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The Water Quality Association (WQA) hosted a grand opening Sept. 13 for its new international headquarters and laboratory in suburban Chicago. The larger, state-of-the-art facility allows increased capacity, flexibility and efficiency for Gold Seal product testing, industry training, and membership services.
"Our amazing new laboratory and offices will allow us to serve more members of the industry, certify more products at a quicker pace, and provide additional education and training that will ensure that our members have the know-how to provide the proper solutions," said Pauli Undesser, WQA's executive director. "So this new building is a launching pad for all of the incredible things our industry can do for residential, commercial, and industrial water treatment."
WQA President Toby Thomas, president of Kinetico, Incorporated, said, "We are at a pivotal moment in the marketplace. We are being called upon to help protect people's lives and improve the quality of their lives. This new facility . . . allows us to take not just a next step, but a 'giant' next step forward."
Among the local officials who attended the ceremony and toured the building were Lisle Mayor Chris Pecak, Illinois Sen. Laura Ellman, D-Naperville, and Greg Bredalov, President and CEO of Choose DuPage, an economic development group.
WQA, a not-for-profit trade association representing the residential, commercial and industrial water treatment industry, moved to the facility at 2375 Cabot Drive in Lisle from a building it had constructed in Lisle in 1982. The WQA Board of Directors officially approved the relocation plan in April 2019, after more than two years of research and planning, and the former headquarters was sold to another Lisle-based association in March 2020, right as the coronavirus pandemic hit.
WQA, an $11 million association, employs 70.
"When we decided we needed to move, we could have looked elsewhere, but we felt this is our home," Undesser said. "And we kept these jobs right here in Lisle and DuPage County."
Most WQA employees began working remotely in March 2020, but the laboratory remained open throughout the pandemic and during the year-long buildout and relocation process. Over the last several months, other WQA employees have been returning to the workplace, at least a few days a week, although the new facility's technology allows seamless teamwork between remote and in-person employees.
The relocation was assisted by a "Building Our Vision" capital campaign, which contributed more than $400,000 in funding and equipment. Donors are honored in a mural on the building's second floor.