Founded in 1998 in Montclair, CA, Vertex Water Products has grown to serve independent dealers in the water treatment industry throughout North America, from Canada to Mexico. The family-owned company designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of residential and light commercial RO systems, POU water dispensers and water conditioning systems.
Vertex Founder Hank Voznick has a background in chemical engineering and his son, Hal, is trained as a mechanical engineer. “That makes us a potent product development team. We create innovative and high-quality products that bring value to our customers,” says company spokesman Hal Voznick. The Vertex motto is: ‘Pure water for everyone.’
“I got involved in the water industry while working as a project manager at a major US pump manufacturer. While there, I learned the marketing and technical intricacies of the residential water treatment industry,” he said. “When I joined Vertex, I used what I had learned to help my father develop the business and really make it sustainable. It was still a pretty small operation at that time, with only four or five employees, including my father (who is President and CEO) and my brother Steve, who is now VP of Sales. We filled some other key positions in subsequent years: my brother Dan joined to manage the marketing and promotion of our products and industry veteran John Miller became our National Sales Manager. My children also are a part of Vertex’s growth, helping out whenever possible doing a variety of tasks, from working on the assembly line to running system tests.” In addition to ownership and executive management, Vertex employs a full staff of production and support personnel who handle daily operations throughout the company.
The company was established 20 years ago in the small town of Montclair in San Bernardino County. The company’s Founder decided to run for a seat on the Upper San Gabriel Water Board. “After reading all the reports—mostly attempting to show that municipal systems must provide potable-quality water—he learned that only one percent of the delivered water was used for drinking and cooking,” Voznick recalled. “Examining the available technology, my dad realized that the most effective way to treat that one percent of water that is actually consumed would be to filter it at the point of use using RO technology and getting it to a much higher standard than any city water in the bargain. He set out to design a small and economical POU RO filtration system specifically to fit easily under a kitchen sink and created the Vertex PureWaterMachine.”
Capacity to customize
“The first Vertex sales office was small, so the Pure WaterMachine was built for us by a local supplier,” Voznick said. “Vertex soon moved to a larger 1,500-square-foot facility and began to manufacture the PureWaterMachine in-house. This gave us the capacity to customize our RO systems for our customers and to develop the higher flowrate systems for light commercial use. When I started at the company, I immediately submitted the four- and five-stage PureWaterMachine systems for Gold Seal certification by WQA. We now have 10 systems that are Platinum Seal-certified and more are planned for the future.
“Two of our recent developments are the PureChill line of PureWaterCoolers, two-temperature water dispensers that chill the water on demand and eliminate the need for an open reservoir for cold-water storage, and the GreenMachine, a four-stage under-sink RO system that reduces wastewater to the drain by up to 50 percent. It uses high-performance filter media manufactured to significantly reduce greenhouse gases, eliminating the need for bottled water and its negative environmental impact,” Voznick said.
“I also moved quickly to solidify our OEM parts and component suppliers, expand our manufacturing facility (now 15,000 square feet) and develop the quality-control procedures needed to ensure the consistency of our products. To remain competitive in the marketplace, many of our basic components are made in Taiwan. We avoid the problem of poor quality control often seen in Asian products and the uncertain outcome of just ‘moving boxes,’ by inspecting incoming shipments, building or assembling Vertex systems and testing our products before they leave the factory. With what we call our ‘menu-based’ program, we build each order on demand to meet the customer’s needs.
“The next and most significant addition to our product offerings was the introduction of our PureWaterCooler line of POU bottleless water dispensers. We leveraged our expertise in water treatment and knowledge of the marketplace to develop a line of POU dispensers and focused on the growing business-to-business sector. We have steadily been adding models to that line and now have 15 different PureWaterCoolers to offer our customers—everything from economical countertop models to high-end, floor-standing units with ice dispensers.”
Vertex currently offers these main product lines:
• PureWaterMachine: residential and light commercial RO systems, including 10 platinum-certified models
• PureWaterCooler: 19 models of bottleless and bottled water dispensers that include two- and three-temperature models
• PureWaterConditioner: POE and POU water conditioner systems that reduce hard-water scaling using traditional ion-exchange water softeners, as well as physical water treatment and electronic systems that need no chemicals and produce no brine discharge
No dealer fees
Voznick said: “With the growth of our PureWaterCooler line of bottleless water dispensers, we provide equipment to independent and regional beverage service providers throughout the US. With our wealth of water treatment products and experience we are uniquely positioned to help these operators with both cooler equipment and water filtration and conditioning solutions. And at Vertex there are no minimum orders, premiums or dealer fees.
“We make products whose quality is consistent and can always be depended on. All models have been field-tested for durability and where possible are factory-tested before being shipped. All our products come with a quality guarantee and are backed by service support from a dedicated staff of expert technicians for the life of the product. Replacement parts and service manuals are available for our customers to service and support the product. We are members of WQA and have our PureWaterMachines tested and certified on a regular basis. All of our products are designed to meet those same high standards and they receive the same quality control before they leave the factory.
“We have weathered the recession pretty well thanks to our loyal client base. They’ve been loyal to us because we held our prices, increased our service and have a great product,” Voznick said. “And based on interviews with our top 20 dealers, we believe that business will improve going forward. We continue to develop the best water treatment equipment possible using the latest technologies available.”
A personal challenge
Over the past year, Voznick added another challenge to his busy life. He and his wife Carol committed to train for and summit California’s Mount Whitney. At 14,494 feet, this is the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states. The first challenge was getting a permit. “This is a very popular hike and requires a permit from the US Forest Service to enter the Whitney Zone,” Voznick said. “The permit is acquired by a lottery, which takes place in March each year. The total number of permits issued per day is 60 for backpack campers and 100 for day hikers. The success rate in winning the lottery is about 25 percent (or one in four).
“Carol and I trained for this adventure for one year to make sure we were in shape, could handle the thin air at the high altitude and to make sure our gear worked properly. We typically did a hike every weekend in our local mountains. Fortunately southern California has several high peaks over 10,000 feet on which we could train.
“The distance from the trailhead at the Whitney Portal to the peak is 11 miles. Elevation gain is 6,500 feet. We did the trip over three days. The first day we hiked six miles to Trail Camp and camped there for the night. The temperatures were in the low 30s. The second day we hiked five miles to the summit. We returned to Trail Camp for another night, then descended six miles back to the trailhead. Our daughter and her husband also accompanied us on the climb.” On September 25, they all successfully summited Mount Whitney. This challenge further illustrated Voznick’s zeal for success and commitment to positive outcomes.
Voznick believes the future is bright for this industry. “The need for POU water filtration will continue to increase as people become more aware of existing water contamination through the media and elsewhere. For the near term, bottled water will continue to be an overused method for getting clean water, even as POU water filtration in homes and offices increases. There are now several different technologies that can be used to reduce hard-water scaling besides a traditional ion-exchange softener with its brine discharge. These will gain more market share as the understanding of how they work and their reliability becomes more widely known.”