Power in Numbers Benefits Water Market

Our company, Hydro International, has been a member of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) for seven years now; a brief period of time compared to many of the other premier companies that encompass its membership.

By Brian Harrell

Our company, Hydro International, has been a member of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) for seven years now; a brief period of time compared to many of the other premier companies that encompass its membership. During this time, I have often been asked why we continue to pay what some might consider "higher than normal" association fees to remain part of WWEMA.

Well, there is no simple answer to that question. In fact, I do not believe there is enough room in this article to describe all the reasons why we continue to be members of WWEMA. I will, however, try to explain a few of the more important ones like:

Power - There is power in numbers. WWEMA and its membership represent the leading companies serving the water, wastewater and stormwater industry. These companies collectively join forces to affect positive changes in the marketplace, including promoting cutting-edge technologies, advocating value-based procurement policies and defending against unfair trade practices.

Did you know that WWEMA is an association that has been around for over 100 years? Or that collectively its members generate multiple billions of dollars in sales every year in the industry? Or the fact that WWEMA was a critical component in getting WEFTEC launched and turned into what it is today? There is not a group, association, politician, or federal agency engaged in our industry who doesn't know what WWEMA is and what it stands for.

Information - WWEMA offers important, timely information about the water, wastewater and stormwater market to all of its members on Water Security, Infrastructure Financing, Regulatory Rulemaking, Global Competitiveness, Value-Base Procurement, Professional Development and Market Intelligence. The WWEMA Washington Analysis newsletter provides comprehensive reporting on federal, state and international news affecting companies serving the water, wastewater, and stormwater industry. E-Alerts keep us posted about marketing opportunities and other time-sensitive information useful in our sales efforts. Its committees and councils provide us with access to intelligence about domestic and international market trends and knowledge about how to be more effective in our daily operations.

Access - We get access to key policy makers from federal, state and local governments. These individuals are responsible for establishing the laws and regulations that will dictate the future demand for our products and services as well as the procurement rules that will affect our ability to sell quality equipment. The WWEMA Washington Forum offers an excellent opportunity to make professional and personal connections with our peers, attend multiple committee meetings to receive the latest information on regulations and laws passing through Congress, and listen to presentations from some of the top officials from many governmental bodies, including Commerce, EPA, Agriculture, State Department and the White House. The Annual Meeting offers opportunities to network with senior executives throughout the industry, engineering firms, sales representatives and distributors. It is a great time to build lasting relationship with people in our industry.

Success - We all know that the water, wastewater, and stormwater industry is unique and ever changing. It is a dominantly regulatory driven market and often faces increasingly stringent standards. Throw in the challenge of population growth, enhanced security, depleting water supplies, an aging infrastructure, and a slowed economy and the complexity of the market increases ten-fold. Companies serving this industry must understand their customers' ever evolving needs and provide a value-based product that meets those needs. WWEMA offers the tools and network base to help our company comprehend this challenge and become more successful.

Many of you may recall during the time leading up to enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that obtaining accurate information regarding its status and contents was difficult to come by. As members of WWEMA, we saw it differently. Dawn Kristof Champney, President of WWEMA, was often consulted upon or participated in meetings with congressional representatives and federal agency personnel to provide perspective on how this law might impact companies serving the water, wastewater, and stormwater industry. We received weekly - sometimes daily - updates on funding allocations and project opportunities, as well as guidance on procurement requirements associated with use of ARRA funds. On many occasions, top level management of EPA and USDA made presentations at WWEMA meetings and enlisted our input. Since we were given direct access to those responsible for administering this law, we were better equipped to aid our customers through the process and won projects.

If just one of these characteristics of WWEMA sounds like something that would benefit your business, I highly suggest you check out their website, www.WWema.org, or pick up the phone and give WWEMA a call (703-444-1777). You cannot put a price on the value of WWEMA and the knowledge you will gain from being a member. WW


About the Author: Brian Harrell, Financial Manager, Hydro International Wastewater Division, serves on WWEMA's Board of Directors.

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