By Florida Water Quality Association
This year’s theme, Oceans of Opportunity, lived up to its name at the 2016 Florida Water Quality Association’s Annual Convention, held June 9-11 at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, FL. The Rusty Shoenthaler Annual Golf Tournament kicked off the festivities with over 40 golfers enjoying the course at Hawk’s Landing. Food, drinks and fellowship created a festive and fun environment at the welcome reception luau at Bahama Breeze, hosted by Florida OEMs (Aqua Wholesale, Atlantic Filter Corporation, Action Manufacturing, Charger Water, Coast Pump/Water-Right, FSHS, Precision Installation Products, Inc., Nelsen Corporation and Water Treatment Warehouse). Aqua Finance provided free transportation to and from the resort for the reception. Doug Haring (Clack Corporation) was the convention emcee.
Membership of the FWQA is up 33 percent over last year, which is also reflected in the large attendance at the convention. The success of the convention is possible with the support of the convention sponsors: Clack, Pentair and Waterite (Platinum); Aqua Finance and Foundation Finance (Gold) and WATTS (Bronze).
Throughout the day, attendees were able to browse 40 exhibits, learning about the latest technologies and meeting the vendors. Kelly Thompson started the day with a presentation on WQA’s MEP Program as well as a talk on setting realistic goals and how to reach them in work and in life. Chris Lawrence (Viqua) introduced UV technology and explained how to make disinfection part of every sale. Haring provided a most beneficial presentation on the basics of softening and ion exchange. The final education event of the day was a class on the Clack 1.5- and 2-inch, light-commercial control valves and system controllers, also presented by Haring.
FWQA lobbyist David Ramba made his first-ever visit to the convention and spent time explaining to the group the happenings in Tallahassee, how it affects the water quality industry and what he is continuously watching out for on behalf of the FWQA. Funds for the Political Action Committee were running low before the convention and Ramba’s speech showed the importance of financial support. Haring started a fund-raising effort by offering a $100 donation that was quickly followed by many other donations from the membership. By the end of the day, nearly $2,000 had been collected for the Political Action Committee. Kimberly Redden, MWS (WQA), wrapped up the convention on June 11 with an Introduction to Water Quality Association’s Modular Education Program.
The Annual FWQA business meeting provided the membership with a review of the successful year and the good financial standing of the organization. A new slate of officers and Board of Directors for 2016-2017 was announced: Jeremy Greene, President (FSHS, Inc.); Ken Gibson, Treasurer (Absolute Water Management-EcoWater) and Amanda Moore, Secretary (Atlantic Filter Corporation). The balance of the Board of Director members include: Phil Fralix (Icon Technology Systems), Todd Mosteller (Charger Water), Mike Lester (EcoWater-Tampa), Rico Garcia (Action Manufacturing) and Cindy Schieber-Immediate Past President (Stenner Pumps). Several association awards were presented: Phil Fralix received the Hall of Fame Award; Amanda Moore (Atlantic Filter Corp) received the Outstanding Service Award; Julie Payne (Southern Water Services) was honored with the Distinguished Service Award and Kenny Gibson (Absolute Water) was presented the President’s Award. Mae Uren (Aqua Wholesale) was recognized for over 40 years of support of the FWQA by receiving a custom putter award with the inscription: Thanks for Puttin’ Around with the FWQA for over 40 years.
Next year’s convention is scheduled for June 8-10, 2017 at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, FL. Mark your calendars and start planning now!