can the editorial team and advisory board help you grow your business? Send me an email and let us know.