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The Water Quality Association (WQA) has elected a new president — Toby Thomas, president and CEO of Kinetico Inc. Thomas has 30 years of experience generating growth, tackling complex strategic issues and building world-class capabilities in leading companies both inside and outside the water treatment industry, and he says WQA has never been stronger.
"The opportunities ahead of us as an association are vast as we emerge - and we will emerge - from this pandemic," said Thomas, who was elected president of the WQA Board of Directors April 27. He succeeds DJ Shannahan, owner and operator of four water treatment dealerships.
In remarks at WQA's Annual Meeting, Thomas outlined his "three main areas of focus in the coming year: successfully driving WQA out of the pandemic; advancing the awareness of water quality and WQA's preparedness for a broader, more public stage; and broadening membership and deepening our member engagement."
In 2021, Thomas wants WQA to effectively finish commissioning its new headquarters and lab facility, maintain and improve on financial gains the association has made, "and to reestablish our important face-to-face engagement at Convention, Mid-Year, and regional events."
Thomas will push to advance the awareness of water quality by increasing WQA's advocacy efforts at the federal and state levels, working with affiliated associations and organizations to promote the unique value of water treatment in resolving water quality concerns, driving consumer awareness and knowledge through WQA's leadership, and strengthening WQA's brand recognition.
Another goal is to see WQA broaden its membership and deepen member engagement through face-to-face gatherings and by building on member engagement programs such as the Women in Industry and Young Professionals advisory councils.
"Let's build on the success we have had and move WQA to an even more influential, value-creating and engaging association for us all and for the public," Thomas said. "I'm ready! We're ready!"
WQA has a 24-member board of directors: 15 elected representatives of manufacturer/supplier members and nine from the dealer membership category. Eight directors, including Thomas, serve as the Board of Governors.
Thomas has served nine years on the board of directors, including four on the board of governors. He also has served on the board of trustees of Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario), from which he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.