Hi <<First Name>>,
I believe the word veracity sums up how water technology companies and entrepreneurs adapted to an uncertain and challenging year. At the end of the day, it is all about being nimble and flexible to adapt to challenges. I know that certainly applied to us at The Water Council this year, as we did our best to stay focused on creating value for those in our water tech community.
While our work went virtual, it was rewarding, with notable monthly activities in the highlight reel that follows.
In January and February, we were full-steam ahead with planning and coordinating annual events, member activities and strategic partner collaborations.
In March, we quickly shifted to a flurry of pandemic-focused activity, connecting with local, state and strategic partners on COVID-19 relief legislation and sharing a myriad of resources to help support business operations, including state and local government funding and business continuity resources.
In April, we welcomed Badger Meter’s Ken Bockhorst, Milwaukee Water Work’s Karen Dettmer, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Missy Hughes, The Nature Conservancy’s Elizabeth Koehler and Evoqua’s Mark Roehl to our board of directors. With expertise from various aspects of the water cycle as well as business development, they are already making a positive impact to our strategic direction. Also, Karen Frost and Beverly Ferrara embarked on a two-month European Virtual Roadshow for a series of discussions with current and potential new partners and members in the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany.
In May, we got busy recording the usual in-person Water Leaders Summit conversations as Water Sessions podcasts. Every bit as interesting and candid as our usual in-person program, episodes in the 10-session series have been downloaded and/or streamed more than 1,000 times—and counting! And we couldn’t have done it without our generous presenting sponsor, Rexnord, along with additional support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Corvias, Evoqua, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Baird, Kikkoman, Fund for Lake Michigan, Qualified Water Systems and SCS Global.
In June, we teamed up with the German American Chamber of Commerce and German Water Partnership to promote innovation in water technology within our ecosystem. We also announced Pydro and SMART FLOW as the spring Tech Challenge winners, and are just now wrapping up the fall challenge. In total, this year’s two challenges attracted 38 applicants from around the globe with novel solutions to address our sponsors’ technology needs.
In July, we expanded our global water network by forming a new partnership with the European Water Test Network (EWTN) and its project manager, Scottish Water Horizons, to help accelerate the commercialization of new products for our Members. Throughout the year, we also formed strategic partnerships with the Federal Lab Consortium, British Water, U.S. Department of State/U.S. Water Partnership’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations Smart Cities Network initiative and The Alliance for a Climate Resilient Earth project, all with ongoing collaborations. A personal highlight was moderating the first of two U.S. Federal Policy Insights webinars, and again in November. With a total of 400 registrations and a lot of positive feedback from participants, we hope to bring you more ‘insider sessions’ as the Biden administration starts to set its water policy and infrastructure agenda.
In August, Google earned Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) certification for its California campuses in Mountain View and Los Angeles as well as Dublin, Ireland.
In September, we announced American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact as our Presenting Sponsor of BREW 2.0, our next-gen accelerator program to help late-stage water tech startups to continue to scale and grow. In water stewardship news, Nestle North America was the first food and beverage company in the world to achieve Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Platinum certification for its Ontario, California bottling site, the highest attainable certification.
In October, eight Water Council member companies virtually visited The Water Campus in The Netherlands, presented their technology, and benefitted from B2B matchmaking meetings.
In November, we officially opened BREW 2.0 applications. Our 14 industry and cluster judges from the U.S. and Europe are now in the process of interviewing 23 worthy candidates for our revised post-accelerator and I’ll look forward to sharing more about that with you early next year. And Poland Springs, part of Nestlé Waters North America, had all of its factories in Maine achieve certification under the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard.
And all the year through, we welcomed new members, including Hydraloop, Blue World Insights, Baker Tilly, Beckhoff Automation, Tri-lakes Water District, Kohler, and, as I write this message, I am pleased to report that Xylem became our newest member. If you want to make a connection, you can easily do so from our member-to-member Global Directory.
I’m also proud of the AWS team’s achievements this year. As more and more companies look to sustainably manage water resources through a water stewardship approach, the team moved its training virtually to enable water sustainability initiatives to not get shelved too. The team also launched and manage a new AWS Professional Credentialing program, which enables individuals to make credible claims to their water stewardship expertise. And closer to home, a Water Stewardship District was born, with four AWS certified —including recently certified Elementis and Engle Tool & Forge, and two more projected soon in Milwaukee's near-harbor district—demonstrating what can be achieved in a region through redevelopment and water stewardship best-practices.
On a final upbeat note, the impact of COVID-19 served to remind us how water is essential to our lives and intersects with every aspect of our economies. As we close 2020 and look to a brighter future, the challenges that face our water systems will remain and so we must continue to press on with the good fight as water leaders. We look forward to working with you as we turn the page of the calendar and sharing the developing programs and offerings with you in the new year.
Cheers and warm wishes,