Jennifer Muller, municipal marketing director for TrojanUV, sat down with Water Online Radio for this live interview from the show floor at WEFTEC 2011 in Los Angeles. Muller talked about Trojan’s ultraviolet (UV) disinfection technology and how it lends itself to the important issues of water reuse and sustainability. Listen or read on to learn more.
Todd Schnick: And we're back, broadcasting live from the Los Angeles Convention Center and the tradeshow floor of WEFTEC. I am Todd Schnick, joined by my co-host, Todd Youngblood. Todd, I think we're in for an interesting conversation with our next guest.
Todd Youngblood: I mean, we really are. If it's anything like the other…I mean, they keep getting better every time.
Todd Schnick: What did I tell you?
Todd Youngblood: I don't know how...
Todd Schnick: The interviews are getting better. Not to say anything bad about our morning guests, but you know...
Todd Youngblood: I know. The Water Online guys, they must have just lined them up this way. No pressure, Jen.
Todd Schnick: Absolutely not. Well, we are launching hour number five of Water Online Radio with the municipal marketing director for Trojan Technologies. Welcome, Jen Muller.
Jen Muller: Thank you, happy to be here.
Todd Schnick: It's good to have you on Water Online Radio. Before we get into it, Jen, why don't you take a second and just tell us a little bit about you and your background and the work that you're doing for Trojan Technologies.
Jen Muller: Okay, I’d be happy to. So I'm a civil engineer. I actually graduated a number of years ago now from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. And from there, I went to work at Trojan Technologies, just down the road in London, Ontario, Canada.
I've been there for 13 years, working in the sales team, and then moving over into marketing. So what I do now is I’m the marketing director for municipal products, and I work on launching new products and commercializing them.
Todd Schnick: Now does that mean that there's someone doing marketing work into the private sector or public organizations, or is municipal your only focus?
Jen Muller: My personal focus would be municipal. We do have other groups that do industrial, residential, and ballast water treatment as well, but I’m strictly on the municipal side.
Todd Schnick: Understood.
Todd Youngblood: Jen, you just talked about new products, but I know you guys came out with some UV technology about a year ago. Is that still part of your focus, and how is that going?
Jen Muller: Definitely. It's actually going very well. We launched a new lamp technology about a year and a half ago called the TrojanUV Solo Lamp. We use that now in a number of different products for both drinking water treatment as well as wastewater disinfection.
Todd Schnick: So tell us what's going on at the Trojan booth this year at WEFTEC.
Jen Muller: Lots of exciting things going on this year. Actually, in about an hour we're going to be kicking off our reception. So we have complimentary drinks and snacks in the booth but...
Todd Schnick: And two cool radio hosts are invited to that, right?
Jen Muller: Absolutely.
Todd Schnick: Outstanding.
Jen Muller: As soon as we're done here I’m heading over there.
Todd Youngblood: I love my partner.
Jen Muller: Going to wet my whistle.
Todd Youngblood: And we're going to recycle all of it.
Jen Muller: Absolutely. In addition to that, if you haven't been by our booth yet, you'll notice that we have a brand new display this year. We have a new booth that looks unlike anything thing that we've ever done before.
We have a new full-scale display of our new UVSigna product. So that's an interactive display where you can put your hands on it, you can remove a lamp, you can see how the wipers work and learn all about the product.
Todd Schnick: Well, WEFTEC seems to be a big deal with you guys because you launched a critical product at the event last year, and you're unveiling some interesting stuff this year.
Walk me through more of your strategy at WEFTEC. I mean, what are the things that you’re trying to accomplish here: lead generation, market education, identifying new partners?
Jen Muller: Sure, lead generation is a part of it. We like to also re-establish relationships with customers that already have our products, so we have several thousand installations in North America. So those customers like to come by and say hello, ask any questions.
Todd Youngblood: Reusing wastewater is something that, I mean, it's really getting out of the industry press and into kind of the general public press now. I mean, how important is wastewater reuse and what are you doing?
Jen Muller: I think wastewater reuse is becoming a necessity in certain parts of the world. There are a couple of different options to developing new water sources, such as desalination.
But reuse is a solution that municipalities can implement locally, basically keeping the water that they already have local, treating it, and reusing it again locally. So it's considered a sustainable technology, and in some parts the world there isn't any other option.
Todd Youngblood: Yeah, was it Israel we had an earlier guest talk about which recycled 70% – or something like that – of their waste, which is astounding.
Todd Schnick: Jen, one of our common themes today has been this problem where the industry is not as effectively communicating some of these issues as they should be. When it comes to wastewater reuse, what can the industry do to better educate and better communicate to the marketplace about the importance of these issues?
Jen Muller: I think it comes down to doing your research, learning about it. I mean I'm not going to say the expression that the media typically refers to water reuse as, but it's just basically do the homework, visit sites.
Most of the installations around here, like Orange County, has a very large reuse site and they do tours practically every day of the year. So general public can just go and tour one of these facilities and see what it's all about through their own eyes.
San Diego also just put in a new demonstration facility and they’re doing tours as well. So get out there, tour the sites, and just learn the technologies for yourself.
Todd Youngblood: Jen, could you talk a little bit about what other kinds of things you are doing to spread the word if you will, in the industry to the public?
Jen Muller: Well, many different things. We've starting doing a Facebook page which helps promotes Trojan. Not only just about products and what it is that we sell, but who we are as a company, some of the practices that we live by in terms of being a sustainable company, doing our part for the environment, being a nice place to work.
So in addition to social media – we're doing Facebook, Twitter, all of those – we get out there, we do a lot of presentations through universities. We try to do education for students who are graduating and moving into the workforce.
Basically, spreading the word through as many different sources as we can, focusing on younger engineers that are graduating from school and helping them learn the business.
Todd Youngblood: Don't look at me and smile when you say younger.
Todd Schnick: We both looked at you. We both looked directly at you.
Todd Youngblood: The grey hair is very distinguished, I thought.
Todd Schnick: Jen, you mentioned the word “sustainable.” I know that Trojan is very focused on sustainable technologies. Could you talk to us on your focus as an organization as far as sustainability?
Jen Muller: Sure. A part of it is what we do within our organization as far as our recycling practices in the building. In addition to that, we try to do, with our products as well, design products that generate a smaller carbon footprint – that use less electricity, use fewer lamps that last 20 plus years – so that the impact of the technologies that we're putting out there is less and does well.
Todd Schnick: How's the economy impacting the work that Trojan Technologies is doing?
Jen Muller: You know, it's interesting. I think there's always ebbs and flows in businesses. One thing that's interesting about Trojan is that we do have several different divisions. We have industrial, we have residential, and municipal.
So there's always ebbs and flows in the different businesses but, overall, I think things are going really well.
The drivers remain in place for municipalities to convert to UV disinfection – the environmental benefits and those reasons – so they're not going to go away, so things are going well.
Todd Youngblood: Yeah, and I would think the diversification you have in terms of the markets you serve is certainly good economically. Well, one segment’s down, another segment's up. But I would think trading technologies and knowledge and ideas and processes among those different segments makes a lot of sense too. Is that part of your role?
Jen Muller: A little bit, yeah. Definitely we do that, whether it's a lamp technology, or a sensor, or research groups. We share knowledge within all of our different companies and work together quite closely.
Todd Schnick: We're out of time, Jen, I hate to admit it. But before we let you go, share with the audience how they could get in touch with Trojan Technologies and learn more about the work that you're doing.
Jen Muller: All right. Well, there are many different ways. There is Facebook, there is Twitter, there's our reception at 3 o'clock this afternoon. We're in booth 1501 over in the South Hall, so come by, have a drink, and we'd be happy to talk more with you.
Todd Schnick: That's where the reception is, in your booth?
Jen Muller: Yes. Todd Schnick: Repeat that booth number please?
Jen Muller: It's 1501, in the South Hall.
Todd Schnick: Todd, you got that down?
Todd Youngblood: I got it.
Todd Schnick: Outstanding. Okay, Jen Muller with Trojan Technologies, it's been a pleasure having you. Thanks for joining us.
Jen Muller: Thank you. It’s my pleasure to be here.
Todd Youngblood: Thank you, Jen.
Todd Schnick: That wraps a segment. On behalf of Todd Youngblood, I'm Todd Schnick. Water Online Radio will be right back.