Roy Daly, sales engineer at CSM, sat down with Water Online Radio for this live interview from the show floor at WEFTEC 2011 in Los Angeles. Topics ranged from reverse osmosis and wastewater reuse to the impact of politics on the industry. Listen or read on to learn more.
Todd Schnick: We are back, broadcasting live from the Los Angeles Convention Center and tradeshow floor of WEFTEC. I am Todd Schnick, joined by my co-host, Todd Youngblood. Todd, things are going well.
Todd Schnick: This next guest is going to be a lot of fun. He is the sales manager and a freaking engineer from CSM. Welcome to Water Online Radio, Roy Daly.
Roy: Thank you, Todd and Todd.
Todd Schnick: Before we get into it, Roy, take a second and just tell us a little bit about you, your background, and the work that you’re doing for CSM.
Roy: Basically, my background is that I’m a freaking engineer [laughs].
Todd Schnick: I love that.
Roy: One day I guess I expressed way to much interest in the sales and marketing of the products that I was engineering, and I was bequeathed a career in sales.
Todd Youngblood: It’s funny how that happens. Isn’t that how any sales guy in this industry is born?
Roy: It is. Absolutely.
Todd Youngblood: I think the successful ones. In all seriousness, there’s a level of credibility in being able to speak the language that a genuine engineer has that the mere mortals don’t. I mean, I really seriously wouldn’t discount it. I think it’s a big deal.
Todd Schnick: There are people on this show that came from the sales and marketing side of things, and they talk that language. But then there are those who are the engineers, and you can tell when they speak the language.
Todd Youngblood: You can tell that you, for example, are not an engineer.
Todd Schnick: Well, that is plain and obvious, I have to tell you.
Roy: I guess the point is that – in the field, or when I get the opportunity to speak to somebody who is embedded in the technicalities associated with whatever process we’re dealing with – they realize, intuitively, the passion that I have that can only really come from being an engineer. It’s kind of an acquired taste.
Todd Schnick: Well, help the audience understand what kind of products and services CSM is delivering to its market.
Roy: Basically, CSM is a provider of reverse osmosis and nanofiltration spiral-wound membrane products. Our applications, as far as the wastewater market is concerned, generally involve wastewater reuse.
Basically, we see a lot of [applications] offshore. In the domestic marketplace, however, the economics certainly haven’t been driving a lot of wastewater reuse too much, except for on the west coast. We have a few very large plants, and they’re usually being applied to standard municipal wastewater effluent.
Then we’re doing industrial feeds, such as boiler feed for Chevron and Mobile. Certainly no potable, drinking-type applications coming out of the wastewater reuse yet in the United States.
Todd Schnick: Roy, regulations are a big part of this industry’s life from all over – all kinds of different governments and regulatory agencies. I have to believe which way the political winds are blowing has an impact on your thinking. What do you think about that?
Roy: In general, that’s a great question. I think that, depending on who is in office, it may influence the political atmosphere significantly. Therefore, the economic drivers associated with usage of wastewater in potable-type applications are either going to take off or are going to basically make economic sense.
The EPA is a poor example. It has fairly aggressive standards. I appreciate them and I believe them as an American. Actually, I’m proud that we have the standards that we do. But there are a number of politicians and other people who don’t exactly share that view.
If their tendencies bear out over the long term, it would suffice to say that RO applications associated with wastewater reuse may well lead to a significant part of the sources for potable usage in America. That’s quite a difference from the current political mindset.
Todd Schnick: Help our Water Online audience – we have thousands of professionals that tune in – help them better understand the true value that you’re delivering to your customers by sharing with us a recent and specific story about how you delivered something big for one of your customers.
Roy: Well, the most recent large plant that we have doing reverse osmosis of wastewater is in the city of Scottsdale, AZ. It’s roughly 7 million gallons per day of wastewater reuse, which is going to an industrial type of feed application.
In essence, this is a typical RO application of tertiary treated water. It’s for the actual city of Scottsdale, and basically we went in there, piloted the situation, and it was actually some phenomenal performance in that we well exceeded their expectations.
Generally, RO has a problem with fouling, if you will, in wastewater type applications. We’ve actually been able to develop a particular proprietary technology that works very well and, incidentally, is one of the main reasons that I’m with CSM – because I have every reason to believe in its ability to work in some applications that before were basically hands-off to RO. We’re thankful it’s been so dominant, really, in the marketplace.
Todd Schnick: Figuring out how to apply a technology often is more important than understanding the technology itself.
Shifting gears a little bit, Roy, it’s hard to have a conversation without talking about this economy. How has that helped you, or maybe how has it provided some more opportunities that you didn’t have before?
Roy: Well, as far as how it’s helped us, certainly it’s been instrumental in allowing us to optimize our overall process efficiency, especially on the manufacturing and fabrication side.
As you may well guess, some of the profit margins that we used to enjoy and become acquainted with have kind of eroded for the most part. So we’re lean, mean, fighting machines.
Certainly, from a personal standpoint, it’s been kind of interesting in that nowadays when I get a significant amount of margin on a given project, then I have a sense of accomplishment – as opposed to when I previously took it for granted, if you will.
Todd Schnick: It’s more rewarding to do something that’s difficult.
Todd Schnick: CSM is exhibiting here at the show, are they not?
Roy: Yes, we are. Thank you.
Todd Schnick: What is your principal objective of attending an event like this? Is it lead generation, market education, trying to identify new partners? What’s your principle goal?
Roy: We have a pretty standard type of OEM client and engineering client base that we have been seeing at WEFTEC for years and years. On a personal basis, my agenda here is mainly related to the same exact conversation that we’re having at this point – that is, that we need to educate the masses, if you will, that reverse osmosis can be applied successfully and economically within the wastewater market.
Todd Schnick: Roy, I hate to say it, but we’re out of time. Before we let you go, share with the audience how they can contact CSM and learn more about the work that you’re doing.
Roy: Well, thanks for that opportunity. Actually, we can be contacted at www.csmfilter.com.
Todd Schnick: Alright. Roy Daly, one of the coolest freaking engineers that I know, it was a pleasure having you. Thanks for joining us today.
Roy: Thank you very much, Todd and Todd.
Todd Youngblood: Loved having the engineer.
Todd Schnick: Well, that wraps this segment. On behalf of Todd Youngblood, I’m Todd Schnick. Water Online Radio will be right back.