The president and vice president of AdEdge Water Technologies join Water Online Radio to discuss the company’s recent achievements and innovations, as well as the important differentiating factors for water treatment providers in today’s marketplace.
Todd Schnick: We’re coming to you live, from Dallas, Texas. This is day two of AWWA ACE 2012 and Water Online Radio. I’m your host, Todd Schnick, joined by my colleague, Todd Youngblood. Todd, they’ve saved the best for last.
Todd Youngblood: They did. I don’t know how the Water Online guys do that, but they do it every time. Didn’t this day just fly by?
Todd Schnick: It really did. I can’t believe this is our last gig for the day, but it’s going to be a fun one. I want to welcome two fine gentlemen – our first, Gregory Gilles, who is the vice president of AdEdge Water Technologies. Welcome to the show.
Greg: Thanks very much. I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve been here.
Todd Schnick: It’s unbelievable. I also want to welcome Rich Cavagnaro, who is the president of AdEdge Water Technologies. Welcome.
Rich: Thank you guys. We look forward to wrapping up your day.
Todd Schnick: Outstanding. Let’s start with you, Rich. Tell us a little bit about you and your background.
Rich: My background, I’ve been in the water industry for the last ten, fifteen years, been working primarily in the chemical industry my whole career, working on medias.
Basically, our expertise that Greg and I both share is that we are in applied technology. We take different technologies and we apply it to make it work, and that’s how we’ve built the company, AdEdge, and that’s our platform that we work off of, even to this day.
Todd Schnick: Greg, tell us a little bit about you and your background.
Greg: I have a varied background, primarily mostly in industry, beginning AdEdge with Rich, ten years ago. I’ve worked in environmental remediation, I’ve worked in industry with some Fortune 500 companies, and really gained experience in those realms that really were just ideal for what we’re doing now at AdEdge.
Todd Schnick: Rich, could you just take us in a little bit more detail? What is AdEdge all about? What value are you delivering to your customers?
Rich: It really starts with customer service, and what we do to try to differentiate ourselves from others is – everybody, a lot of companies in this arena, have treatment technologies that they get involved with, and certainly we do as well – but we try to make it a little bit deeper in our experience of working with our customers, to provide not just a cost proposal, but all the details that are going to go into a treatment system solution for a community or an engineer to work with.
Todd Schnick: Greg, let’s start with you. What are some of the big challenges facing the water industry today?
Greg: I think one of the ones that’s pretty obvious to start with, and you’re probably hearing this from others as well. I think it’s economic-driven right now. I think there’s no doubt that the economy, the lack of federal and state dollars that are available now to help solve some of the infrastructure and water treatment needs, there’s a shortage of those.
There’s a shortage of funding that’s being funneled through the EPA and other things like State Revolving Funds and Rural Development, which has been one of the main mechanisms for fueling the work that’s been done in municipal water treatment business.
Todd Schnick: Rich, do you have anything to add to that list of challenges?
Rich: Yes, I’d say another challenge that we face… Obviously, we’re always bringing new technologies into the arena, and one of the things that’s happening with state regulators is they have less staff that’s been available to them over the years, and as an industry, as we introduce new technologies, these state regulators aren’t as up to speed always as the companies who are developing the technologies.
We’re way more comfortable in introducing a new technology in the marketplace than the states or the different regulators will allow us to introduce as quickly as we’re ready to, and it’s going to be a problem for the next couple years, because they’re not going to be adding staff into those departments.
Todd Schnick: Wow, no money and extremely rapid introduction of technology that nobody knows about. You guys have an easy set of challenges to work with. What are you doing to address those things?
Rich: What we have done, and what Greg does a lot around the country, is we provide training. We work with a lot of different state associations, and we become their training arm at times, to go out and introduce the technologies that we’re working with. We work with local circuit writers, and as a result, that’s been a platform that’s worked quite nicely for us.
Todd Schnick: Greg, what is AdEdge doing to position themselves differently?
Greg: I think one of the main things that you’re going to see us do out there is augment the resources that people have right now to solve their problems. In other words, we provide things like engineering support to the engineers that are providing services to communities.
We’re doing things like helping end users with their feasibility stage of understanding what technologies that they ought to be looking at in the first place.
These are all value-added things that we do to help folks see us as more than just an equipment provider, but a solutions provider, and to help them start with the early stages of their project, to allow them to go on the course that’s most efficient for them, to get to the end point that they need to get to, if that makes sense to you.
There’s traditional ways and there’s non-traditional ways to approach a project, and we’re trying to look for more collaboration, more involvement with the decision-makers and influencers upfront that will then help guide them to a most efficient solution in the most rapid way possible.
Todd Schnick: Well, you talk about being more than just an equipment provider, and you talk about collaboration. I understand you’ve started up a 501(c)3. It sounds like you’ve taken that philosophy yet one more step. Talk a little bit about that.
Rich: This is really an exciting development for us as a company. We got ourselves involved many years ago with a mission that was trying to do an arsenic removal project in Argentina, and I guess it started around 2005, 2006. I’m proud to say that, last year, we finally introduced that system and installed it into the community.
It’s 6,000 folks. The arsenic level was up around 280 parts per billion, and we’re taking it down to non-detect in the treatment system, and it’s been a great project to be associated with, because it’s really a story about perseverance and trying to make this community change the history of this community, knowing that the mortality rate was so low in this community that the grandkids didn’t even get to meet their grandparents always.
We’re changing the history of this community. It’s a great feeling to be associated with something like that, and the staff of AdEdge participate in this project. It’s a great reward for all of us in the company to be partnered with.
Todd Schnick: Wow. Kudos to you guys. That’s an awesome story, absolutely. Greg, AdEdge has grown its offerings over the past few years. How has that impacting your interaction with the market?
Greg: I think one of the things that we’re reaching out to, in terms of expanding those offerings, we’re going into some international markets, and one of those things in particular that’s been a really nice buzz so far, here at the show, has been our offering, what we call our “WaterPOD.”
These are completely designed, prepackaged, pre-piped, instrumented treatment systems within containers for modular buildings that can tremendously save time and dollars, in terms of an installation, particularly internationally.
That’s probably one of the neater innovations, I think, that’s come out of AdEdge here in the last couple of years, and we’ve implemented multiple of these units. It seems to be a big hit for communities that want to put things in faster and less expensively.
Rich: Just to add to that faster, one of the things we’re really proud of, last year, we did a 3-MGD project from start to finish in eight months. That’s really unheard of, to do a project of that size and the speed, and we did that with the containerized unit we call the WaterPOD.
Todd Schnick: Wow, and successfully, obviously.
Greg: That’s the only way that project could have occurred in that short a time frame. There was no time to build buildings at three different locations in a site there in Nevada, and the schedule and the liquidated damages associated with not being able to complete that on time with the amount of DEP made that project, for most folks, it would have been solely unattainable.
Through the teamwork that was put together with the contractor and the engineer on a design-build type of approach pulled it off, and it’s something we’re actually going to be highlighting in a talk coming up here at the Cal-Nevada AWWA conference, later this year.
Todd Schnick: Gentlemen, I hate to say it, but we’re out of time. Before I let you go, I have a couple questions. Greg, how can people get in touch with you?
Greg: They can contact me probably best, I’m always online. Rich knows we’re wired in anywhere we go, and that’s at firstname.lastname@example.org. About fifty or sixty other people have done that today so far.
Todd Schnick: Outstanding. Rich, how can people get in touch with you, and more importantly, where can they get more information about AdEdge Water Technologies?
Todd Schnick: Outstanding. Greg Gilles, vice president, and Rich Cavagnaro, president of AdEdge Water Technologies, it was great to have you gentlemen. Thanks for making the time to join us.
Rich: Thank you.
Greg: Thank you, guys.
Todd Schnick: That wraps up our final segment of the day. On behalf of our guests, Rich Cavagnaro and Greg Gilles, my cohost, Todd Youngblood, and all of us at Water Online, I’m Todd Schnick. We’ll be back tomorrow morning for day three of AWWA ACE 2012.