April 2004
Volume 46 Number 4
 

Healthy & Growing -- An Interview with 2004-05 WQA President Greg Norgaard
by Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor   Pages: 

The following is the discussion we had in mid-February with then incoming WQA President Greg Norgaard, who also is executive vice president and general manager of Culligan International, in Northbrook, Ill.:

WC&P: From your perspective in the market, where do you see the industry going?

Norgaard: I tell you what, I would summarize that in three different areas. No. 1 and probably most importantly, the industry is growing. We built and shipped and installed more water treatment equipment last year than ever before. Second, the industry is very healthy. The fundamentals are sound. Water, obviously our product, is in a fixed supply and is an ever-increasing demand. People's awareness of their water and the need for good high purity drinking water, working water is at an all time high. Third, the industry is changing at a fairly rapid pace right now. We're seeing a couple of things in particular. No. 1 is channel migration. People are tending to—because of the convenience—go more towards retail. And we also see the industry as consolidating.

WC&P: We should probably say that it's consolidating on more than one level, in terms of the manufacturers and the dealers. There's been a lot of retirement among the older dealers who have been around for a long time. Therefore, you see the emergence of say a CR Hall, for example, who has more than 10 dealerships now—whereas a few years ago, he only had four.

Norgaard: Yes. The notion of consolidation certainly does apply to both the manufacturer level as well as the dealer level. Certainly, the change that is being brought about by the consolidation of the industry. Clearly from a WQA perspective, that gets to be somewhat challenging in terms of maintaining membership numbers. But, from an industry perspective, I think at the end of the day, it does actually provide a better product and a better service to the end-users and purchasers. But the consolidation in the industry is affecting us both on a larger, manufacturer level as well as on a dealership level.

WC&P: It also affects the WQA in that, oftentimes, the consolidated companies may have a discrepancy between what had been contributed in support of the association as individual companies vs. a merged entity.

Norgaard: Two dues payers become one.

WC&P: Exactly. Do you want to comment on that since the WQA's revenues will be one of the factors in assessing whatever goals you may for the year?

Norgaard: Yes, we'll talk about that a little bit later on.

WC&P: What challenges does the industry face in all of this?

Norgaard: I would say there's really three very distinct challenges that the industry faces. No. 1 is regulation—just in general, regulations. We, as an industry, need to make sure that the basis for these regulations is sound. And once we do that, we have got to be in a position that we are there to supply the right solution. California is a great example of that. The second challenge I think we face as an industry really has to do with what we call harmonization of the standards. We need to be in sync both domestically and internationally on the standards that we put forth for the equipment that we design and install. That, in many respects, leads me to the third challenge, which is the notion of cost competition. Cost competition is great, but I tell you we've got to make sure that we've got a level playing field. We've got to make sure that the standards are the same.

WC&P: Are you speaking just internally to the United States?

Norgaard:Initially, yes, internally to the United States, since we're not even to the point where we're in harmony in the U.S., much less internationally. And that is clearly a challenge that this industry is facing. What kind of makes it even more aggressive of a challenge is you have a dealer, for example, in Arizona who's kind of scratching his head and wondering why are we spending all of this time and resources over in Europe trying to influence a standard over there. The notion is that it's very much similar to the way sometimes laws and standards and regulations come from say California and migrate to the East. That is very much the case with standards in the European Union that could migrate to the U.S. So, we need to make sure we maintain a very strong voice in the development of those standards.

WC&P: I think the stalemate seems to have held that at bay up 'til now that they face in Europe over their own internal squabbling about harmonizing standards there.

Norgaard: Yes, that's definitely the case. There's not a whole lot going on over there right now. It's very tough to get anything through the European Union.

WC&P: How is that going to translate to the market here in terms of "cost competition," which you mentioned. We hear frequently through various channels that's more of a common complaint against the Asian producers, particularly related to not just the cost but what's often alleged that some of these products seem to be knockoffs—or copies—which is a sensitive topic. The issue of harmonization is one more so in Europe, but cost competition seems to be more of one focused on Asia. Do you have any comment on that?

Norgaard: I wouldn't relegate this strictly to an Asian issue. I would say the notion of setting a standard for a piece of equipment and making sure that standard is adhered to by anyone who would supply that equipment into that market, that to me is what this is about. It's not to single out any one region of the world so much as to say we've got to have our standards, our basic standards for this equipment, in harmony. Otherwise, it's just going to create a very unlevel playing field.

WC&P: In the States, harmonization issues seem to be down to materials safety which is still something that gets bantered about here and there—but there's been little progress toward in recent years. Are there other issues as far as state-to-state things you're concerned about?

Norgaard: No, they could probably all be lumped together. Material safety is a very large, very generic category. If you talk about Proposition 65 issues in California, that does impact an awful lot of what this industry manufactures.

WC&P: How does this reflect on the challenges that the WQA faces?

Norgaard: Well, clearly, there's not a whole lot of difference between the challenges that the industry faces and the challenges that WQA will face. In addition to the industry challenges, I would say that the specific challenges the WQA faces, No. 1, we've got to complete the implementation of the strategic plan—the strategic reorganization that we did. I look at the progress that we made in the last year on that and it is amazing to me. But the job is not yet done.

WC&P: It seems as if there were some big leaps that were made at the Mid-Year Conference in Chicago.

Norgaard: Yes, there were some very big leaps made.

WC&P: With governance, the Task Control Documents and the State-of-the-Industry Report.

Norgaard: Yes, yes. And it's accomplished a lot of things through that. Clearly, it's made the process more effective. It's also, in the process, made it much more streamlined. It shows itself. You used to go to these conventions and hear the same thing three and four times in different meetings.

WC&P: Oh, I know. I have notebooks full of the stuff.

Norgaard: I'm sure you do. Now, it's streamlined. It's great. Like I said, probably, the key to completing this is to really start to show the value of this restructuring to the membership. What does it really mean? If I have an issue and if I'm a member of WQA, I just want to make sure that my issue will get someone's attention, that there's a clear mechanism for some group within WQA to make a rational decision on it and come back to me and say, "Yes, it's a real issue. Here's what we're going to do with it. Here's the path it's going to take through the organization. And here's our expectation as far as timetable, etc." Or say: "You know what? This may be an issue for you, but this is not an issue for WQA, so here's what we're going to do with it." That, for me, is a very big step that has been taken. I would say that the challenge that WQA would face then is to complete and make sure that we follow through on the implementation—the full implementation—of the strategic plan.

WC&P: Are there specific goals in there that you have or that you'd like to see achieved during your tenure as WQA president?

Norgaard: There are, but before we get there, let's talk about a few other challenges that I think WQA faces. The notion of expanding the value of what we offer to other markets—more the commercial/industrial market as well as the other channels such as retail—we need to figure that out. We need to be in a position where we're serving more than just kind of the historical water treatment dealer, water treatment consumer-level manufacturers… We also need, as I mentioned earlier, to become a much more impactful voice internationally.

WC&P: What milestones do you see in achieving that?

Norgaard: A good piece of that is actually started in this whole strategic restructuring, this realignment. It's pulling in the people who have a very definite stake internationally, i.e., some of the major manufacturers. But it's also uniting them with some of the folks over, in this case, particularly in Europe. That, believe me, is not an easy task. You've got the language barriers, you've got cultural barriers, you've got all the nationalities—but we've got to make that happen. And then, obviously, our challenges that we face, we've just got to effectively confront the industry challenges that we talked about. As far as translating that into my own personal goals for my tenure as WQA president, No. 1 is to actually take this strategic plan where Jim Baker left it off and fully implement it. We have done, I think, as an organization, a fantastic job. I've been very impressed with the leadership that Jim has had with this thing. But we've got to get it fully plugged in. We've got to get this thing going. Another goal that's very important to me is to effectively grow both our membership and our trade show to include all these different and more expansive lists of "members and exhibitors" at the trade show. I mean you know as well as I do that this industry and this organization is run and is in business for the membership, for one. And the trade show is the other. We've got to keep both of those growing.

WC&P: Sometimes it seems as if where the breakdown has been is on any potential conflict within the two key membership categories. But what I've noticed in recent years, at least on the surface, that conflict has become more of a cooperative relationship. And you do have the dealers involved in that as well and recognizing it. What are your thoughts on that?

Norgaard: I don't think that it's as much a transition as much as it is an acknowledgment on both sides—on the dealer side as well as the manufacturer side—that this industry has got to be together. We're here, as a group of dealers and a group of manufacturers, essentially, to unite this industry. We're not going to do that if we split up. My perspective on that is probably a little bit unique. Again, I don't want to get real deeply into Culligan here…

WC&P: But it's a pretty good example of the conflicts and those issues tugging at each side of the industry in recent years…

Norgaard: Right. And that's exactly the point. I'm sitting here as both a dealer and a manufacturer. And you know what? If you can't get both of those working together—forget it. It's not going to work. The other thing that I'm very adamant about is I believe that we've got to form some kind of a liaison with the IBWA. I've got a tremendous amount of respect for that organization. There are so many things that we have in common. I believe that there is a win-win out there that we can accomplish. And I'm not talking about merging the two organizations into one, because I don't think that would be right. I'm talking about taking advantage of the areas in which we have the synergies. Whether that's co-locating a trade show, whether that's some various committee work we share, whether that's joining together on various lobbying efforts—it's just making sure that we support each other and that we understand each other's direction. I firmly believe that there's a great opportunity to continue down the path of forming a much tighter liaison with these guys.

WC&P: There is a natural dovetailing of the two considering the emergence of POU coolers and also the trend toward more dealers adopting bottled water as an additional natural niche to their businesses.

Norgaard: Yes.

WC&P: That's another thing that Culligan has been somewhat ahead of the curve on as well.

Norgaard: Yes.

WC&P: How do you boost the overall membership?

Norgaard: I tell you what. In a consolidating industry, as we talked about a little bit earlier, that's always a challenge. I would say there's a few things that we have to do. No. 1 is there are a number of very large and very significant companies entering the industry—and these guys need to be recruited. We need to get out and pull these guys in. Likewise, I think we need to reinvestigate the notion of recruiting these organizations into the association. That obviously encompasses an awful lot. I mean when you have a significant player who is doing, oh, industrial water, for example, I think we have a real opportunity to boost our membership and to boost our value to the entire industry by effectively expanding the reach and stretch and scope of our organization. We are also doing a number of things to improve kind of the basic offerings to our members. For example, our education strategy…

WC&P: Going online with a distance learning program in some of the core education and professional certification areas?

Norgaard: That's a part of it. As far as the technical and certification type of education that we do, adding more stuff on how to effectively run your business is what I mean.

WC&P: You mean having more in the program on basic issues that every business man or woman deals with…

Norgaard: How do you run the business, how do you effectively recruit, hire, train and motivate employees... that type of stuff has proven very valuable to the members, especially the dealers.

WC&P: True. Whenever there's a session like that, you've got standing room only in that room wherever it is in the conference. And that's even if it's how to run a technical installation program better. It still winds up overflowing with people.

Norgaard: Yes. One of the things we're doing to boost the overall membership is there's a definite need that we have to tap this large, large pool of international companies, which I don't think we've done to the degree we should.

WC&P: Well, think about it. You've got Tyco increasingly involved. You've got GE. You've got ITT Industries. And those are just the U.S.-based companies. So, yes, there are a lot of them.

Norgaard: Yes. And, finally, as you look at boosting your overall membership, it's really a matter of getting out and proving your value to companies that are currently not members. That's the value other than legislative or other educational type initiatives that you can offer. California is a great example of that. When you get out and do these sessions, these kind of grassroot sessions to talk to all people, all the dealers and the manufacturers in a local area where they're considering a ban, they start to understand the value that this type of an organization can bring. It's kind of the value of teaming up with this kind of an organization. It's a matter of getting out among our membership and proving that worth.

WC&P: California always stands out, but if you look at it on a smaller, state-to-state level, what happens to each state's WQA membership—it's driven by a how-can-you-help-me-now attitude that's driven by current business threats. So, when there's an issue over septic tanks or redtagging of one type of installation vs. another, etc., membership numbers tend to jump dramatically. Texas had a slide, but it jumped when that issue came up. Same thing happened in Florida a few years back…

Norgaard: Wisconsin, Ohio—the same thing could be said.

WC&P: Yes. We've always been somewhat of a regulatory-driven market, both in terms of the business we do and the membership that we keep in that sense. On a global scale, there's also always that issue of where does international fit in. How do you hope to encourage that international growth? For instance, BWT is a company that many have seen as a rival but also produces a number of traditional, mainstream products in our market. How do you get them to join? How do you get more smaller Asian companies to join? The movement toward having national WQA chapters abroad seems to have abided for a while. We're looking to see what's going to happen in the Philippines since the ex-president, Dr. Jovito DeAuna, passed away in the last year. How is that going to affect membership through there? Latin America is a big, growing market. Language issues in terms of educational materials, training programs and certification… it's a lot of stuff to try and pull together.

Norgaard: Yes. It absolutely is. I think the easiest way to look at that—and, again, it's a lot easier to say than it is to do—we have got to get out and prove the value of the WQA to what they're doing. The language issue, that's just a speed bump. That's a forgivable barrier. If you're going to be international in scope, you've got to overcome that. Same with the cultural stuff. You have got to prove your worth or your value to these people in running their businesses. And the way to do that is to pull them in, to get them involved.

WC&P: It's kind of more difficult to pull them in when you also want to pull them into the trade show too. How do you encourage that?

Norgaard: Internationally, you've got to evaluate what is happening in their market and what we can do in their market to affect them positively. If they come over to the United States for a trade show—and I refer to "they" as being an international manufacturer, for example—the only reason they would do that is to gain more market in the U.S. Now, conversely, if WQA has an effective presence over there, then they start to join for different reasons. And different reasons being the ability to have a say in the development of a standard for example in the European Union and this CEN group and all that went on in the last year and a half with BWT…

WC&P: I'd probably say in the last 5 to 10 years.

Norgaard: Culminated I should say.

WC&P: WQA is one of the founding members of Aqua Europa and a big supporter for it as sort of a counterpart in the European market. It's gone through its own ups and downs. And I've heard rumors that some are looking at whether or not we should focus on other groups that may be in a position to be influential in terms of harmonization, opening markets and expanding opportunities for consumers there toward access to point-of-use/point-of-entry equipment.

Norgaard: Again, we've got to find a way to be more effective in Europe. If we can continue to work with Aqua Europa and help them develop and develop this relationship, then great. If that doesn't work, then let's figure out what does. To be honest with you, we don't know yet.

WC&P: I've got one final main question and then a list of points we can go over to make sure we've touched on them. What's the one hot-button issue facing water treatment dealers or the industry that you think is going to have the most impact over the next couple of years?

Norgaard: I think, in general terms, it's going to be the increased regulatory pressure that we're feeling. Specifically, it's going to be the restriction of brine discharge from our equipment. Whether you're talking a softener or even an RO, discharging into a POTW in California or a septic tank in Montana, the fact of the matter is…

WC&P: What's a POTW?

Norgaard: It's a publicly owned treatment works—a municipal wastewater treatment plant.

WC&P: OK. What are the same issues you deal with regardless?

Norgaard: It's a little bit different. If you're discharging into a POTW, the notion that the municipality would come back and restrict you on what you can discharge into their plant—clearly they have the right and the means to do that. But the question becomes is it sound? Is the regulation sound? If they're problem is that they've got too much salinity in the river that they discharge to, if they come back and ban softeners—ban the sale of softeners, I should say—will that really impact the local salinity in the river? You can battle on those issues all day long, but it comes down to in our position—and kind of back to your hot-button issue—that we have got to make sure that, No. 1., the basis of the regulation is sound. Bob Ruhstorfer [2002-2003 WQA president] has always been in my mind viewed as the guy who likes to use the term "good science." Good science, good science, good science—that's exactly what it is.

WC&P: In some cases, it probably could be boiled down to reasonable science as well. I say that because part of what I think you're referring to is in some areas if there's a heavy rain, they're out of compliance—regardless of whether there's a softener discharging into a particular waterway. That raises the issue of is the level of restriction on that community too stringent. And I believe there are cases, or there have been, where you have a community suing the federal government saying, "The regulation you're imposing on us is too high. It's unrealistic." Therefore, reasonable regulations would be another element to that.

Norgaard: Yes, when I say "sound," it incorporates all that. On an aside, I look at these poor guys in California, for example. You try to put yourself in the shoes of a municipality out there, they're getting squeezed very, very hard by the EPA right now saying: "You guys have got to be in compliance with this discharge limit. And if you aren’t , you could face fines of $25,000 per day per violation, etc."

WC&P: And that's before Prop. 65 kicks in…

Norgaard: Right. They turn it around. What are you going to do as a regulator? Can I regulate the seawater incursion into my river? No. Can I regulate or somehow control agricultural runoff of salinity into my river? No. Well, let's look at the point discharges then, aaahh… OK, what are the obvious discharges into this point? And you can see exactly what's happening here. It's just our ability to not control, but at least monitor and influence the outcome of any legislative or regulatory efforts has got to be very strong. It's not going to be this in your face mentality. It's going to be proactive. "Let's look at this thing. Let's work it out. Maybe there's different ways to be more effective at controlling what your real problem is." And you know what? The same thing applies in the septic area as well. If we can work with these guys… And this is a very local effort in most cases. It's an effort that only an organization like the WQA could do because certainly a small dealer in the middle of Montana is not going to have the resources or even, for that matter, the background to even attack the issue.

WC&P: We should also point out that in December at the National Ground Water Association show, there was a meeting between the WQA's Peter Censky and the people at NOWRA—the National Onsite Water Recycling Association—and a couple of other groups involved in that septic system market. So, apparently, some dialogue has begun there.

Norgaard: Oh, yes. And we have to continue that dialogue. But it boils down to that basic question that you ask, regarding what's the one hot-button issue. It's that. It's the general issue of regulation and the specific issue of brine discharges from our equipment.

WC&P: And making sure the association is available for a small dealer who may not have the resources to address the breadth of that issue in a rural community.

Norgaard: Right.

WC&P: OK. Let's look over and see what points we haven't really hit on yet. We talked about reorganization and your perspective on progress toward the strategic restructuring of the WQA. We already talked about industry consolidation. Everybody's been kind of waiting to see since the announcement's been out that it was up for sale, what was happening with Culligan—when it will have a new owner.

Norgaard: Yup.

WC&P: I would be remiss if I didn't ask: Any new news on that front?

Norgaard: And I would be remiss if I told you. No, where we stand on that is, as you know, our parent company announced that it was going to divest of many of its companies. They've elected to sell Everpure and Culligan businesses separately. The Everpure deal closed on Dec. 31. The Culligan deal is a little bit behind that, but not too far. These things are always very hard to predict from a timing standpoint. And they're impossible to predict from whose going to be our new owner. I just know that, even at this very preliminary stage, there's been a fairly large amount of interest out there in the business.

WC&P: We've already begun to hear rumors and I was sort of hoping that this would be one of those surprises that would pop up before the WQA trade show when I've got a thousand things to write about. We'll be keeping an eye on it and good luck to everyone involved.

Norgaard: Thank you.

WC&P: As far as regulatory issues, one thing we did not touch on was the do-not-call/do-not-fax/do-not-spam legislation. I imagine that would be important to discuss since it affects so many parties in all aspects of the business. Do you want to offer a perspective?

Norgaard: Yes. Let me kind of give you my feedback as opposed to an overall industry perspective, but moreso my perspective, a Culligan perspective—because I really can't speak for the entire industry. The laws are passed, they're implemented and we've just got to comply with them.

WC&P: We should point out probably that the seminar given by Mike Sennett, the WQA counsel, on this subject at Mid-Year, was an extremely well-attended and well-presented overview of what's out there, what the alternatives are and how dealers can begin to proactively proceed on all of these issues—calling, faxing and e-mail marketing.

Norgaard: Yes. I think, again, from a Culligan perspective, my original concern with that whole body of legislation was: "Oh, my goodness, this is really going to impact our business!" You know what? At the end of the day, it really didn't. As a matter of fact, I've heard some what I'd call anecdotal evidence from the field that what this has done has increased our call-in volume because my competition isn't calling these people anymore, so they're calling out. They're calling us. My concern switched from some industry-changing, global problem to just to make darn sure right now that we are in compliance with the law. We've got—and I know a number of other dealers in the industry have got—these automated, if you will, call lists that don't even allow you to make a call to someone who is on the Do-Not-Call List, for example. And I think we're in pretty good shape from a compliance standpoint and it really has not impacted our business to the magnitude that I expected.

WC&P: We'll see how dealers handle it as the process continues to unwind.

Norgaard: Yes.

WC&P: One of the other things I had down here—and I put it in italics—was ethics. In the last year, we've seen one big, sort of national network TV "exposé" that painted the industry poorly and rather broadly—many felt unfairly—in terms of sales tactics. We've seen a couple of minor news events on similar reports in newspapers and local TV stations since then. But these illustrate the continuing fight that we as an industry have to protect and expand the professionalism of the water treatment dealer. Culligan came off rather well in that initial turn of events, but I wanted to find out your view on what that implies for the industry.

Norgaard: Well, I think what it implies for the industry is that we, as an industry, have to be very cognizant of the ethics of the way we sell our products, the ethics of the way we operate our businesses, etc. The WQA role in that is really through the certification courses and classes and whatnot that we offer right now. And obviously, the individual companies role is also a very important piece of that. What do you require as a company? I don't care who you are, but if you have a direct-selling organization, what do you do to make sure your company is in compliance.

WC&P: In terms of product certification, this was a question from one of our Technical Review Committee members looking at the expansion in recent years of WQA lab services and its function as an association. With this rapid expansion, he wanted to know if it meant a shift in the WQA's priorities.

Norgaard: I'm sorry. What's the question?

WC&P: Is the thrust of the WQA shifting in terms of its function as an association and its function as a certification agency?

Norgaard: No, I would say not. I can tell you that we obviously do some certification through the WQA as well as with some other organizations. I've found the WQA to be pretty darn good to work with—a very high level of service and very responsive and just very good to work with. That's not to say they're not very tight, very strict; but, if you've got an issue, they'll call you up and talk to you about it. They'll say, "OK, what are you going to do about it," as opposed to waiting for three months and saying, "Well, we've completed our testing and found that there's something wrong with just the initial piece of it." You see what I'm saying? I think WQA can do a very good job with that.

WC&P: Both those past two questions sort of tie into the demands that have been made on the industry since 9/11. At a point where the economy was slipping, it seemed as if this demand kind of boosted the industry. It was not something that was marketed to, but revolved around just the natural fears that people have of bioterrorism prompted a lot more interest. And it would seem there were definite areas of our industry that have benefited. Do you have any comment on that and what the implications for the future are?

Norgaard: The implication for the future really ties back to something I said up front here. The awareness that people have for their water, particularly their drinking water, has never been higher. Yes, I think there are a lot of things that have led to that. A lot of the concerns and some of the paranoia out there about terrorism and bioterrorism and 9/11 and everything else obviously fuels that. I think we have a distinct obligation as an industry not to use that as fuel and not to propagate that. And I don't think that we've done that at all. There's certainly no way we're going to start doing that either. I would add, though, having said that, I think as an industry—as you look at what the demands of the consumer—from a softening standpoint, we've been at this long enough to pretty much understand this; and from a drinking water standpoint, I think there's going to be a whole lot more opportunity for us to help educate people and take care of their concerns.

WC&P: I imagine you could throw in arsenic and radium and perchlorate and MTBE as well…

Norgaard: Yes. You look at the whole issue of purification as one point, the issue of contaminant removal as another. Those two alone are still huge potential opportunities for this industry and everybody in it to make a difference in people’s lives.

WC&P: Regardless of the other threats that might be out there.

Norgaard: Yes.

WC&P: That pretty much wraps up my key questions. What I'd like to do now is just get some personal background on you to flesh the rest of this out. Where were you born?

Norgaard: I was born in Lakeville, Minn.

WC&P: How old are you?

Norgaard: I am 47.

WC&P: Where did you grow up?

Norgaard: I grew up in Lakeville.

WC&P: Sometimes people move about, which is why I asked that. Do you have any college degrees?

Norgaard: I have an undergraduate degree in physics and science and a graduate degree in chemical and environmental engineering from the University of Minnesota.

WC&P: All of them are from the University of Minnesota?

Norgaard: My undergraduate degree is from Gustavus Adolphus College.

WC&P: That is where?

Norgaard: It's in St. Peter, Minnesota.

WC&P: When did you start at Culligan?

Norgaard: We did kind of what I call a soft transition back in 1999. I say "soft transition" because before that I was at USFilter. I got a call from Dick Heckmann who asked, "Hey, would you come on over to Northbrook and help out with Culligan?"

WC&P: What you did at USFilter?

Norgaard: At USFilter, I was vice president and general manager of what we called the Midwest Region. Literally, we did everything from hazardous waste on one side of the extreme to ultrapure process water on the other side. It was very broad-based, a whole lot of different experience working with branches and service centers, working with manufacturing facilities, etc., etc.

WC&P: How long had you been with USFilter?

Norgaard: USFilter bought the company that I'd started in Minneapolis, Hazardous Waste & Recovery Plant, in 1991. So, I was officially with USFilter in 1991. Prior to that, I'd built this recovery plant up in Minnesota throughout the early- to mid-'80s.

WC&P: So you got on board just as USFilter was reorganized under Dick Heckmann?

Norgaard: Yes.

WC&P: At Culligan, your title is now?

Norgaard: Executive vice president and general manager. We added one word to it.

WC&P: Did you work at any other companies that you wanted to mention?

Norgaard: Yes, I worked as a consultant at a place called Pace Analytical up in Minneapolis.

WC&P: That's still around. It just bought Spectrum Labs.

Norgaard: Yes.

WC&P: You're married?

Norgaard: Yes sir.

WC&P: Your wife's name would be?

Norgaard: Janine.

WC&P: You have kids?

Norgaard: Four of them.

WC&P: Boys? Girls?

Norgaard: Two and two.

WC&P: What sort of age spread?

Norgaard: The age spread is 9-16.

WC&P: Ooo, that fun phase.

Norgaard: She just got her license.

WC&P: How's your insurance?

Norgaard: Don't even go there with me.

WC&P: OK. Mine's not even 2 yet, so I've got a while to go still.

Norgaard: I have to admit I wasn't ready for this license thing.

WC&P: I can only imagine I'll feel the same way in about a decade or so. I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us and sharing a little bit about yourself and your goals as incoming WQA president with WC&P's readers. We appreciate it and I'm sure they do.

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