startup-593296_1280Veolia, The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation announce mentorship program to attract entrepreneurs 

MILWAUKEE,  April 16, 2015 –  Veolia, The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation have reached an agreement to launch a national competition to support entrepreneurship and economic development while fostering sustainability efforts in the field of water.

Veolia and the two organizations agreed to work together to develop a new, two-year program called “POW!  emPowering Opportunities in Water.” The joint program will provide a special opportunity for innovators and social entrepreneurs to fast-track water-related ideas that can improve sustainability and resiliency efforts in the field of water.

Under the parameters of the agreement, Veolia and The Water Council would issue a nationwide challenge to entrepreneurs and startup companies revolving around specific areas of interest. Startups that have the highest likelihood of solving the challenge, will be chosen to enter the program.

“It’s great news that the major international water company, Veolia, selected Milwaukee to house its entrepreneurship program and this further validates that southeastern Wisconsin is the nation’s home of water technology commercialization and entrepreneurship,” Governor Scott Walker said.  “In recent years, Milwaukee has seen a dramatic increase in the number of startups attracted to the Global Water Center, and we are pleased to develop this program with a global leader in optimized resource management.”

Submission guidelines and further details about the “POW!” program will be announced soon.

“This program provides a great opportunity for emerging water-technology companies to take the next step by partnering with The Water Council and the technical experts at Veolia,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “WEDC is very pleased to be part of this partnership.”

“We are thrilled to be working with Veolia on a major entrepreneurship project,” said Dean Amhaus, The Water Council’s President & CEO, who signed a memorandum of understanding in Paris with Laurent Auguste, Veolia’s Senior Executive Vice President Innovation and Markets. “Milwaukee is truly the home of water technology and water entrepreneurship in the US, as seen by the increasing number of startups that have been attracted to the Global Water Center since its opening.”

About Veolia

Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 179,000 employees* worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them. In 2014, the Veolia group supplied 96 million people with drinking water and 60 million people with wastewater service, produced 52 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 31 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of $29.6 billion* in 2014. www.veolia.com

(*) 2014 pro-forma figures, including Dalkia International (100%) and excluding Dalkia France. 

About Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), formed in 2011 as a public-private entity, leads economic development efforts for the state and nurtures business growth and job creation by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. Visit www.inwisconsin.com or follow WEDC on Twitter @InWisconsin to learn more.

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Early Bird Ends TODAY!

Early Bird Registration Closing4
Save $50 dollars by registering today! Early bird registration closes at midnight. Don’t wait! More information on registration and other Water Summit information can be found HERE.

Do you live outside the Milwaukee area? Are you looking to stay in the downtown area for easy access to the Water Summit? Book your hotel NOW! The Rolling Stones have been announced to play at Summerfest the night of June 23rd  and downtown hotel rooms are booking up fast.

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The Water Council Receives Cluster Grant Under the U.S. Commerce Department’s Regional Innovation Strategies Program

The Water Council Receives Cluster Grant Under the U.S. Commerce Department’s Regional Innovation Strategies Program

[Milwaukee, WI] —U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that The Water Council is among the first 26 recipients of the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies program grants. The Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program, which is being run by the Department’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), is a new initiative designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country through three different types of grants: i6 Challenge grants, Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds, and Science and Research Park Development Grants. Secretary Pritzker announced the recipients of the first two funding opportunities today. Recipients of the third grant will be announced in the coming weeks.

“As America’s “Innovation Agency,” the Commerce Department has a key role to play in supporting the innovators and job creators of tomorrow,” said Secretary Pritzker. “We want to ensure that all entrepreneurs have access to the tools they need to move their ideas and inventions from idea to market. The Regional Innovation Strategies Program competition is designed to advance this mission across the United States, strengthening our economy and our global competitiveness.”

The Water Council received $71,625 under the “Cluster Grant for Seed Capital Funds” program.  The grant will help to offset portions of the initial marketing and legal costs associated with the launch of The Water Council’s Water Seed Fund.

“This award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration confirms that southeast Wisconsin is the nation’s leading cluster for the development and commercialization of water technology. The launch of the Water Seed Fund will add the missing piece to the puzzle – technology, entrepreneurs, markets and now capital,” said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council.  “We are very pleased to be able to continue our work with the Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Administration.”

Early access to capital is crucial for startups, but can be difficult to obtain outside traditional startup hubs. Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds provide technical assistance funding to support the feasibility, planning, formation, or launch of cluster-based seed capital funds, which will help improve access to capital for entrepreneurs across the United States. The total amount of funding for the U.S. Cluster Grant for Seed Capital Funds under RIS is nearly $2 million.

For more information about the Regional Innovation Strategies Program, including a full list of the 2014 grant recipients, please visit: http://www.eda.gov/oie/2014-risp-competition.htm.

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Headlining NASA Scientist Joins Water Summit Roster


Speaking on the Aquifer at Risk Panel in Rancho Mirage, sponsored by The Desert Sun newspaper. January 27, 2014. Photo by Omar Ornelas for The Desert Sun.

“Epic California Drought and Groundwater Depletion as Viewed from Space.”
-From the LA Times Op-Ed by Jay Famiglietti, Senior Water Scientist NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

The Water Council is enthused to announce world renowned NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti as a headlining keynote at Water Summit 2015! Purchase your ticket today to hear first-hand how serious the depletion of crucial groundwater in California is, about the work NASA is conducting that could assist the water technology industry, and perspectives on global water trends.

Jay and his team have been researching and communicating about water and climate change — in academics, in business, in government and to the general public — for over 25 years. His team uses NASA satellite observations and develops advanced hydrological models to explore global water cycle change and changing freshwater availability.

Jay is a hydrologist, a professor of Earth System Science and of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, and the Senior Water Scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. He was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown to the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, and he was the Founding Director of the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling (UCCHM) at UC Irvine.

Read Jay Famiglietti’s full bio HERE.

Recently he appeared as a featured expert in the water documentary Last Call at the Oasis and in CBS News 60 Minutes. Jay is a frequent speaker, an avid writer and a regular contributor to:

National Geographic Water Currents
Huffington Post
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
The Economist
CNN/Fareed Zakaria GPS
National Public Radio
BBC Radio

Jay Famiglietti in the News:

Can we end the global water crisis?

60 Minutes
60 Minutes: Water

LA Times
California has about one year of water stored. Will you ration now?

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3 Headlines in 1 Week Show California’s Ambivalence Towards Water Restrictions

By Dean Amhaus, President & CEO, The Water Council

In four years the California Drought has become a background noise to the state and the country. Like a morning alarm set too quietly, the people of California have slept in, and they may now be too late.

 Lake Oroville Justin Sullivan / Getty Images. California Drought

Lake Oroville Justin Sullivan / Getty Images. California Drought

Last week, the LA Times published three articles within one week clearly demonstrating the drowsy nature of California in regards to their pressing water shortage.

Jay Famiglietti, a University of California, Irvine, prominent water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, released an Op-Ed piece on March 12 urging Californians to ration water use. Failure to implement serious rationing procedures could result in catastrophic events.

Famiglietti warned, “Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing.”

CAPaC9RUkAA9JYs.jpg-largeHeadline 1: California has about one year of water left. Will you ration now?

Headline 2: Southern California gets its first water coaster

Just six days after this eye opening call to action, LA Times announced, “Southern California gets its first water coaster.” Within the first paragraph stating “it’s about time.”

The water park will open this summer even though climate scientists have concluded a drought of this length and severity has not struck California for 1,200 years. Meaning a drought this fierce has not taken place since the climate warmed enough for the Vikings to sail to Greenland.

california_op_ed1Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 1.35.21 PMDespite the announcement of the water coaster, Famiglietti’s Op-Ed piece has drastically heightened awareness of the drought in California and the United States by attaching hard numbers, a relatable perspective, and calling out water scarcity as a home-grown issue. On Thursday, March 19, California Governor, Jerry Brown, announced an emergency $1 billion drought package. This is an important step in developing procedures to cope with the extreme weather gripping the state, but as LA Times mentioned, “no matter how much longer California’s drought lingers, politicians don’t have the power to make it rain.”

Headline 3: California’s $1-billion emergency drought relief is a tiny drop in bucket

“This is a struggle,” stated Brown during a news conference. “Something we’re going to have to live with. For how long, we’re not sure.”

The sad fact is that these articles reinforce the tragic situation that there continues to be a denial or a disconnect between facts and desires.  Whether it is California, Texas or any place where there are water shortages, it is critical that we no longer live under the notion that we are living with an abundance of an essential resource or that “praying for rain” is the answer.  New technologies and new approaches such as the idea of “One Water” which will be the centerpiece of The Water Council’s Water Summit in June must be explored and implemented.  It is imperative for all of us to clearly understand that regardless of where we live and work our use and management of water has human, economic and security ramifications.

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NOW OPEN: Early Bird Registration


This year’s theme, “Creating a One Water Region,” focuses on a model that connects and enhances historically independent “water silos” to create a more efficient, effective and comprehensive water system for a region with the priority to improve water quality, knowledge-based stewardship, and water sustainability.​ Now in its 8th year, the Summit attracts over 400 water experts and a lineup of international speakers.

Keynotes and breakout sessions will cover hot water topics such as finance, global relief, sustainability, security, infrastructure and more! Attendees will also have access to a preview of the Water Collaborative Innovation Platform – a super-charged, web-based, research, and data dashboard that will foster and enhance partnerships around the world.​

In addition to attracting business leaders from across the country, we have confirmed water technology business delegations will be coming from Leeuwarden, The Netherlands and Montpellier, France, both considered leading global water technology clusters. This year’s Summit will also coincide with the 2015 Wetskills Water Challenge, an international collaboration between UW-Whitewater, Netherlands Consulate General, and Netherlands Office for Science and Technology. There is a great line up brewing, don’t miss this opportunity to experience it! 

Early_Bird_Pricing_2015WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
Global Business Leaders, Engineers, Researchers, Marketing Professionals, Water Technologists, Stakeholders, Students +more are encouraged to attend from:

    • Water Technology Companies of all sizes and stages
    • Water & Wastewater Companies
    • Governments
    • Universities
    • Utilities
    • Investment Groups
    • NGOs
    • Suppliers of water-related products and services
    • Professional Services
    • Organizations and regions that are looking for water solutions

Click here to learn more about Water Summit 2015.
Contact Monica Pless, Event Coordinator at mpless@thewatercouncil.com with any Water Summit 2015 related questions or concerns.

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Round III of the BREW Now Open!

The BREW_meeter image2

MILWAUKEE, WI  – The BREW, a first-of-its-kind place-based global seed accelerator for water technology startups led by The Water Council, is launching Round III of the program. The application process opened March 1 at 8 a.m. (CST) and accepts applications from around the world through March 31 at 11:59 p.m. (CST). Up to eight winners will be selected by June 23 to participate in Round III beginning in September.

The BREW was created by The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), a demonstration of Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s reputation as a global epicenter for water-related research and industry.

The BREW accelerator program debuted in 2013 and is managed by The Water Council. Startups with commercialization potential will receive up to $50,000 in investments in exchange for a small percent of equity. Past winners of The BREW include businesses focused on water quality and quantity, from sensors and laboratories to software and hydro-power. This year we strongly encourage startups with agriculture water solutions to apply. During the 12-month accelerator program, winning entrepreneurs receive:

  • A suite in the Global Water Center for 12 months
  • Business model and operations training through The Water Council and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UWW) Institute for Water Business
  • Access to faculty and students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) School for Freshwater Sciences and Marquette University
  • Access to the Global Water Center’s Flow Lab
  • Mentorship from dozens of area water technology experts, plus direct access to BREW Preferred Partners, including: WIPFLI, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, University of Wisconsin-Madison Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, and Global Water Center Executive in Residence
  • Attendance to conferences and pitch sessions with The Water Council
  • Access to investment capital funding sources
  • Access to Pilot Project funding
  • One-year membership to The Water Council providing access to the water technology network

The focus of The BREW is to unleash unique water technology startups, expand Milwaukee’s Global Water Hub by accelerating results, inspire action to create further opportunity in the water industry, and disrupt the status quo.

The Water Council and a separate panel of global expert judges rank entries using multiple criteria including commercialization potential. Grants will fund startup costs, which could include lab supplies, research and product development expenses, and professional services.


Participants in Round II graduate at the Water Summit on June 24 at The Pfister in Milwaukee. Batch II graduates include: Cadens LLC, Hydro-Lite, Pellucid Water, pHinding Solutions, WatrHub, and Wellntel.

“Through the efforts of The Water Council and its many partners, Milwaukee has truly become a world leader in water technology and has developed a strong reputation for innovation in this growing sector,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “The BREW provides emerging water technology companies with unparalleled support and services in a dynamic environment that we believe will lead to even more innovation in this increasingly important industry.”

“The Global Water Center has become a magnet, attracting over 14 startups in the water space who want to be close to the resources and energy,” said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “Coupled with the number of large global businesses and academic presence, this provides a multi-faceted ecosystem for entrepreneurs to collaborate and grow their business.”

Application Process for Round III

March 1 at 8 a.m. (CST) – March 31 at 11:59 pm (CST) at www.thebrew-mke.com

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5 Water Council Members Advance in Wisconsin Governor’s Biz Plan Contest

The Water Council is excited to announce four of its BREW Batch II participants and one new member will be advancing in the 2015 Wisconsin Governor’s Biz Plan Contest. Out of 238 total applicants 54 companies were chosen to move forward to Phase 3. The top dozen contestants will give live presentations at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison during the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in June. About $2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the conception of the contest in 2004, and more than 2,900 entries have been received.startup-593343_1920

This is the second year Water Council Members have had a presence in the Wisconsin Governor’s Biz Plan Contest. Last year two BREW start-ups made it into the final round. This year’s advancing companies include:

pHinding Solutions, Milwaukee
Hydro-lite, Milwaukee
Cadens LLC, Sullivan
Pellucid Water, Milwaukee
Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling LLC, Madison

The Water Council wishes these companies the best of luck and success in their coming ventures.

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February 2015 Q1 Member Meeting Recap

February 18 marked the first Quarterly Member Meeting of 2015! Thank you to Bradley Corporation for the exceptional hospitality and aiding in one of the most successful Water Council membership meetings to date.2015_q1meeting2

Around the Washfountin
At one point in every Midwesterner’s life, they come across a circular Bradley Washfountin. Founded in Milwaukee close to 100 years ago, this thriving company is yet another example of the industrial backbone working to make this region great. Bradley Corporation’s offer to accommodate The Water Council’s Member Meeting presented a unique opportunity for members to get an up close look at their beautifully designed facilities and fresh products. Their truly thoughtful accommodations created an atmosphere rich with collaborative possibilities.

2015_q1meeting4As members arrived, they had the option of attending the Q1 Talent & Education meeting, participating in a facility tour or networking. Insightful guides provided in-depth knowledge into Bradley history, current products, and facility operations. Each showroom displayed unique commodities equipped with their own stories of process and distribution. Known primarily for their high-end, long lasting, commercialized units, Bradly pushes the standard forward. From their ergonomic single piece sinks made from moldable quartz called Evero, to leading the way in taking lead out of manufactured pipe valves, this company is not only interested in the efficacy of their product, but making sure they provide the best possible experience for each and every costumer.

Bradley Corp. – Making water work for you.
Once the tour concluded, members settled into their seats and the Q1 member meeting commenced. First up, Christopher Mullet, Vice President of Sales at Bradley Corporation led the audience through the unique weaving of history and innovation which formed the organization.2015_q1meeting3a

In 1920, Harry Bradly of Allen-Bradley, had a problem: his workers were taking too long on breaks. After some investigation, he discovered the workers would have to wait in long lines to wash their hands. To solve this inefficacy, he created a circular wash-bin producing water from the center and a step peddle at the bottom to turn the water on and off. This communal wash area allowed for multiple people to wash their hands at once and also conserved water. Uninterested in marketing the invention, Harry Bradley passed it off to a couple of his employees who saw potential to turn it into the company known today.

Currently, five manufacturing plants are stationed around the country with their main headquarters located in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Bradley’s contemporary products now meld cutting edge technology with durability, user accommodation, and water conservation. Within their plants alone, Bradley reclaims 375,000 gallons of water annually.2015_q1meeting

KEYNOTE: Wisconsin Partnership for the Great Lakes – Major Policy Effort!
Southeastern Wisconsin is home to many veterans of the water industry, but with the increased productivity of Water Council Members and the growing interest in freshwater, the area is experiencing a fresh water renaissance. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation reported in 2014 Wisconsin saw an increase of 7.4% in water technology related exports.

It is estimated that in the next 20 years, the drinking water infrastructure alone will require a $7.1 billion investment. Ted Kanavas and Rob Marchant of Michael Best Strategies briefed the members on a major policy effort their firm is leading in Madison.  The goal of the initiative is to expand legislative and fiscal efforts to ensure that municipalities have the financial resources necessary to manage wastewater and storm water.madison-77917_1280

The Clean Water Initiative is a way to address critical water policy changes while building Milwaukee as a leader in the Freshwater Economy. To successfully achieve this vision, the development of technological solutions must be accelerated and the funding for these developments will need to be increased. Rather than strictly approaching this from a legislative perspective, Kanavas and Marchant suggest using a tiered approach to engaging the capital markets – using municipal, state, foundations and endowment and private capital to fund technology implementation throughout the state. Through some of these strategic actions, Wisconsin can achieve water quality standards while supporting its growth as a World Wide Water Hub.

Marketing Update
Meghan Jensen, Director of Marketing & Membership at The Water Council, gave useful insight into what to expect in 2015 and how members can engage. The Water Council has made great strides to expand its programming efforts and reach on all fronts. The growing marketing team is working hard in preparation for Water Summit 2015: Creating a One Water Region, WEFTEC, and other upcoming events.  Among the most exciting of these developments will be a new Water Council website, set to launch this fall!

SBA Program overview
The Water Council’s new Small Business Program Manager, Karen Frost, detailed the initial programming and framework for the U.S. Small Business Administration contract to create a Center of Excellence (CoE) for Freshwater Innovation & Small Business Development. Many new opportunities will be provided including programming and training for small and medium sized businesses in the water industry. To learn more about the CoE Click Here.

Talent and Education Committee
The Talent and Education Committee has made many advances in the past three months by reaching out to youth and connecting them with water industry leaders. In coming weeks, they will be asking for more involvement from companies to show students water is not only for recreation, it’s a career. Stay tuned for more opportunities to engage in the Tide newsletter.

The BREW Accelerator
2015_q1meeting6Elizabeth Thelen, Director of Entrepreneurship & Talent, asked BREW Batch II entrepreneurs to take the floor and provide the audience with a success story from their involvement in the program thus far. Small startup businesses are hugely important to the industry because as they grow, they attract new talent and breed innovation. Interested in furthering a water tech start up? BREW Batch III applications open Sunday, March 1st! Get ready, the pressure’s on. Click Here.

As the meeting concluded, members stayed to have a frosty cold one, snack on tasty hors d’oeuvres and network with fellow Water Council members. A huge thank you to Bradly Corporation for accommodating a great Quarterly Meeting! Save the date for our Q2 Member Meeting on Wednesday, May 6th!

Click here for the full slide presentation.

Interested in making waves with The Water Council? Please contact Isaiah Perez, Member Services & Development Coordinator, at iperez@thewatercouncil.com

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Fund for Lake Michigan is now accepting Letters of Inquiry

IMG_3937The Fund for Lake Michigan is now accepting Letters of Inquiry as part of  their 2015 grant cycle. The Fund is seeking projects that improve the water quality of Lake Michigan through habitat restoration, pollutant reduction, stream restoration or improvements to coastal areas in Wisconsin. The Letters of Inquiry are due on or before February 20th, 2015. LOIs must be submitted through the Fund’s online grants management system. For information on how to apply click here for guidelines and here for how to apply online. Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent out in March. Additional information about the Fund can be found on our website at www.fundforlakemichigan.org.

Questions regarding the online grants system should be directed to Molly Tarrant at molly@arabellaadvisors.com. For questions regarding your proposal contact Casey Eggleston at casey@fundforlakemichican.org or Vicki Elkin at vicki@fundforlakemichigan.org.

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