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February 2002: Volume 44, Number 2

WQA President -- The Year in Review
by C.R. Hall

As I reflect on my year as president of the Water Quality Association, I can only smile. Ill definitely remember this experience for the rest of my life. The interesting discussions and hospitality of friends, both new and old, have been wonderful! I want to thank all of you for allowing me to hold this office.

As I said when the year began, my overriding goal was to maintain WQAs relevance. As the world and industry change, WQA must continue to adapt to needs of the organizations members. I feel WQA has succeeded with that. Here are some of the years highlights:

* Focusing on the associations core: We needed to make sure staff, management and leadership remembered who remains WQAs primary customer -- dealers and companies supplying them. I understand our need to change and adapt, but feel we did a good job of obliging the majority of our membership.

* Upgrading state and regional associations: I visited nearly every state and regional meeting this year, and came away amazed about the diversity of structures and programs offered by these groups. In the future, I hope WQA can assist these associations in fulfilling their members needs. When asked, WQA will help with speakers, membership prospect lists, venues, technical training and lobbying. And I trust the good relationship between the state/regional associations and WQA will continue.

* Acceptance of our products as alternatives to central treatment plants: WQA has worked diligently to make sure were at the table when options are reviewed for treating a communitys water. My June trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with several U.S. senators is an example of inroads weve made in legitimizing our products and services for community water treatment. The USEPA and American Water Works Research Foundation are currently undertaking studies (in concert with WQA) to prove the efficacy of point-of-use treatment as a solution to water contamination.

* California brine discharge response: The formation of a WQA Task Force composed of industry leaders and stakeholders happened with this associations leadership. This group will make the water treatment industrys views loud and clear to those who try to ban our products.

* Internal changes at WQA: There have been a few moves at WQA to ensure were responding to members needs:
-- Industry education and certification programs were taken on the road by WQA and will be seen in more places in 2002.
-- Its hoped the Water Quality Society (www.waterqualitysociety.org) will eventually bring end-users of our products and association members together in a mutually beneficial forum.
-- The WQA website (www.wqa.org) was upgraded to better serve members.

The low point of my year at WQA was the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and subsequent cancellation of the Mid-Year meeting in Sedona, Ariz. The sense of community I was hoping to promote would have been helpful during that trying time, but the correct decision was made not to travel that week.

In closing, I want to encourage all of you to join WQA and become involved with your industry. The value I receive in contacts and education more than pay for the cost of membership. I look forward to seeing all of you March 5-9 in New Orleans for the annual WQA Convention and Exhibition!