Strengthening Our Mission in the New Year

By Dean Amhaus, President & CEO

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a restful holiday with family and friends because we are jumping right into 2023.

First off, I am thrilled to welcome three new directors to our Board: Scott Clawson, chairman and CEO of Culligan International; Stephen B. Guy, managing director of Baird Global Investment Banking; and Kim Marotta, global vice president of environmental sustainability at Beam Suntory.

Not only do these new directors bring valuable personal and professional experience to our Board, but they also represent our growing geographic and topical reach. Clawson and Marotta are based in the Chicago area, expanding our reach in the Great Lakes region.

We are happy to be enhancing our relationship with Culligan, a leading provider of water softening and filtration products, and Beam Suntory, a global spirits company known for its strong water stewardship efforts. Guy is the second Baird representative to join our board, and we appreciate his financial expertise as we position our stewardship work within the growing ESG (environmental, social and governance) reporting movement.

Headshots of Scott Clawson, Culligan International; Stephen B. Guy, Baird Global Investment Banking; and Kim Marotta, Beam Suntory

Speaking of ESG, this is your last week to complete the awareness survey being conducted by the Water Environment Federation’s ESG Accelerator. Thanks for your help with this important project.

Innovation Update

Last week we announced the winners of our fall 2022 Tech Challenge. The challenge’s sponsors, A. O. Smith, Badger Meter and Watts Water Technologies, chose the challenges and selected the winners to receive $10,000 prizes:

It was a strong round with applications from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Congrats to the winners and watch for our spring challenge in a couple of months.

We are also hard at work reviewing applications for this year’s BREW 2.0 Post-Accelerator. These are late-stage, market-ready companies looking to build connections and grow capacity. We expect to send cohort invitations in March. Once again, we were extremely pleased with the global reach as we had applications from 12 countries plus the United States. I can’t wait to see what innovations come out of the 2023 group.

This year, we’re excited to announce a new BREW 2.0 sponsor, Xylem. I know Xylem will be a valuable partner in this program. We are also grateful to continuing sponsors Beckhoff Automation and Thales Water Advisors.

Water Stewardship

The buzz is growing surrounding our water stewardship work, particularly WAVE, our corporate water stewardship program. Watch your email and social media for more announcements soon about additional companies and organizations that are incorporating WAVE into their sustainability programs to reduce material risks associated with water.

We are enthusiastic about two collaborations that are continuing in 2023. We are entering our third year of work with the American Chemistry Council, continuing our partnership to help the sector address shared water challenges and opportunities.

We also continue to grow our relationship with the Council of the Great Lakes Region through Great Lakes WISE, or Water Innovation and Stewardship Exchange. This exchange serves as a business-led, peer-to-peer forum for advancing water stewardship best practices, effective water sustainability policies, and collective action projects that address regional water challenges and opportunities across key sectors in the Great Lakes.

We are planning an exclusive WISE/WAVE roundtable event on March 28 in Chicago for key regional stakeholders from the private, public and nonprofit sectors. We are also exploring how we might expand this peer-to-peer resource beyond the Great Lakes. Drop me a message or contact Lora Shrake at Council of the Great Lakes Region to learn more about how your company or organization might be able to tap into this important network in the future.

View of Chicago skyline at sunset with Lake Michigan in front

new members

I’m pleased to welcome our first new member of 2023, Ferr-Tech of the Netherlands. We continue to grow our international membership along with our international influence as a leader in water innovation and stewardship.

We hope to see many of our members, supporters and those concerned about water at our Water Leaders Summit happening Sept. 13 and 14, 2023, in Milwaukee. Stay tuned for more details!

Member News & Opportunities

Picture of a snowy walk along Lake Michigan at sunrise with Milwaukee skyline in the background
Photo by Peter Zuzga