With an extensive background in drinking water standards and regulations, new Water Quality Association (WQA) President Stephen Ver Strat is prepared to lead the industry association through a challenging year – a year that will see WQA begin the process of relocating its international headquarters and laboratory.
Ver Strat, regulatory policy director at Amway, was elected president of the board of directors during the 2019 WQA Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas. He succeeds Chris Wilker, formerly of EcoWater.
“I appreciate the support and the opportunity to be president of this organization for the coming year and hopefully move the industry forward,” Ver Strat said.
But he recognizes it is going to be a challenging year, with the government working on trade agreements with China and also striving for regulations on polyfluoroalkyl substances, a large family of man-made chemicals known collectively as PFAS.
“I actually come from an area (Michigan) with a very significant PFAS issue,” he said. “There is not a simple answer. It's going to take the industry working with safety officials and regulators to get a better understanding of the challenges and how our industry can react to it."
Also challenging will be the relocation process from WQA’s home of more than 35 years.
“We have utilized every inch of available space,” Ver Strat said. “I will have to dedicate much of my time as WQA President to this task. There's a big future ahead for our industry, and we are going to be ready for it."
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 Ver Strat, serve as the board of governors.
Ver Strat has more than 30 years’ experience in the residential home appliance and residential water treatment industry. His position at Amway requires engagement with regulatory officials, trade associations, certifying agencies, and standard development organizations. Ver Strat has been a WQA member for 34 years and in 2010 won the WQA International Award of Merit.