By: Karen Frost, VP Economic Development at The Water Council


As the VP of Economic Development, one of the best parts of my job is matching potential new global partners with opportunities that help them achieve their goals, whether it’s finding new innovations, forming partnerships or expanding their market reach. And our efforts in 2019 have led to a rewarding year.

A look in the REAR VIEW mirror

I don’t (yet!) have a car that does the driving and navigation for me, so that means checking both the traffic ahead and the activity behind and beside me are critical to maintain the best driving habits.

With the busy pace of work life, it is sometimes easy to just check on the traffic ahead and not check the side and rear view mirrors.

As I ‘check the rear view mirror’ and consider 2019, I am pleased not only with the activity, but the very tangible and positive impact of our efforts for the companies we worked with.

Supporting a globally connected water hub

As one highlight of our global water network at work, following WEFTEC in late September we hosted a delegation of 22 European companies, three European water technology cluster partners and two European university guests for a two-day experiential visit of Milwaukee’s water technology cluster.

We prepared for months and assembled an immersive agenda of site visits and meetings, and anchored by a series of round table meetings, showcasing the best of our state, regional and local partners, academia, members and resources to drive economic development through business opportunities.

Our guests shared how meaningful and informational the visit was and how positively their opinion of Milwaukee and our water tech ecosystem was. But what is even better is the continued nurturing of those relationships following the event.

We continue to be connected with those companies, making further introductions and connections, exploring their needs in the U.S. market, and evaluating how we can support their goals.

Fast forward to late in the year.

As an outcome of those efforts, we’re delighted that one of the delegation participants, a Dutch startup company, Hydraloop, chose Milwaukee for its U.S. soft landing home base!

Hydraloop is an impressive startup, both the technology, as well as the passionate co-founder team. Hydraloop will begin their journey in the States with their launch at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and was recently recognized as 2020 Best of Innovation Award for its household water recycling unit.

If you don’t know the company, you will! And coupled with its debut at the CES, they’ll have a stack of business cards with a Milwaukee address and phone number, right here at The Global Water Center.

We are excited for how we will serve as part of their success story and look forward to big things ahead.

Where are you heading?

It is a great vista in the rearview mirror and I look forward to sneaking glances as we chart the path for 2020. So for me that means, eyes back on the road! And if you are looking to expand your global market reach, I’d love to hear how we might help you get further down the water technology road you’re traveling—that’s what we’re here for.