Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2015 - (Page 11)
FrOM tHe PreSIDeNt
By Charles Hilton,
As I write this,
the conference is still about 30 days away. I am looking forward to seeing
many of you in Oklahoma City and I know we will have had a great conference just from the
tremendous amount of work the NRWA staff is doing as I write this to put the conference together.
Thank you, NRWA staff!
When I learned the theme of this issue was "public relations," I simply scratched my head and
said, "What can I say about a subject I know so little about?" And yet just recently, I made the
comment at a state conference that sometimes I believe we need to get rid of general managers
and CEOs who are engineers and scientists and hire public relation experts as their leaders!
When I look at bottled water and water dispenser sales soaring and being touted as a safer and
better product than tap water, I can only ask why we have buried our head in the sand for so long.
I recently read an article that said, "...government and industry estimates about one-fourth of
bottled water is bottled tap water (and by some estimates, as much as 40 percent comes from tap
water) - sometimes with additional treatment, sometimes not."
Why has this occurred? It is because we have done such a poor job in our own industry in
promoting the safety of the product we produce. Now I realize that most of us as GMs or CEOs
probably do not have the best marketing/PR skills as most of us are trained in technical skills. If I
remember from Biology 101, I would be considered "left brained - analytical and logical" versus
those who are "right brained - creative and imaginative." However, does that excuse us from
helping the public understand the safety and value of public water delivered at the tap? I recently
saw bottled water being sold for $0.39 a gallon in a large chain store
if you brought your container. That equates to $390 per thousand
gallons, a rate that I don't believe any of us charge. Or even better,
$0.69 for 500 ml of bottled water equating to $5,220 per thousand
gallons. Yet my rate of $2.25 per thousand gallons (or 4.17 tons of
water) delivered to your kitchen faucet is considered by some to be
outrageous. Why is that?
I would propose the answer to that question is that although
we know we are doing a great job, we do nothing to promote our
utilities' good work that is done 24/7, 365 days a year. Do your utility
workers' uniforms promote Quality on Tap - Our Profession - Our
Commitment? Is that same logo on your water tanks and vehicles?
Why not? Is it because you - like me - are left brained?
I challenge each of us to do a better job of "telling our story" in a meaningful way. When do I
talk to the press? Unfortunately, many times only when I have to. Why not tell the good work that
we do every day instead of the problems that are experienced occasionally? This issue will help us
left brained people understand the role of public relations and marketing. I look forward to reading
the articles as I know I need help in this area. I think we can all do a better job. ●
I CHalleNGe eaCH OF
uS tO DO a Better jOB OF
"tellING Our StOrY" IN a
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2015
From the President
Who’s Telling Your Story?
Quality on Tap!
New Affinity Partner Takes the Pain Out of Having a Website for your Town or Water System
You Own Your Dreams
Another Successful WaterPro Conference
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/ Advertisers.com
From the CEO
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2015