Guest Column | October 15, 2019

WWEMA Window: WEFTEC 2019 From A Manufacturer Representative's Perspective

By Carl Janson, Riordan Materials Corp.


Many in our profession have recently returned from WEFTEC 2019, which was held in Chicago, IL, September 22 to 25, 2019. That week is one of the busiest weeks for manufacturer’s representatives, with the hosting of visiting clients to meet with various principals, principal training sessions, and time spent at the principals’ booths. WEFTEC gives us the opportunity to meet with key personnel from those principals who exhibit at WEFTEC (our firm had about 20 of our principals exhibiting) and to walk the exhibit floor to see if there are any new potential lines that we should secure. There is also a wealth of technical presentations for us to attend to keep abreast of the latest technology, regulatory, and government issues.

Our evenings at WEFTEC are filled with Water Environment Federation (WEF) hospitality events, principal hospitality events/dinners, and opportunities to have dinner with some of our clients. This year I also volunteered at Saturday’s annual Jammin’ for Water event, which is a phenomenal fund-raising event with musicians and volunteers from the water and wastewater industry entertaining attendees. It’s a great event and I hope attendance continues to grow.

This year’s WEFTEC featured 992 exhibitors occupying almost 300,000 square feet of the exhibit floor and 22,500 attendees (one of the largest crowds in a decade). Nearly four dozen teams competed in the 32nd annual Operations Challenge with Rocky Mountain Water Environment Federation’s Elevated Ops team taking first place in Division 1 and the Water Environment Association of Texas’ South Mesquite Rangers taking first place in Division II. Even though the competition was intense, all teams had a cooperative spirit. The competition had an international flare with a team from Denmark — The Great Danes — competing from Aarhus Vand, Denmark. Next year’s WEFTEC will be held in New Orleans, October 3 to 7, 2020. I also plan to attend in 2020, which will be my 47th WEFTEC — not missing a WEFTEC since I joined the industry in 1973 (I hope to be able to reach the 50 mark).

Also this year at WEFTEC, I moderated and spoke at a Wednesday morning technical session entitled “Buying the Right Equipment to Meet Your Facility’s Needs”. My fellow session speakers were Paul Moulton, PE, of AECOM; Bob Domkowski of Flygt | Xylem; Ed Pelton of Pelton Environmental Products; David Hughes, PE, Scarborough Sanitary District; Doug Wachsnicht of Goodwin Brothers Construction; and Michael S. Denniston, Partner, Bradley Law. The session was well attended, with speakers presenting the consulting engineer’s perspective, municipality perspective, manufacturer’s perspective, manufacturer’s representative perspective, contractor’s perspective, and lawyer’s/legal perspective of specifications and water and wastewater equipment procurement. Following the speakers’ presentations, there was a roundtable discussion with questions from the audience. This session emphasized value-based equipment procurement.

Business continues to be steady and we encourage ALL to emphasize the importance of water — because, as WEF’s messaging campaign attests, Water’s Worth It.

Carl E. Janson is a WEF fellow, sales associate for Riordan Materials Corp., and a longtime member of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA), chairing WWEMA’s Manufacturers Representatives Council. In that capacity, he also serves as the ex-officio representative for the council on the WWEMA Board of Directors. WWEMA is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit trade association representing water and wastewater technology manufacturers and service providers since 1908. WWEMA’s members supply the most sophisticated leading-edge technology and services, offering solutions to every water-related environmental problem and need facing today’s society. More information about WWEMA can be found at Consider joining today and adding your voice to the conversation!