By Beverley Ferrara, European Representative
Sometimes looking back is the best way to envision the future.
I was reminded of this during a recent conversation with Xavier Amores, cluster manager at the Catalan Water Partnership (CWP). He reminded us that it was almost time to renew our partnership, which was signed in Chicago back in 2018.
You never know
Our shared goal back then was purposely broad: to exchange ideas, collaborate on joint initiatives and open new doors between the members of our two organizations to advance innovation and business opportunities.
At the time, I don’t believe either of us could have imagined how our relationship would flourish. The Catalan group’s open and friendly approach has resulted in a variety of new relationships between their members and members of The Water Council’s ecosystem.
Looking back, I am reminded of the value of what we can accomplish when we work together. A few personal highlights from the CWP/TWC history include:
Meeting new people
Barcelona is only a short flight from Ireland and in the pre-pandemic world, I was able to meet in person with the CWP team and their members who were interested in working with TWC. It was so energizing to meet and learn from the people at these companies, from fast-growing artificial intelligence start-ups working in the area of smart infrastructure, like GoToDigital and the CRALEY Group, to ITC Dosing Pumps, which was already active in the US.
Welcoming our first overseas members
Some of the first overseas members of TWC were from—you guessed it—CWP: SIGMA DAF Clarifiers and Condorchem Envitech. My Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. colleague, Francisco Carrillo, and I were fortunate to visit both companies on an in-person trade visit just before lockdown.
Realizing the first Catalan-Wisconsin partnership
SIGMA DAF took it a step further by forming a partnership with Wisconsin’s Clearwater Industries. The result? Significant gains for both parties, including new product offerings, expansion into new markets and a value proposition greater than the sum of its parts. Not surprisingly, the relationship was formed and nurtured over the course of several months by two stellar individuals: Joan Ibanez of SIGMA DAF and Karen Frost of The Water Council. In the end, a win for all.
Enabling the post-WEFTEC visit to Milwaukee
In 2019, which already seems like a long time ago, we welcomed more than 30 guests from water organizations in Europe to Milwaukee for our first post-WEFTEC insight-sharing event. More than a third were CWP members. In addition to members of the business community, we were excited to also welcome representatives from the University of Girona and Eurecat Technology Center.
Conducting cultural exchange/virtual market visits
Earlier this year we introduced eight TWC members to companies from the CWP. Even though this was a virtual market visit, it was no less engaging. I loved seeing the new connections being made right as attendees were introducing their solutions and offering insights into each other’s markets:
“The virtual visit was great! The opportunity for mutual technology exchange has opened doors for continued discussions with a number of Catalan companies, and I’d like to pass on a big thank you to TWC and CWP for the opportunity to participate!”
–Bryan Johnson, Principal, Energy Tech Innovations (ETI), LLC.
It all comes down to facilitating connections. But sometimes we also bond with people – as the TWC team has done with Xavier, Eric and Lucia of the CWP. If the past is any indication of the future, we are confident of accomplishing great things. We are fortunate to consider them friends as well as colleagues.