WQA Aquatech USA 2014 featured the annual Opening General Session and Keynote Address. At the Opening General Session, key WQA board representatives provided the audience with opening remarks, WQA’s annual business meeting, presentation of annual awards and much more.

“It takes a strong team to make success,” noted Richard Mest of Master Water Conditioning Corp. and WQA board president (2013-2014), referring to the strength of WQA’s leadership as well as the industry as a whole.  

Mest, during the opening remarks, also noted how this industry can be part of solutions regarding regulations. “We need to be proactive, not reactive,” insisted Mest.

Also, during the Opening General Session, Donald McGhee of Hydro Systems Inc. moderated a roundtable discussion with Mest, WQA’s Executive Director and CEO Dave Haataja, Douglas “Sam” Karge of Pentair and WQA board president (2014-2015) and WQA’s Treasurer Bret Tangley.

The roundtable discussion, themed “a revealing dialogue on the value of being a WQA member,” offered insight into current trends and issues affecting the industry as well as examples of how the association is working hard to advance our industry and its dealers.  

McGhee started the discussion by covering the goals that WQA set and sought to achieve in 2013 in order to showcase the value of WQA membership.

During the roundtable, Haataja spoke about growing awareness among customers in general about the importance of water and proper treatment. “Growing awareness is the most crucial aspect of the association,” explained Haataja. “When I talk to members, they tell me, ‘You have got to help us create awareness of the value and importance of water treatment.” To help grow this awareness among the public, as one example, Haataja noted the association’s recent educational tool, Water Treatment for Dummies. Also, Haataja spoke of the Consumer Survey WQA worked on in 2013 as an important awareness strategy.

The next topic during the roundtable was advocacy and being “advocates for sound policy.” Mest spoke about the association’s progress and communication with policymakers. Mest provided examples of how the association has reached out to regulators and legislators over the past year to “tell our story.” Added Mest, “We need to help shape policy … We understand water better than most people and we need to share our message collectively … and we have done that.” Mest also shared recent examples of how WQA has played an integral role in debating questionable bans, bills and restrictions, such as in California and Arizona.      

Other notable topics discussed during this roundtable included information on final barrier technology, WQRF research developments, sustainability, educational programs, certification programs and more.

Be sure to read the May issue of Water Technology for photos and more information regarding this year’s show.