News Releases

WQA Aquatech USA: A Grand Celebration in the Silver City

Industry professionals learn, mingle & do business
Nearly 3,700 visitors from 56 different countries gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada, last month for WQA Aquatech USA 2015, the annual convention and exposition presented by the Water Quality Association (WQA) and the Amsterdam RAI. Attendees enjoyed the diverse opportunities to gain technical knowledge, network with their peers, learn about WQA's programs and services, see new water treatment products, and gain important business leads during the event, which was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Leno Entertains at Opening General Session
The Opening General Session was highlighted by a memorable performance by comedian and late-night television host Jay Leno. Following a 35-minute stand-up comedy performance that had the crowd in stitches, Leno then sat down for an informal on-stage chat with WQA's 2014-2015 President Sam Karge. WQA Aquatech USA's headline entertainer shared several valuable lessons learned over the course of his long and successful career, which attendees could apply to their businesses.

Awards Given for Contributions to the Industry
WQA awarded key honors to 11 individuals during the Opening General Session. The Hall of Fame Award, given for lifetime dedication and service to the water quality improvement industry, was presented to Denise Urbans, CWS-I, from SHEDWATER, LLC in Glen Mills, PA. TheLifetime Membership Award, given for exemplary service to the Water Quality Association, was presented to W. Gordon Miller, CWS-V, from Cleanwater Corporation of America in Marlette, MI. The Honorary Membership Award, given in recognition of meritorious research, education or exemplary service, was presented to Ryan Harper from Triadvocates, LLC in Phoenix, AZ. The Ray Cross Award, given in recognition of a pioneer spirit and unwavering commitment to the industry, were awarded posthumously to the late Donald E. Heskett of KDF Fluid Treatment, Inc. in Three Rivers, MI, and James A. Horner of ENPRESS LLC in Eastlake, OH. Donald's daughter, Denise Heskett Al-Kharusy and James' son, Douglas Horner each accepted the Ray Cross Award on their father's behalf. The Regents Award, given in recognition of significant contributions at the state or local level on issues affecting the industry, was presented to Ed Robakowski of Kinetico Incorporated in Newbury, OH. The Key Award, for demonstrating the highest qualities of leadership, was presented to Cliff Fasnacht, MWS of Pacific Purification, Inc. in Salinas, CA. Awards of Merit, given in recognition of exceptional service to the water quality improvement industry, were presented to Wayne Bernahl of W. Bernahl Enterprises Ltd. in Elmhurst, IL, and Mike Mormino of ENPRESS LLC in Eastlake, OH. The International Award of Merit went to Rajul Parikh of ALFAA UV in Mumbai, India.

Top Membership Recruiters Honored
Fifteen WQA members were recognized for their recruitment efforts by earning an invitation to the President's Club for 2014-2015. The following individuals earned President's Club status by recruiting three or more new members into the Association within a one-year period:

 

  • Shana Bucki of Aqua Finance, Inc. (Wausau, WI);
  • Alex Duffine of Duff Company (Norristown, PA);
  • Buzz Goldstein, MWS, of Charger Water Treatment Products, LLC (Elgin, IL);
  • Jo Grace (Victoria, TX);
  • Kurt Gruett, CWS, of Water-Right, Inc. (Appleton, WI);
  • CR Hall, MWS, of Wichita Water Conditioning Inc. dba Halls' Culligan Water (Wichita, KS);
  • Douglas C. Haring, MWS, CI, CWR, of Pentair (Milwaukee, WI);
  • Denise Heskett-Al-Kharusy, MWS, of KDF Fluid Treatment, Inc. (Three Rivers, MI);
  • Michael Kinney, MWS, of Portasoft of Morris County (Kenvil, NJ);
  • Kurt Peterson of Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine (WC&P Int'l) (Tucson, AZ);
  • Greg Reyneke, MWS, of Red Fox Advisors (Beaverton, OR);
  • Dar Watts, MWS, of SEAS Capital Partners, LLC (Plymouth, MI);
  • Barbara Wakem of Atlantic Filter Corporation (West Palm Beach, FL);
  • Margaret Wichmann (Lenox, MA); and
  • Chris Wilker of EcoWater Systems LLC (Woodbury, MN).

Special member recruitment awards were presented to President's Club members. CR Hall was recognized with the Golden Circle Award for recruiting fifty new members into WQA over the course of his lifetime. Margaret Wichmann and Chris Wilker were co-winners of the Bill Peltier Award; each of them was responsible for recruiting six new members - the most of any recruiter - during the previous twelve months.

Receiving the 2014-2015 Team Award, the top recruiting team consisted of Denise Heskett-Al-Kharusy (captain), MWS, Shanna Bucki, Kate Cline of Water Quality ProductsMagazine (Arlington Heights, IL), Daina Grace of the Texas Water Quality Association (Victoria, TX), Jo Grace, Cindy Gresham, Susan Kernan of Precision Installation Products, Inc. (Foothill Ranch, CA), Nicole Reisdorfer of Allied Purchasing Company (Mason City, IA), Barbara Wakem and Margaret Wichmann.

Changes Announced to WQA Board
As part of the official business meeting at the Opening General Session, WQA held its annual board election. Eight industry professionals were elected to three-year terms on WQA's Board of Directors at the event. They included:

Director's Name

Membership Class

Company

Cindy Gresham, CWS

Manufacturer/Supplier

Thermax Inc. (Dade City, FL)

Kurt Gruett, CWS

Manufacturer/Supplier

Water-Right, Inc. (Appleton, WI)

Thomas Harrington

Dealer

DS Services of America, Inc. (Atlanta, GA)

Douglas Horner

Manufacturer/Supplier

ENPRESS LLC (Eastlake, OH)

Bill Jefferis, CWS

Commercial/Industrial

Freeman Water Treatment, Inc. (Jackson, MS)

Shannon Murphy

Manufacturer/Supplier

TST Water, LLC (Temecula, CA)

Kelly Parks

Dealer

Aqua-Man Water Conditioning (Boerne, TX)

Bret P. Tangley, MWS

Dealer

Sterling Water, Inc.
dba Culligan of West-Central WI (Eau Claire, WI)

 

The WQA Board of Governors for 2015-2016 was also announced during the Convention. The board includes the following members:

President

Bret P. Tangley, MWS

Sterling Water, Inc.
dba Culligan of West-Central WI (Eau Claire, WI)

Vice-President

Donald K. McGhee, MWS

Hydro-Systems, Inc. (Harlingen, TX)

Secretary

Chris Wilker

EcoWater Systems, LLC (Woodbury, MN)

Treasurer

Robert Maisner

Paragon Water Systems (Tampa, FL)

Immediate Past President

Douglas S. "Sam" Karge

Pentair Water Purification (Milwaukee, WI)

Governor-at-Large

Cindy Gresham, CWS

Thermax, Inc. (Dade City, FL)

Governor-at-Large

Thomas Harrington

DS Services of America, Inc. (Atlanta, GA)

Governor-at-Large

Stephen Ver Strat

Access Business Group LLC (Ada, MI)

 

WQA Aquatech USA thanks the many sponsors who made this year's event possible.

Mark your calendar for next year's show, which will take place March 14-17, 2016, in Nashville, TN!

  • WQA Aquatech USA: A Grand Celebration in the Silver City
    The exposition hall was abuzz with activity throughout the two-day show.
  • WQA Aquatech USA: A Grand Celebration in the Silver City
    WQA Interim Executive Director David Westman and Deputy Executive Director Pauli Undesser discussed the state of the Association.
  • WQA Aquatech USA: A Grand Celebration in the Silver City
    Numerous attendees took advantage of the opportunity to "test drive" WQA's Modular Education Program.
  • WQA Aquatech USA: A Grand Celebration in the Silver City
    Attendees mingled at the WQA Aquatech USA Welcome Reception, which was held at the exclusive XS Nightclub.
  • WQA Aquatech USA: A Grand Celebration in the Silver City
    Chris Wilker and Margaret Wichmann were co-winners of the Bill Peltier Award as WQA's top membership recruiters for 2014-2015.
  • WQA Aquatech USA: A Grand Celebration in the Silver City
    Seven industry leaders presented generous donations to the WQRF Capital Campaign during the Opening General Session.
  • WQA Aquatech USA: A Grand Celebration in the Silver City
    Former U.S. House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt visits with Frank DeSilva, chairman of WQA's Government Affairs Committee.
  • WQA Aquatech USA: A Grand Celebration in the Silver City
    2015 WQA Hall of Fame inductee Denise Urbans addresses her peers at the Opening General Session.