Strengthening global connections

By Dean Amhaus, President & CEO

Milwaukee’s World Water Hub is not something that was created by The Water Council. It developed organically over several decades through the businesses, utilities and universities that became recognized as global water leaders.

What The Water Council did was coalesce the separate parts of the hub into a collaborative and coordinated initiative with an aim of promoting our strengths to the rest of the world. As we move into our 15th anniversary, The Water Council is pleased to call Milwaukee our home. We are fortunate to be in the center of one of the world’s most mature water technology clusters.

But we are also proud of our international connections that help us uncover water technology gems across the world and connect them to our hub. We represent the U.S. water tech industry in an array of partnerships and projects around the globe.

Our latest project is a joint video produced by the Netherlands’ Water Alliance about how to enter the U.S. market. We are so pleased with the result, which features not just The Water Council but also one of our members and BREW participants, Aquacycl. Watch the trailer below or check out the full video here.

This film follows on the heels of our successful international business development event in Milwaukee. That week, we announced new leases at our headquarters for Canadian company PipeSonic and French company ECT. Also that week, French company Redberry SAS, one of our BREW 2.0 companies, set up a pilot demonstration at Milwaukee Water Works as it takes its first steps in the U.S. marketplace.

These are just a few examples of our recent international work. Of course, it helps to have our European representative, Beverley Ferrara, based in Northern Ireland. Beverley spoke at Aquatech Amsterdam last week and will present later this month at the All Ireland Water & Wastewater Expo. Beverley is a key player in helping our overseas members expand in the U.S. and vice versa. If you operate in Europe, I encourage you to connect with her as she will be invaluable in charting your course in the U.S.

People in business attire sit in chairs on a stage under a screen with their names and titles.
Beverley Ferrara (second from right) recently spoke on a panel at Aquatech Amsterdam.

opportunities in europe

In fact, we have an opportunity for companies to access opportunities with our newest European partner, WIN Water in Sweden. WIN Water is an open innovation marketplace and business network that is hosting three ongoing challenges. Several companies have already found demo customers through their initiatives.

Contact Beverley to learn more.

NSF Resiliency Engine

Closer to home, our Resiliency Innovation Engine is picking up steam. This project, funded by a development award from the National Science Foundation, aims to establish an economic engine in eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois focused on water and energy resiliency for manufacturers and utilities.

Now that we’ve hosted informational sessions around our geographic region, we are establishing work groups and meeting with specific sectors such as manufacturing, university research and more. We’ve had some exciting developments that I am eager to share with you when the time is right.

We have also firmed up our engine leadership team, an impressive group of industry, nonprofit and university professionals. Check out their bios here. Finally, make sure to sign up for our engine mailing list to stay up to date on our work.

Innovation update

It’s a busy time for our innovation programming. We just closed the latest round of our Tech Challenge. We received a record number of submissions for our topics of PFAS detection and destruction and structural analysis of pressurized pipes. Next, our sponsors – A. O. Smith Corporation, Badger Meter and Watts Water Technologies – will analyze the results and select the finalists to give their presentations.

We also recently closed a request for information on behalf of member Green Lake Association (GLA) for phosphorus overloading solutions. GLA will now go through its own process of sifting through the submissions with the help of our technical adviser, Barry Liner.

This month we also opened applications for our BREW 2.0 Post-Accelerator. This program for late-stage water technology startups includes targeted virtual training and a week of in-person training and events in Milwaukee. It culminates in an in-person and virtual global pitch event in Milwaukee.

I’ve been so impressed with our 2023 BREW companies, and I’m expecting another strong global cohort in 2024. Amazingly, within a week of opening the call for our 2024 cohort, two companies have already submitted applications. Please share this information far and wide to grow our pipeline. We are grateful to BREW sponsors Beckhoff Automation, Xylem and Thales Water Advisors.

water stewardship

We are excited to announce a new WAVE participant, Samuel, Son & Co. The company is the largest family-owned processor and distributor of metal products and solutions with more than 80 locations across Canada, U.S. and Mexico. By joining WAVE, Samuel is taking the first step toward improving its water stewardship performance and reporting across the entire enterprise.

Our vice president of water stewardship, Matt Howard, has been on the road – or should I say in the sky – much of the last month. He has spoken about water stewardship and WAVE for the American Chemistry Council; the National Association for Environmental, Health & Safety, and Sustainability Management; and Rockwell Automation’s Automation Fair. Later this month, he will join our vice president of economic development and innovation, Karen Frost, at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers Annual Conference.


I’m humble and grateful to tell you about a couple of recognitions I’ve received recently. Last month, I was named a Wisconsin Titan 100, recognizing Wisconsin’s 100 top CEOs and C-suite executives. And later this month, I will accept the Regional Spirit Award from BizTimes, a Milwaukee business publication, at its annual Innovation + Entrepreneurship Forum. I couldn’t be in the position I’m in today without the tremendous support of the Milwaukee community and our hardworking staff.

With all that’s going on at The Water Council these days, it behooves you to become a member if you aren’t already. Now is the perfect time to join just in time for 2024. Contact Laura Mullen, member engagement manager, to learn more about the benefits of membership in the hub Where Water Works.

member news & opportunities

Milwaukee skyline along the Milwaukee River