Passing On The Force

After 40 years in the industry, the winner of this year’s WWi Top 25 Leaders Listing is continuing to educate and inspire young professionals to join the water industry and make a difference.

Jan 1st, 2016
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By Tom Freyberg, Chief editor

After 40 years in the industry, the winner of this year’s WWi Top 25 Leaders Listing is continuing to educate and inspire young professionals to join the water industry and make a difference.

Editing a magazine about the global water industry, it’s not often that I get to write about personal interests such as the Star Wars film franchise. After all, MBR technology and Chewbacca are very different creatures, even though they both have a lot of fibres!

After six years at the helm of WWi, and with the recent release and success of the new Force Awakens film, I thought enough was enough - we are including a Star Wars themed cover! And with the publication of our annual Top 25 Leaders Listing, it felt like a good opportunity to link George Lucas’s galactic empire (well, now technically Disney’s) and the water industry.

As you can see from our seven page feature (pg 10), it was a busy end to the year compiling this list of the industry’s top thought leaders. The list was compiled by our esteemed advisory committee, with voting from you, the WWi reader, to whittle the number down to a definitive listing of 25 movers and shakers.

What always astounds me is that, despite the global industry servicing billions of people worldwide, it’s actually quite a “small” industry. When you attend a major event in Munich, Amsterdam or Singapore, you will no doubt bump into the same people. Whether delivering formal presentations, or consuming too many free beers at industry functions (not to be combined), it’s usually the same faces. The water sector was once described to me as a lobster net - once you get in there’s no getting out! I now believe this is true.

One person who has had a solid innings in the industry - over 40 years - is the winner of this year’s Top 25 listing, Glenn Daigger. As you can read from our interview (pg 14), he has witnessed a great deal of change over four decades. Yet, he is not ready to retire quietly and spend time raising his golf handicap. Instead, Glenn is sharing his knowledge at the University of Michigan. This is a very credible thing to do. Rather than take the easy option of retiring after a long and fruitful career, he’s passing on the baton of knowledge from years in the field.

Some of the other issue highlights include a look at how Dutch utility Vitens is using social media to achieve a data driven water supply (pg 24) and how water treatment chemicals are now a $12.4 billion business (pg 28). Make sure you also check out our Asia regional spotlight covering Taiwan, Nepal and India (pg 31).

It’s an interesting time of the year. January is almost a hangover month; recovery from overconsumption during the festive period. Rather than get bogged down with the so called “January blues”, let’s instead look forward to another exciting year. Enjoy the issue and a happy belated 2016!

Tom Freyberg, Chief editor

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