Staying ahead of the curve

May 8, 2015

BIRMINGHAM — In Water Technology’s May issue, Assistant Editor Maria Woodie interviews Water Quality Association’s (WQA) Board President Douglas “Sam” Karge.

BIRMINGHAM — Assistant Editor Maria Woodie interviews Water Quality Association’s (WQA) Board President Douglas "Sam" Karge, who is also vice president of Pentair Water Purification, a division of Pentair, in the May issue of Water Technology.

In this special Q&A, Karge offers insight into his role with WQA, the association’s accomplishments and how WQA plans to stay ahead of the curve.

The association’s board president also delves into an important issue facing the water industry today and what strides WQA has taken to solve this concern. Here is a closer look:

WT: In your opinion, what is the most important issue(s) facing our industry today?

SK: I think consumers are growing more and more knowledgeable every day about water quality. If we want to be relevant in 10 years, we need to acknowledge changing consumer perceptions and expedite our growth and forward momentum as an industry. I feel that new technology has lagged as has new "thinking" about how we approach consumers. Pretty soon consumers may pass us in their knowledge of what it is we do. We need to stay ahead of this as an association and an industry.

WT: How have WQA and its members worked to solve these concerns in recent years?

SK: The WQA has made great strides in providing better industry information for consumers. Some good examples include our newer consumer-directed publications, such as "Water Treatment for Dummies" and "Getting Smart with Softeners," as well as our Consumer Opinion Study and Modular Education Program (MEP). All of these projects help us get ahead of the curve when it comes to information about the industry. These are also prime examples of our association’s efforts to move from "defense" to "offense."

WT: In retrospect, how have disruptive legislation, such as California’s stance on water softeners, helped to strengthen our industry and incorporate advanced technology?

SK: I think adversity gives us a reason to work together. While many of WQA’s member companies have different focuses in the marketplace, we all provide a great benefit for consumers — clean, safe and enjoyable water for hundreds of millions of people in the U.S. When legislators lose sight of that fact, we need to remind them of the great things we do, while pointing out that our industry can be the solution, as opposed to the problem.

You can read the entire Q&A featured in the May issue here.

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