The 86th annual Water Environment Federation’s Technology Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) was held October 5-9, 2013 at the McCormick Place in downtown Chicago, IL. WEFTEC is the largest water-technology conference in North America, hosting over 17,000 attendees each year.
If you attended the event, you may have noticed that it was nearly impossible to turn a corner in the over 294,000 square feet of exhibition space without seeing a Water Council member booth. There was high attendance this year from our members with many exhibitors, speaking engagements, and presentations.
Lisa Wojnarowski Downes presented on the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s standard at the WEFTEC Global Center, where attendees received an update on the plan’s progress and implementation goals. Dean Amhaus, President/CEO of The Water Council, participated in a roundtable discussion with other U.S.-based water clusters. Elizabeth Thelen presented the Global Freshwater Seed Accelerator (GFSA) program participants; each were given a chance to tell the audience about their company and their goals for the GFSA program.
The week’s WEFTEC-related activities weren’t limited to Chicago, though, as foreign buyer delegations were clamoring to come north to Milwaukee to see first-hand the water-technology cluster initiative they’ve been hearing and reading about for years. In partnership with The Water Council, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) hosted a buyer delegation in Milwaukee from Asia who were in the region attending WEFTEC 2013. The Water Council also hosted a delegation from the United Kingdom visiting with the British Water Trade group on October 10 and will be hosting a second buyer delegation with Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) on October 15.
Delegations visited local businesses and universities, held roundtable discussions with potential business partners, and participated in programming geared toward creating relationships with Milwaukee area water-technology groups. It was great to see such palpable excitement around what’s happening in Milwaukee with the recent opening of the Global Water Center and the redevelopment of the Reed St. Yards into a Global Water Technology Park.
The Water Council is reminded that the partnerships our members create–whether while attending conferences like WEFTEC or helping to host delegations in Milwaukee–have been integral to making Milwaukee a World Water Hub. As we move forward into new waters, we continue to look for ways to encourage those human interactions.