Thursday, September 18 marked our 3rd Quarterly Member Meeting of 2014! Thank you to Grucon Group for hosting us at the RiverCenter in Schlitz Park. As always, it was a pleasure to see many familiar faces, as well as many new members attending for the first time. For those that were unable to attend, here is a brief recap and link to the presentation below.
Gary Grunau, President, Grucon Group, welcomed The Water Council and members to Schlitz Park, site of the former Schlitz Brewery which his company has converted to an urban office park over a decade ago, and recently has undergone another multi-million dollar renovation to accommodate new tenants and add new on-site amenities.
Featured Speaker: Rob Gottschalk, Principal/Economic Positioning, Vandewalle Associates, presented the recently completed Leadership Strategic Vision (LSV) for The Water Council. This new strategic plan re-positions The Water Council as an international organization that is headquartered in Milwaukee, at the center of our water technology cluster.
The LSV’s foundational mission is economic growth through improving world water health. This will be accomplished by: developing solutions that address world water challenges; grow sales, exports, and jobs; and attract businesses and talent to the region.
The Vision of the LSV for The Water Council is to be the globally connected epicenter of freshwater research, innovation, education, and business development.
Rob outlined 3 key strategic directions of the LSV: enhance our leadership position as the Water Center of Excellence; target research and development on global needs; and grow international market readiness, networks, and talent. You can see the specific breakdown of these and other components of the LSV by downloading the full meeting powerpoint (below). It was stressed during a brief Q&A session after Rob’s presentation that the LSV is a working, living document, and it can be altered as The Water Council continues to grow and embark on new paths.
The BREW: Elizabeth Thelen, Director of Entrepreneurship & Talent, The Water Council, briefly discussed ways that members can engage with BREW Batch II entrepreneurs. Specifically, she invited Members to learn about the new companies through conversation, offer pilot/beta sites on their premises to the entrepreneurs, become mentors through strategic pairings, invest in the new companies through projects, contracts, and capital, and connect Batch II winners with a customer base that fits with their product.
Elizabeth also invited Batch II winners to give a 1-minute pitch of their respective companies, and also provide an “ask” of Members, which ranged from funding, acquiring talent, idea sharing, and site visits.
Guest Presenter: Hensley Foster, President, Stonehouse Water Technologies, talked to the group about the Milwaukee Water Research Project, which features the Pelican, a smart mini water treatment node.
The Pelican is able to eliminate 99.99% of bacteria in water, reduces heavy metals (including, arsenic, lead, mercury, chromium, and others), operates on low energy outputs, and can provide drinking and cooking water to over 1,000 people daily.
The Pelican is unique because it is a state of the art, decentralized, total water treatment system incorporated into one product, with a small, portable footprint, which can increase scale by adding units. The Pelican will soon be operational at the water plaza in Reed Street Yards, directly across from the Global Water Center. Hensley also made a specific call to action of Members to support Stonehouse Water Technologies in the Chase Mission Main Street Grant program, by voting HERE (please note that a Facebook account is required to vote).
Marketing Update: Meghan Jensen, Director of Marketing & Membership, The Water Council, provided a snapshot of activities that have occurred since our last meeting, including the JPMorgan Chase Small Business Forward grant, Investments in Water Technology Week, delegation visits from Israel and Ningbo, China, and the grand opening of UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences expansion.
She also highlighted the planned WI Delegation to WEFTEC 2014 in New Orleans, September 27-October 1. The Wisconsin Water Innovation Pavilion (Booth 4045) will be located next to the WEFTEC Innovation Pavilion (Booth 4025) and is sponsored by several industry and academic organizations. Various engagement opportunities were touched upon, including the 2014 WI WEFTEC Look Book, Guest-blogging opportunities during the conference, matching services from both WEDC and U.S. Commercial Services, and complimentary, reserved meeting room space. Be sure to mark your calendars for WEFTEC 2015, September 26-30, Chicago, and visit the WI Delegation Website, HERE.
Lastly, new members that have joined The Water Council Member Network since the last meeting were recognized, including: Argonne National Lab, Dairy Business Association, Data Holdings, IFMA Southeast WI Chapter, JPMorgan Chase, K4 Environmental Technologies, Racine Metal-Fab, Schenck s.c., Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and the WI Department of Natural Resources. Become a Member Today!
Talent & Education Committee: Heather Koehn, Committee Co-Chair & Marketing Manager, Pentair, and Joe Russell, Committee Co-Chair & President, Watertech of America, gave a call to action for those in attendance and all members to increase their engagement through the ‘Pay It Forward’ Campaign. Examples of ways this can be accomplished is by offering tours at your respective facility, making yourself available to be a featured speaker or panelist at industry events, or connect over coffee with future water leaders. If you are unsure of how you can become engaged, Heather will be happy to assist you in identifying engagement opportunities that fit your schedule, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-chairs also briefly highlighted Nate Conroy, STEMhero, who participated in the Millennial Trains Project this summer. Nate visited 10 cities across the U.S., including Washington D.C. where he represented Milwaukee’s water technology cluster very well!
Other initiatives announced included: The Water Talent Book; a Professional Development Workshop on October 29, 5:30-7:30pm at the Global Water Center; a Speed-Networking event November 12, also at the Global Water Center; and a call to join the Talent/Education group on LinkedIn, Here.