Hitting the Jackpot
WWD readers can benefit from new trade show scheduled for specialty water markets
Water & Wastes Digest recently interviewed Peter J. Censky, executive director
of the Water Quality Association, to find out more about the WQA Aquatech event to be held this spring in Las Vegas.
WWD: What is WQA Aquatech and how did this event become to be?
Peter J. Censky: WQA Aquatech USA is a new trade show concept in the water industry. We examined the North American water industry over the past years and talked extensively to exhibitors and came to the conclusion that there is a pressing need for one trade show to represent the household, commercial, industrial, high purity or ultrapure, and other specialty water markets.
WQA’s show was the largest of several that served various niches in this market but no one was doing the whole job. The exhibitors could not afford to send people to small shows that don’t produce results and all these shows were beginning to see a slide in participation. At WQA we began anticipating this probably eight years ago.
Several years ago I began discussions with the people at the RAI in Amsterdam who own the Aquatech water industry show that runs every two years in Amsterdam. They also run shows in other regions of the world. Aquatech is in my opinion the premier water show outside of the U.S. It focuses on the same markets I mentioned above plus some wastewater and municipal water vendors. Our agreement marries the WQA show and the Aquatech concept into an aggressive and much needed new venue for exhibitors who serve everything from household through industrial. We’ll gladly accept wastewater exhibitors and municipal exhibitors too because the customized water market is growing rapidly and that’s where the action is.
WWD: When and where is the WQA Aquatech USA event being held?
Censky: The show will be in Las Vegas next March. Exhibition dates are March 30, 31, and April 1st. We also have education seminars taking place starting on the 29th and at various times through April 2nd. For registration information go to our website at www.wqa.org.
WWD: Currently, how many attendees and exhibitors does WQA expect?
Censky: We are expecting about 4,000 total attendees at our first show and we plan to increase that number with each successive annual show.
WWD: What can those who have been going to the WQA show for years expect to experience at the new WQA Aquatech USA show that would be different and beneficial to them?
Censky: There are a lot of exciting new exhibitors, new technologies, new education opportunities, and new networking events. We’ve reached out to other associations to help us build an outstanding education offering. These contributors include the Industrial Water Conference, the International Ozone Association, the International UV Association, the Association of Water Technologies, and of course, WQA.
In addition the Water & Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) is helping us promote the show. The exhibitors should also be happy because we do not have education seminars competing with trade show floor hours. The show is an education in itself and we want to drive all the attendees to the floor.
That said, there is one exciting new thing we are doing in concert with a number of exhibitors. We are accrediting a number of “mini courses” on the trade show floor. These will be put on by exhibitors and they will last no more than 20 minutes with a short time for questions. This is the kind of selling that many exhibitors do anyway but we are offering credits for these courses so people can keep up with their various professional certifications.
WWD: How will the show encompass and serve both the residential dealer and the municipal water and wastewater utilities?
Censky: Actually, the show is focused more on the residential, commercial, industrial dealers, specifying engineers, consulting engineers and all of those with responsibility for processes within plants, clinics, small communities and many more. I think the municipal water and wastewater utilities are well served by their present trade shows but of course we won’t turn away any exhibitor or attendee who is looking for new opportunities.
In fact, we’ve found that in recent shows a lot of business has sprung from exhibitor to exhibitor contacts. Many of our exhibitors are looking for partnering opportunities or other models that open up new markets or extend present lines of business. There is a commonality across this market; the technologies are the same so it’s a matter of scale and knowledge.
The end user is not well served by today’s market configuration where there is a chemical treatment alternative or a filtration alternative or a membrane alternative, etc. The problem is each in its own world and the specifier and installer only tend to know how to do one thing.
You know the old saying, “if all you have is a hammer then every problem looks like nails.” Well, there often is a preferred treatment solution but the customer today has only the luck of the draw. Our show is designed to diffuse knowledge and technologies across existing industry barriers.
WWD: In the overall context of trade shows, how will this event differ from other water-related events being held around the globe?
Censky: We are focusing on targeted areas where the real growth opportunities in the overall water industry- commercial, industrial, household, and specialty markets were the downstream buyer has discretionary money and clear needs and where their buying is not subject to government restrictions and cutbacks.
WWD: What is the WQA’s relationship with both the RAI and WWEMA in regards to the WQA Aquatech event?
Censky: These are two very different relationships. First of all, we are business partners with the RAI. The WQA Aquatech USA show is a joint venture between the RAI and us where we share the risk and the rewards of putting this show on.
WQA’s relationship with WWEMA is through a Memorandum of Understanding that puts both organizations on a cooperative footing. We will work together to further the goals of both organizations whenever appropriate. This friendly relationship extends to public policy areas, government relations, public relations—really anywhere where our cooperation will benefit our members.
As far as the trade show goes WWEMA has publicized our show to their members and has been very encouraging in their discussions with us. At the same time WWEMA maintains good relations with AWWA and WEF and provides those organizations with powerful feedback and customer input into their trade shows.