Name of Business: Premier Tech Aqua
Services: Environmental Technologies Group
Number of years in industry: 24 years
What got you started in the onsite wastewater industry?
Back in the early 90’s, I pursued a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering in wastewater treatment process at the École Polytechnique de Montréal. My thesis subject focused on modeling the hydrodynamic properties of a peat filter-based media bed. This research project was funded, among others, by “Tourbière Premier”, which is known today as Premier Tech Aqua.
After my Master’s degree, I worked for few years as a wastewater treatment process engineer for a consultant firm where I was closely involved with the R&D team. Following this first professional experience, I wanted to see other things and live new experiences. So, for a little more than five years, I worked as Project Development Director for a consortium of six companies specialized in a complementary sector of the waste management industry. We were working at developing and implementing Integrated Waste Management Programs in emerging countries. September 2001 was really detrimental for our group as most of our projects were in areas of high instability. Thus, after a few months of trying to pursue our projects and raising additional funds, it was decided to terminate our activities. Interestingly, Premier Tech Aqua was part of that consortium. Out of the six companies involved, four offered me to join their team. I decided to return to my “premières amours” and join the PTA team and continue my career at protecting the valuable resource that is water.
Initially involved with the R&D team for the development of new filtering media, I took over the development of the US market and products approval/certification for North America. Over the years, my role has evolved to Product Director, which involved guiding teams in the orientation of their strategic positioning in terms of development and optimization of our products and services. My functions have also brought me to play key roles on several steering and advisory committees throughout North America, namely with the BNQ, CSA, NOWRA, NSF, local provincial and state organizations. My current role at PTA thus includes the responsibility of all US and Canadian product certifications and approvals.
Give us one reason/secret for your success.
I believe that the key to my success is that I listen well and take the time to better understand the issues at hand. I like to think that my personal skills are also an asset as I am able to mobilize people behind an issue and can be convincing when a consensus is called for.
My presence on several advisory committees and scientific panels has provided me with invaluable information thanks to my many exchanges with renowned experts and key industry people. This has been key to increasing the depth of my knowledge; and I now possess a wide diversity of skills and the vast know-how required to offer expert advice and counsel.
Where do you see the onsite industry going?
I certainly believe that we need to convince authorities, to various degrees, that on-site and decentralized systems are a viable solution for servicing. Publicly funded big pipe solutions are no longer sustainable and reflect less and less how communities have chosen to expand and where families decide to live. The industry can now confidently stand behind certain technologies as many have been in use and installed for decades. Their performance and durability have been fully demonstrated, and they have proven to be just as reliable and even offer advantages over conventional systems. There is no reason why technologies should still be perceived as non- conventional.
What can the onsite industry do to improve?
All stakeholders must focus their actions on ensuring the proper management of resources. Existing and new systems should be adequately followed to ensure that our water resources are well protected. The past several years have brought incredible technological advances, and the interest for sustainable solutions and environmental stewardship will drive a continued growth. Our future will undoubtedly include rain water harvesting, water reuse, reclamation of our waste stream and much more. Our industry must prepare for their arrival and remain ahead of these trends. Regulations will thus need to adapt accordingly by moving forward with responsible and sustainable integrated water resources management that looks to long-term solutions for water preservation.