How Open Innovation Fueled Evoqua’s Resurrection: Steal that Growth Template!

Let’s unpack Evoqua’s intricate approach to Open Innovation – a strategy that significantly optimizes technological adoption and capital efficiency. We’ll get an expert breakdown, offering insights into strategic intellectual property development, the nuances of their merger and acquisition strategies, and why the Product Vitality Index should become your next key performance indicator:

with 🎙️ Ann Perreault – Vice President for Strategic Marketing & Growth at Evoqua Water Technologies

with 🎙️ Joshua Griffis – Director of Technology & Innovation at Evoqua Water Technologies

💧 Evoqua is a global leader in helping municipalities and industrial customers protect and improve the world’s most fundamental natural resource: water

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What we covered:

💧 How net water positivity is the new gold standard, making a splash beyond just offsetting usage to actively generating more water.

🤝 Why strategic IP development safeguards the partnerships Evoqua is building in the industry, making it more than just a game of patents.

📈 What the real playbook behind Evoqua’s acquisitions reveals: it’s not just R&D expenditure but a broader, synergistic growth strategy.

🤝 How synergy supercharges tech: Joshua and Ann discuss that when two technologies collide, they often create something greater than their individual parts.

🎯 What every water business needs to grasp: Customer needs are like shifting sands, and understanding emerging trends and problems is key to hitting the target, says Ann.

📈 Why mergers and acquisitions aren’t just Wall Street buzzwords: M&A is woven into Evoqua’s strategy as a critical channel for forging significant partnerships, according to both interviewees.

🌍 How Evoqua’s footprint is more global than you think: Contrary to popular belief, Ann implies Evoqua’s global presence is often underestimated.

🔍 Why profitability is not an end but a means for Evoqua, enabling them to engage in ambitious, industry-shaping initiatives.

💡 How innovation is the new black: Ann emphasizes that sustainability isn’t a sideshow; it’s the main act, embedded at the core of impactful innovations.

🎯 Why “de-risking” is your new buzzword: Both speakers agree that helping companies “de-risk” by doing the heavy lifting on feasibility and validation can fast-track adoption.

🤔 What failing fast really means at Evoqua: If you’re not failing, you’re not learning—this mantra isn’t just for startups; it’s infiltrating the big players too.

📊 How the Product Vitality Index is your new KPI: Forget conventional metrics; Ann suggests that measuring where your revenue comes from in terms of innovation investment is where the future lies.

🎯 How customer insights aren’t a one-and-done deal: Diving deep to truly understand customer problems can reveal the nuanced layers beneath.

🌍 Why location flexibility enriches talent pools: restricting staff to physical locations is yesterday’s news, says Perreault, when a world of talent is just a Zoom call away.

📈 What scaling your operation really takes: The journey of scaling a function often throws more curveballs than you initially thought.

🌿 Why sustainability is more than a buzzword: it’s about achieving homeostasis with your environment for the long haul, not just slapping a green label on things.

🔥 … and of course, we concluded with the 𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙙 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 🔥 


Resources:

🔗 Have a look at Evoqua‘s website

🔗 Come say hi to Ann on Linkedin

🔗 Then make sure to also connect with Joshua on Linkedin

(don't) Waste Water Logo

is on Linkedin ➡️


Teaser: Open Innovation


Full Video:

https://youtu.be/vGaxHtnts_s

Infographic: Open Innovation

Cracking-the-Open-Innovation-Code-The-Evoqua-Journey


Editorial: Open Innovation

Xylem and Evoqua’s merger is not the only link between last week’s conversation with Max Storto from the Xylem Innovation Labs, and this week’s deep dive with Ann and Joshua. Indeed, in just a minute, we’ll delve into a paradigm-shifting model we touched on last week: Open Innovation.

To ensure we have a common understanding of the term, Open Innovation fundamentally alters how companies think about their innovation process. If you remember my conversation with Glenn Vicevic from Veolia, he defined Open Innovation as Innovation that’s not closed. We had a good laugh, still, it’s true: the Idea is to break open the former R&D silos, to enter the age of porous boundaries and shading frontiers, where external ideas and technologies flow into the organization, and internal ideas flow out into the broader ecosystem.

Long before this got to be a thing in the Water Sector, we’ve seen companies like Procter & Gamble, flipping their R&D approach to connect with external innovators. They sourced ideas from around the globe, leading to breakthroughs like the Swiffer.

To take a more techie reference, consider how Apple’s App Store empowers an army of developers to build upon iOS, creating value for both Apple and the broader user community. It’s a win-win scenario, optimizing resources, and accelerating market-ready solutions.

But why is this a pivotal discussion for the water sector? Open Innovation could be the key to unlocking new technologies, sustainable practices, and financial models that address pressing water issues – you know, the ones that just got evaluated as a multi-trillion dollars business opportunity by CDP – if you missed that one, go check my YouTube channel for more.

But for you listening to this, why does all of that matter: well, companies that successfully adopt Open Innovation practices could leapfrog in growth and impact. They could be faster to ride trend waves, have a more efficient use of their capital, put technology adoption on steroids, and if you’re a regular of this podcast, you know how that’s the game changer.

Hence if, for sure, everything can’t be painted in pink, and silver bullets still don’t exist, getting a glimpse of the way Evoqua leveraged open innovation strategies to inspire your own innovation approaches is quite a generous gift from Ann and Joshua, which really didn’t hold back when it comes to sharing.

You’ll leave this episode understanding the vital metrics and benchmarks to assess Open Innovation opportunities, as well as actionable tips for investors, in-house strategists, and entrepreneurs keen to leverage this model before it becomes an industry norm.

Remember, if you appreciate the value shared today and for free, you can help me out tremendously by sharing this episode with a friend, a colleague, your boss, or your team, if you’re new here make sure to subscribe, I insist, it’s entirely free, and it helps me to keep getting incredible guests on that microphone. Last word before we take off, if you’re in New York on the 19th of September and you like free sharing of incredible water value, you may want to join the Rethinking Water Conference at the Forum at Columbia University, the link is in the description, and I’ll be there the entire day to record some more interviews. Come share a recycled wastewater beer with me in the evening, and I’ll meet you on the other side!

Full Transcript:

These are computer-generated, so expect some typos 🙂

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Antoine Walter: Hi Ann, hi Josh, welcome to the show. Hello Anton. , two on one, that’s an unusual setup, but you promised to be kind, I’m sure you will.

Joshua Griffis: Good ratio in our favor, right? Yes.

Antoine Walter: I have a tradition on that microphone before we jump into the real topic, which is to ask you a postcard about the place you’re usually at.

So what can you tell me about the place you’re working, living, which I would ignore by now?

Ann Perreault: I come from the central U. S., Minnesota. it’s a very diverse climate, right? We’ve got very cold and very tropical temperatures.

the postcard in your mind has to be both summer and winter if you’re thinking about Minnesota. I would add to that we are known for our 10, 000 lakes, so water is a very important and accessible resource where we are. But I also think that my passion for what I do comes from also the appreciation of what we have there.

Antoine Walter: Similar

Joshua Griffis: story for you?

Somewhat. I live in a town called Ashburnham. It’s about an hour west of Boston in Massachusetts, and it’s a pretty small town. Good schools, right? I have two daughters. But I like it because it’s pretty sparse, a lot of trees, four seasons. It’s just a… A nice place to live.

Antoine Walter: So you are both representing Evoqua today.

Can I just ask you, like, the elevator pitch to your roles before we jump into the big topic?

Ann Perreault: I lead our strategic marketing and innovation within what’s called our APT. So it’s our advanced products group. Evoqua is made up of both a significant service organization that is very technology agnostic, but innovative and problem solving.

And then the product side of that is really driving innovation and solving problems across. Source process and wastewater drinking water as well.

Joshua Griffis: my role director of technology and innovation, My team does a lot of technology scouting on behalf of the ISS segment. So again, integrated solutions and services like you had referenced beforehand and much of what we do is to go out and find those technology agnostic tools, the new and up and coming tools that are organization isn’t currently using today, and then to bring them into the segment, introduce them to the segment, test them, evaluate them, and try to get them into the hands of our commercial stakeholders.

Antoine Walter: So you’re looking for innovation outside of what you’re doing today?

Joshua Griffis: External framing. Yep, absolutely. With an eye to the internal, right? We have specific technologies that we use today. And oftentimes when you can interface two technologies, you can get something that’s better than either when you put them together.

Antoine Walter: and where do you pick that technology? Is it universities, startups, all the companies?

Joshua Griffis: In terms of framing, as you were saying before, and our company has a two segment structure, one half of our companies focuses on products. The other half focuses on solutions and services, right?

Within that solutions and services segment, there are defined customer verticals, for example, microelectronics or the oil and gas and energy industries, each of those individual. Groups has key stakeholders who come back to us and define their need statements. And so when we are going out and looking at technologies, it’s usually framed through the lens of the customer as provided to us by our internal stakeholders.

And then , as technology scouts, we take our unique perspective, our unique lens, and we go out and we scan for technologies that are a fit. With the one caveat that we tend to refine more to later technology, later stage technology readiness level offerings. So things that are in academia is certainly worth noting.

But things that are farther along in their, commercial journey they tend to be the preference for us.

Antoine Walter: So when you say TRL, do you have a specific target as to which you start to pick it?

Joshua Griffis: Yeah, I’d probably say TRL 6 to 7 , is like the threshold and like anything you probably want to have a portfolio of technologies where some are newer, some are later stage, and some are truly advanced and fully commercialized.

And we try to take a similar approach to that.

Antoine Walter: So how do you interface? Do you often work the two of you together? How does that work?

Ann Perreault: So a couple of different ways. As we look at how we advance and how we invest in R and D and innovation within the company, part of that process is also looking at partner and opportunities outside of our company, right, for advancement in technology and innovation.

So there’s an ongoing and constant relationship of understanding. I think in terms of even what we prioritize, what we look at, understanding the strategy, where, what customer problems are we trying to solve? Where do we have opportunities for growth? And then also just, Continual cycle and feedback with regard to the learnings and the feasibility studies and what they bring back is helpful to us in terms of, which direction are we going to go for investing internally or investing externally to achieve what we’re targeting.

And then the other piece of that, too, is as we look at companies for, maybe more significant partnerships with their M and A type potential is another area where we interface very strongly.

Antoine Walter: How do you identify some challenges which you want to uncover or solve? Do you act like the fly on the wall at your customer place and try to understand what’s wrong, but you could be doing better?

Ann Perreault: I think that’s a key component of our investment in that strategic marketing and product management function on both sides of the businesses. They play the role of really understanding the customer need, probably more intimately along with our sales teams, right? And then alongside of that is really the market.

So our job is really to understand the market. Well, what are the trends? What are the emerging problems, contaminants, what are the things that are driving our customers to think differently or the needs that they have? And that really helps us prioritize, where we’re focusing.

 maybe it’s opportunistic. It’s probably much more on purpose. And, with focus and intent we’ve Especially I think in the last couple of years, I think really even honed in on from a vertical market perspective to what applications can we really solve so that we can scale the business and we can, from a cost standpoint, profit standpoint, but also impact for our customers is really have a proven solutions and capabilities.

You have to have a starting point, right? Right.

Antoine Walter: Yeah. I’m sure neuroscientists would really hate me for that question. But you have this image of the left brain is creative. right brain is analytic. I know it’s not true, but…

Joshua Griffis: We were actually just discussing that

Antoine Walter: the other day. Are you left brain, right

Joshua Griffis: brain?

Anne’s left handed and I’m right handed.

Ann Perreault: It makes me both. I think honestly it is a mix of both to be successful in… Anything with innovation, anything, even strategy and growth is having both the ability to analyze and be analytical about what’s happening and be thoughtful about even the pace of change, right?

And if the framework and the structure is in place to really support. Where you go. But the creative side of it is, that’s the fun side. And I think the side also that is if you don’t have a strong enough opportunity to think outside the box and be creative, you maybe miss opportunities for real breakthrough.

Joshua Griffis: You need an environment, right? You need to create a place, a safe space for innovation. And that’s one of the really nice aspects of the technology and innovation function, right? We truly bridge engineering, which is the repeated application of a technology, to a specification. the creative landscape, right?

The new and next, the art of what’s possible, right? We have to go find that and find the bridge and make the two match. And that’s where you have the left and the right brain, the creative and the engineering.

Antoine Walter: that what makes you Evoqua’s Inventor of the Year?

Joshua Griffis: I’d say that’s probably part of it.

Right. We, like I was saying before, we have a very safe space, right? So as we see customer problems, it gives us the opportunity to solution and the, like the inventor of the year metric is based off of invention disclosures, pre patent filings, that build up into provisionals, which later build up into proper patent filings.

So. , in my role and with my team, we have the opportunity to look at many different verticals, many different domains, and we take the technologies and we’re connecting them. That comes with a lot of ideation, and that ideation becomes the seed of invention, and invention turns into, patents, which , found the basis of competitive advantage.

So, I’m fortunate, I have a fantastic team around me. And because we’re able to cover so much ground that kinda is what enabled it.

Antoine Walter: Let’s try to put Evoqua on the map, if you will. From my research, 82% of your revenue are U. S. based. You crossed the Atlantic to be here at the Blue Tech Forum Edinburgh.

Are you exploring new fields or what’s your perspectives in terms of future development?

Ann Perreault: I think it’s a great question and probably also misrepresents the true footprint that Evoqua has globally. And the impact that we have globally. Our ISS business, the services side of the business, is a North America based business, and so that is where you see that 82% and, really heavy driver of that revenue, but if you think about our products business that is much more evenly dispersed in terms of global footprint, a strong presence here in what we call the EMEA region, so, right, Europe, Middle East, Africa as well as in our APAC, so, if you think about APT, the product side, I can’t tell you that it’s a third, But, we are certainly much more balanced in terms of that revenue.

Antoine Walter: How do you roll out those products in those regions? Do you go to the big EPCs and they would then integrate and somewhat distribute for you? Or how do you do?

Ann Perreault: Our go to market strategy is really a strong channel strategy.

So we have channel partners, system integrators, OEMs that we work with across the globe, really, that are a part of that strategy for us. We also, though, have local footprints, right? So we have local offices in Germany, in the UK in Singapore , whether that’s labs manufacturing sites, engineering teams, we’ve really even in our team in India, right?

We’ve got a nice footprint there as well. , so we are also very much locally, a local presence, I would say.

Joshua Griffis: Yeah. And on the integrated solutions and services side of the business, it’s broadly, across North America, right? And again, as I’d said before, we have a vertical market structure broken into like a heavy industry division, a light industry division, and then a municipal services division.

It’s tough to say what the distribution of revenues are across all of those verticals. But I would say, there’s a fair distribution between solutions, right? Engineered systems, capital solutions that are operated by a group like, Evoqua. And then also services, things like service ion exchange, where you’re actually bringing tanks to customers and ensuring that they have water continuity, consistently.

What is it they say? Uptime, on time, every time. So that’s, that’s kind of a

company motto.

Antoine Walter: Let’s forget the objective figure. Let’s go the subjective figure. You have these two arms of the business or two legs. I don’t know how you define it. What’s your winning service? And what’s your winning product?

If you have to pick only one, I know it’s asking you what’s your preferred child, but

Joshua Griffis: I mean,

water one SD., it’s digitized offering for delivering service, the eye and exchange. That’s been a heavy hitter for us both in terms of revenue and margins. It’s a very profitable business. With a pretty novel business model, it’s a digitization of a service offering that allows you to maintain that continuity.

So if I had to pick one across the segment, that might be it. And then on the APT side,

Ann Perreault: it’s difficult to pick one. Yeah, you could say that certainly be one of the bigger certainly our EDI solution on the filtration side. I would almost back that up though to say I think that because part of our approach is really de risking it for customers and helping customers from source.

through process, all the way through wastewater. Drinking water is certainly a part of that, that it’s really creating that ecosystem, so it’s not one product for us. It’s really looking at it from a solution standpoint. And whether that’s, monitoring and analyzer controller type capability, all the way through to treating the water so that it’s safe for whatever its use is.

I think that’s probably really where our advantage comes in is that it doesn’t have to be one product. It’s really more what’s the outcome and that’s really what Water One does as well, right? It’s very outcome focused. So I would say that’s more really our position is doesn’t matter what the technology is.

It’s just what do we need to do to solve the problem.

Joshua Griffis: We’re focused on the customer needs.

Antoine Walter: Yeah. If you look at the water sector, it’s not two or three dimensional. There are many more dimensions. One thing I’m curious is the application. I was acting as the devil’s advocate on the hydrogen roundtable. And I hope I didn’t piss too much your colleague who was supposed to be the angel’s advocate.

Mr. Darren Dale,

Joshua Griffis: yes, a good colleague of ours.

Antoine Walter: But hydrogen, and in that case, green hydrogen is, I guess, a pretty new vertical or new application Evoqua. I guess you have more like that. I would hypothetically think of, battery, lithium, I don’t know what, whatever is trending. Lithium mining,

Joshua Griffis: lithium recovery, right, critical

Antoine Walter: resource recovery.

So do you go into these applications? What’s your approach and how do you roll out in these new verticals?

Joshua Griffis: Yeah, oftentimes it starts with a vertical market strategy, right? So like on the ISS side, we’ll categorize it by the given division where it aligns with, and then our… commercial leads will start to unpack how they’d like to approach the market.

And then at some point, they pull in the technical leads to think about the technology basis, what offerings do we need to have to be successful? Green hydrogen is a good one because we have a whole portfolio of technologies that can address the water treatment requirements of a green hydrogen electrolyzer.

Anything from the front end, where you might be taking in a groundwater source or a municipal water source, all the way through to the ultra pure step, where like a mixed bed deionization or a And I on pure CDI module might be appropriate.

Antoine Walter: But how do you decide on the right surface of offering? Because you could say, I go into the PEM electrolyzers, and then I need to find a critical resources or even do the electrolyzers myself.

Or you say, wait, the critical components is the water. We have an expertise in that. Let us put together the ultra pure water loop.

Joshua Griffis: And then the customer need that comes along with it. So there’s often a specification. Like what is the critical need for the customer that defines the treatment coming upstream.

Green and hydrogen is another good example because there’s a defined water quality specification that you need to operate the electrolyzer as a producer.

Ann Perreault: I think what I would add to that maybe is more, getting Again, taking a step back and thinking about for us, it’s identifying really those major trends and, in this instance, in terms of with especially with green hydrogen is, as you said, we have already, several technologies that are going to key in that process in terms of treating the water.

And so I think for us, it’s difficult to be bleeding edge, right? It’s difficult to be on the edge of things. So it’s really finding those major trends and then getting ingrained into that and being a part of the solution, a part of the process that helps really drive that forward. Because I know there’s a lot of excitement, especially around green hydrogen, but that’s not going to happen overnight that becomes, the major source of energy or that it ever will be.

But it’s certainly a very compelling when you look at the renewable, right? And the demands for the drive to carbon neutral or, net zero is pretty critical. That the solutions and technologies like that continue to grow. We have been in power, oil and gas for some time. And so this is just a natural transition for us to continue to, evolve into what’s next.

Joshua Griffis: It also frames our technology scouting lens too, right? So we go in and we define the need. We know where we want to go. What do we need to be successful in terms of, the technologies that we have today versus the ones that we might need in the future. So , there’s another aspect to it, like a chronological trajectory, as it were.

Antoine Walter: Can we take an example? Maybe. Earlier stage, maybe in your next vertical, not that I want you to disclose me something which you would not be ready to, but I guess you’re making big bets based on the macro trends. Can you give me one which you wouldn’t have fully developed yet where you would be in the process?

Joshua Griffis: Maybe some themes, like for example, renewables is a place, renewable energy is a place where we’re beginning to ramp up. And emerging contaminants. We’ve developed a lot of IP and taken a good hard look at the space. So we feel like we have a pretty good understanding of what it’ll take to be successful.

And then just the enablement of, of offerings, service offerings or technology offerings. That’s the next phase in the evolution of any of those verticals.

Ann Perreault: Yeah, I would agree. I think it’s more the problems that the verticals we serve today are facing and how that’s changing and the landscape for them.

And in many companies, even here this week, I’ve been talking about not just net zero, but net positive in terms of water and water impact. And you look at the balance of that carbon neutral and then also net zero net positive. There’s some big challenges that I think all of us as technology companies are gonna be thinking about.

Joshua Griffis: Even the concept of net water positive is such an interesting one, what does net water positive represent? It’s not just replacing the water that you take in. It’s actually that you’re also finding a way to generate water. It’s just food for thought.

Antoine Walter: I think you were the first sustainability report where I found this concept of the footprint, the handprint and what you do beyond that.

I was preparing for a conversation with Lisa Marshuka, and that’s how I, got to read that report. And since then, you had a positive influence on that sector. I don’t know if you are the one which had the influence on the others, but to me, you were the first mover. So I would credit you. As a company.

Yeah,

Ann Perreault: I think we all have that. We need to own that, right? That we’re not just a technology company and helping customers implement solutions, but we need to. And I think that handprint footprint was really a critical turning point for us in terms of our commitment to sustainability as well.

Joshua Griffis: Yeah, it’s our fourth corporate value. So it was recently instituted as one of our corporate values. And there’s even some incentivization around it also, right? Like, and that’s our way of backing up the talk.

Antoine Walter: You define how your process to innovation has a lot of external components. And I looked a bit into your numbers.

and I found that you were spending 0. 9% of your revenue on R& D. Those are the figures for 2021 2022. I rounded it. So it might be 0. 89 or 0. 91, but let’s say 0. 9%. I also looked at what Paul O’Callaghan had thesis, Dynamics of Water Innovation, which is then a bit more historic figures. And he had 1. 6% on record.

So I would say you are between this one and two percent, which makes you a middle of the pack in this industry. There are some which are spending less. And a few which are spending more, but not the amounts you would see in Silicon Valley or this kind of stuff. So

Joshua Griffis: like, to your point, though, if you look at the year over year trends, there’s a distinct trend, and if you focus on, the fruit of what we do a lot of technology scouting, as I said before, a lot of external innovation, looking more towards open innovation.

We are very I don’t want to say aggressive, but we are very pointed in terms of IP development, right? And we use that to protect the relationships and the partnerships that we develop with external partners. And there is a significant footprint internally for, again, internal product development. So, new and next generation products, value analysis, value engineering, taking the products that we have in our portfolio and evolving them.

That, that’s something that you could probably speak to, man. Yeah,

Ann Perreault: So when I think whenever anybody looks at that number, when I joined Evoqua, I looked at that number and said, why and how much right? And just to understand that but that’s one metric that doesn’t necessarily represent all that we’re doing.

Certainly it’s very, I would say, probably on par with like traditional industrial companies and what but we’ve also made some really, I think, strong choices in terms of acquisition, right? We’ve added a number of companies even in the last few years that don’t show in your R& D number, but are a huge part of what we’ve done to augment our portfolio.

We’re also making investments right now around really platforming and ecosystem. And a lot of what we’ve done has been more internally focused on a, from a customer standpoint, right? How do we make it easier to interact with our technology? So regardless of the controller, regardless of the equipment that, it’s a common user interface.

On the start of that. So, I think that as we look at that, tech scouting and what we do with partnerships to really de risk, improve out technologies, as well as what we do internally on that platforming right now, and then with acquisition, we’ve probably had a really good balance, and I think would almost say we have a robust, portfolio.

We have industry leading technologies in many of the areas that we compete today. And it puts us in a position of being very thoughtful about where we put the dollars next.

Joshua Griffis: Strategic innovation, right?

Antoine Walter: Let me address it in the room. We won’t be discussing your merger with Xilin because that’s not the topic which you can’t discuss right now.

So, I just want to address it so that we will not put a name

Joshua Griffis: to the elephant, right?

Antoine Walter: Yeah. Because I think what you said about the acquisition is integral to the story of Evoqua. I forget now the name of the founder of us filter, Dick Heckman, Dick Heckman. Thank you. He had this quote of US filter was a crappy little company which he built to be US filter, then got acquired by Veolia, wasn’t best acquisition from Veolia, then got acquired by Siemens thinking they would be doing better.

They didn’t do better. And then Evoqua was very successful on his own. How much of that internal change culture is still present? Do you have people which have lived through those? 20 years of evolution.

Joshua Griffis: We still have some. Like, in my team, I can think of at least two people who have continuity back through the Siemens days and even before.

They see a significant change, but they also really do love the focus on innovation, the focus on growth they see the difference in structure, and it shows, I think, in our financials as well. Right. Like we are a very profitable, very effective company in what we do today.

Antoine Walter: Where I’m heading with that question is that. Evoqua from the very beginning had in its DNA that growth would be the aggregation of companies which fit together and technologies which fit together. And I think that makes a major difference to companies which at some point of their history found out that they needed to add one leg.

From the beginning. Add multiple. Yeah. A sum of Lego pieces. All right. Does that still reflect in this external approach and really external innovation?

Ann Perreault: I would say yes. I think absolutely that’s one of our strengths and one of the aspects of our culture that I love. And what’s on the horizon for the future is still very much a growth play.

So, in when things are approved and closed it is very much about a growth play and I think taking the best of both companies. Right. And in addition to that, it’s making sure we don’t break anything, right? It’s, having been through many acquisitions as a company, and many of us have been through, even through other companies the learnings you take from that are critical to the success of how we go forward.

Yeah.

Joshua Griffis: I feel, and just one thing I’d add on, I feel like it’s an evolution of that sort of strategy, right? The logical next step is, here are our Legos, here are our building blocks. What additional pieces do we need to make new things, in order to, to continue with our growth? It just, it seems very logical.

Antoine Walter: It’s a curiosity question. Maybe you can’t answer it. Or maybe you don’t want to answer it. Up to you. We’ve seen over the past two, three years a consolidation wave in the water sector. And you’re just one of the members of that wave. That’s not my question. My question is along that consolidation wave there were sales of pieces of companies and the multiples which we’ve seen there were pretty high.

We’ve seen multiples above 20x for Veolia Mobile Solution being sold to SAUR. How does that influence your strategy as a company which is looking for external acquisitions when you think maybe 20 times as a multiple. It’s too high. We can’t afford to take such a risk.

Joshua Griffis: Well, we have a whole range of options when it comes to, partnership types.

Not every move has to be an acquisition. Okay. You were saying yesterday, that open innovation should be a strong consideration, in the future. And if you think about, again, the different levels of partnerships, there’s everything from a channel partnership all the way up through an acquisition, with many shades in between.

So taking every partnership, at face value, crawl, walk, run, you need to learn about a technology before you can begin to apply it. And then once you apply it. And you have better questions to ask, like, what do you do with it? What’s the potential of the technology on the long term?

But you might not ask that at the very beginning.

Ann Perreault: Yeah, you really have the easy part in M& A because it’s the fun part of technology where on the business side, it’s the business case and, the payback. And can you actually make the financials and the numbers work?

And so I think it becomes much more of a strategic decision at that point in time, right? addressing a gap in your portfolio and it’s one that you know is critical to and where we go in the future? Or is this something that’s more of a, augmenting something that would be nice to have?

And then that’s where you get into a little bit more challenge about, can you make the numbers work? But it’s no surprise with where we’re at today. And I think that the kind of turning point we are with technology that companies are able to demand that kind of a multiple. But yeah, it’s a difficult one.

Antoine Walter: I have one, one more m and a question and then let you go with that. I had a conversation with Karl Michael Millauer on that microphone, and he’s representing 35 companies, which are up for sales or partnerships. And all of those are with sales, somewhere between half a million and ten million. And it’s a size of company which has.

Big difficulties to find someone who’s ready to acquire them or team up with them or do a partnership with them. Is it a size of company where you as Evoqua could be working with?

Joshua Griffis: When you say working with, do you mean working with towards an acquisition or do you mean working with in terms

Antoine Walter: Any kind of shape just described.

Joshua Griffis: I would say that they would fit, a company like that might fit the profile of an evaluation.

Ann Perreault: Oh, for sure. An evaluation or a partnership. Sometimes companies that size for us, it’s that strategic partnership for both of us can work better. We don’t slow them down. But we have, some sort of an agreement in terms of how we go to market.

So I think it’s really. I wouldn’t say size of company has an impact initially on the evaluation or what we consider, but certainly, an acquisition for some, a company that size of private will, unless we’ve done some tuck ins in the services side where if it’s something, that’s regionally, technically, something that’s a strategic fit, but.

Joshua Griffis: A big part of, I think just commercial activity in general is risk, right? If you have a customer who’s reliant on your service. For their operations, continuity of their operations, they can’t, again, to reinforce it, they can’t afford that downtime. So, much of what we’re trying to do is de risk the offer.

And if you have a new technology provider who might have a novel technology has a great treatment effect, but doesn’t have as much information on stability, longevity, and then continuity of operation and you then integrate it or implement it. That is a risk to your customer and you have to balance that against, the magnitude of the effect.

Like what am I actually accomplishing with the technology? And we always, being innovation forward, it’s something that we have to keep in our heads and not get ahead of ourselves because we need to put the customer first.

Ann Perreault: The rate of change, right? The pace of innovation and technology is at a rate we’ve not seen before, but for our customers to actually adopt, especially if it’s new and a different approach, it takes time.

Antoine Walter: You both mentioned innovation and impact. So I need to ask you what’s your definition of innovation with impact?

Ann Perreault: It’s a couple of different things, right? So for us, it’s very much, we are a water technology company, right? So we are looking at this, many of the challenges that the world is thinking about in terms of scarcity

in terms of clean water, quality, things like that. And so for us, innovation with impact, mean, oftentimes that sustainability aspect is just a core of what we’re doing. We’re measuring we’ve implemented models to help us even measure the impact that we can have with the technologies that we make available today, so that’s one piece of it.

The other thing that I would just say too, is that as we look at emerging challenges, whether that’s PFAS or other, contaminants or other issues that the industry is facing, I mean, oftentimes we can help. We’ve said this a couple of times now, de risk, but really help companies that are going to take longer to adopt, help, de risk some of that and do more of the feasibility work and do more of the proof work and bring more of the validation forward to help with adoption.

Antoine Walter: There’s nothing wrong with de risking. Yeah. Big hurdle on the, it’s on the way of innovation. , it’s an industry where nobody wants to be first, and everyone wants to be first to be second. So if you can de-risk it, for sure, I wouldn’t be shy of mentioning it. .

Joshua Griffis: Yeah. And impact, you can frame it from the lens of.

of Evoqua, you can frame it on a personal level, ultimately it comes down to impact to who, right? Who’s the stakeholder? Who’s the value?

Ann Perreault: To the shareholders. There’s an impact on the financials too, that is also a significant portion of the decision.

Joshua Griffis: So like as a personal citizen, like a benefit to, someone in a water starved area, like Ivosa was talking about this morning, that’s a, that’s an important driver for innovation.

Might it be different from what we’re doing today, maybe?

Antoine Walter: You mentioned the individual layer, which is one which is not as. Discussed as the other one. So I’m interested to have your opinion on that one. How important is it for the people working for Evoqua to feel like. They are having a positive impact.

An impact, hopefully positive, but an impact.

Joshua Griffis: In the innovation space, like as like I’ll speak, maybe on behalf of my team, we try to create a safe space where you’re free to innovate, right?

Antoine Walter: Free to fail. How much of a challenge is it for a company like Evoqua?

You’re listed, you’re a big company. Can you dare to fail?

Joshua Griffis: There’s an aspect of that. Not everything that we do will succeed. When we go into a technology evaluation and we’re working with a partner, we’re doing it to validate claims there are claims which you want to know to be true.

So you go through and you conduct, lab scale, benchtop evaluations field demonstrations in order to validate those claims are true. Not everything works the way that you might imagine. And again on the benchtop in the lab, very different, you know, real world empirical conditions.

You encounter things that you might never have anticipated. So failure is almost an understood, I would say,

Ann Perreault: The intent is to fail fast.

Joshua Griffis: Yeah. Fail fast. Or learn fast.

Ann Perreault: Learn fast. But yeah, it’s.

Antoine Walter: I couldn’t understand the two sides, honestly. I had the conversation yesterday with Veolia who said at, at their scale, fail fast is no longer really an option.

You, you have to be a bit safer because yeah, a lean startup , is a cool concept, but maybe not if you’re the largest company in the world. When I’m hearing you mentioning. Failing fast innovation external. You are on the product side. You are on the strategic marketing side. If I put all of that together and I try to put a buzzword at you, that’s growth hacking

Joshua Griffis: I’ve noticed that. Yeah. That term, you’d mentioned it before. Right. And scale is relative. Right? Like oftentimes what we do is the, interface it’s the bridge between the external and the internal, and external companies, small companies, startups, are incentivized to have velocity, to proceed quickly, fail quickly.

We’re the bridge, so we have to be able to appreciate their perspective, as well as that of the larger entity, the larger company.

Ann Perreault: is really key to that. But if you think about the product side, certainly on the product business, we have a robust portfolio, right? We are tackling challenges across a wide variety of technology capabilities.

And so certainly we are more conservative in terms of how big or bold we are, because oftentimes companies our size will leverage external partners, external companies, the startups, As a way to fail fast or to get into and understand a technology,

Joshua Griffis: even internal product development, we have a very robust product process for internal product development, new and next generation.

And it goes at a pretty good clip. We’ve advanced some new technologies like being faster.

Ann Perreault: Yeah, always. That’s always the case. But yes. Yeah,

Antoine Walter: I’d be curious to see one, one specific thing about your process for product development. I’m working for GF Piping Systems and we started two years ago to introduce sustainability as a gate.

Like if the new product is cool, much better in terms of technology. But doesn’t improve the sustainability, it doesn’t get developed. Yeah. Do you have something similar in place?

Joshua Griffis: In both halves of the company? Right, and I have a bit of expertise, having pedigree from both halves of the company. .

And our current, product development process. In the product side, there’s a sustainability check. And similarly on our solutions side and our stagegate process for technology validation. There’s a sustainability check and we have sustainability liaisons in our formal group who come in and they’ll do some level of auditing and they’ll serve as a stakeholder as a key voter in either process.

Ann Perreault: The score doesn’t kill the project, but it’s a part of the metrics that we look at.

Antoine Walter: It’s like a hot potato in the water sector. We see at the influence of E S G investors and we, everybody has E S G targets and some will tell you it’s a key metric. Some others will tell you it’s one metric between those two extremes.

Where would you sit?

Ann Perreault: It’s a metric. It’s part of the focus and the priority.

Joshua Griffis: You have to balance it, right? Like, do you have freedom to operate? Is it commercially viable, ? Is it a sustainable technology? These should all have, a good weight in terms of the equation when you go to approve put a project on hold.

Antoine Walter: I’m asking because I read a study by Julian Kölbel and Florian Heeb which were my guests. 18 months ago, something like that, on that podcast. And they were looking into the positive impact on e s G investors’ behavior. . And what they found out is pretty sad, but I’ll link to their full article in the show notes.

It’s. If you have an impact, it doesn’t change the behavior of the investor between if you have a little impact or if you have a big impact, as long as you have an impact. What I want to say is that if you’re 0. 5% better, they will invest equally in you as if you are 50% better because you’re better and the important thing is better.

Joshua Griffis: That’s probably a step in the journey though, right? Like there’s an awareness component I would imagine in the investment space. And so, maybe that’s, just the first step for some.

Antoine Walter: As we’re talking metrics for you individually, each of you, what is your key performance educator?

Do you share the same?

Ann Perreault: As a company, right, we have common goals that roll up, but within the organizations that we’re a part of, it’s going to be very much driven by, functionally what we do, right? So our, we’re measuring product vitality index. So when you get into, how much are we investing in innovation and where does our revenue come from?

Antoine Walter: I never heard of product vitality before yesterday. And now it’s two interviews in a row where I’m hearing that. So I’m going to ask you the same follow up question. What’s your product vitality right now? I don’t know. Do we share that publicly? And I got the same answer.

Ann Perreault: I don’t know if we do. And I would say that it’s an area that we are.

We are focused on, we look at it every month, right? So we’re looking at where we’re at, we look at it annually. And… Sorry,

Antoine Walter: just… Just double digits, but… Just to, oh, just to define it, just to see if I remember the definition yesterday, because I’m really a muggle. It’s okay. Fully new to me. Vitality is the share of the revenue, which comes from your own innovations.

From new products, yes, new products. Okay.

Joshua Griffis: Across some time period. Over a period, yes.

Ann Perreault: Of time, double digit. ’cause companies will look at over three to five years, depending on how they measure it. But

Antoine Walter: has it always been double digit or is it improving and reaching double digit?

Ann Perreault: It’s not always been the truth, but that’s also part of how we came to be as through acquisition because you, we haven’t, some companies will count acquisition revenue in their product vitality index.

And so then you have a higher number. We’ve been very true to the, our MPI and where we’re investing or new product, right? So, so yeah, so that’s one of the major areas that we look at. We’re like, we’re measuring profitability, right? We’re measuring sustainability. So what with the products that we bring to light, What’s the impact that they can have and so we track that.

Antoine Walter: How do you read the Vitality? Is it the product development team has done an awesome job and hence you have a high vitality? Or is it the market and marketing team has done an awesome job at identifying the challenges so that the product That’s the perfect question. Rich. The product market fit, I mean it’s,

Ann Perreault: ’cause as a product manager you are both.

That’s what it is. As a product manager, you are the strategic arm of the company. You are, you’re the general manager of the product portfolio. And so you’ve got to understand the product, the customer, the market. And so when we look at improvements in product vitality index, we say we got it right. We understood the customer, we understood the market, and our go to market strategy, our sales teams, it’s that whole, team coming together and really executing.

So commercialization is key to that.

Joshua Griffis: But you also have to have a good product development team, like able to take the specification, right? Understand it.

Ann Perreault: Oh, you’re part of that? So just, yeah, there’s three legs of the stool. If you don’t have sales, product management and R& D or development together, then you, that’s where you miss.

Because you hear, I wasn’t leaving you out. I wasn’t leaving you out. But you hear things differently than I’ll hear things, which is why when we’re together, understanding that problem and how we work to

Joshua Griffis: solve it. We complement each other quite well.

Antoine Walter: So for you, it was vitality, profitability, sustainability?

And if you have to influence the, to revenue growth, right?

Ann Perreault: We’re looking at certainly revenue, top line, bottom line. And then the other thing I would say is we also measure on time, right? So we’re measuring just our in the business case, right? Did we really deliver on the business case?

So we call our say do ratio and essentially did you set, what you set out to do, did you actually deliver that?

Antoine Walter: Okay. Say you do. Okay. I was thinking of the French actress . What, What does that have to do with, yeah, sorry. Okay. The French dispatch. . So, so those are your indicators. What are the ones you share and what are the ones which would be different?

Joshua Griffis: So my, my I’d speak more to my closed team type metrics. We have four KPIs that our team is judged on. One is ip, one is actually work products are we. coming to a yes, no, hold decision, fairly quickly but then also personal development and safety. Because we want to make sure everyone goes home safely.

All of our options are safe. Every Evoqua meeting starts with a safety moment. And personal development, because we want our people to feel like we’re investing back into them. So it’s not just about having a safe space to create innovation and be creative. It’s also about you as a person. Where are you headed in your career?

And how can you align the company and the person together? And if you achieve all those things, magic happens.

Antoine Walter: Do you have a special trick for personal development?

Joshua Griffis: Every person’s different, truly. It’s really just being sensitive to the needs of the people that you’re working with and the needs of the company and how they align.

That’s, it’s as simple as that, I’d say.

Antoine Walter: If we look now in my crystal ball and we look in five years, ten years, you’ll tell me maybe your horizon is one year plans or 20 years plan. So whenever is your… Your cycle, which you’re aiming to watch, we’ll tell you were successful.

Ann Perreault: So I don’t have a time frame around what, how I look at that right now.

We’re on a, at a very interesting point in time in terms of an integration that’s in, in a pending integration, but I would say for,

Antoine Walter: because there’s an elephant in the room or…

Ann Perreault: no, but I think for us, we’ve got significant plans in terms of our growth. And when I think about me. In my role in that I have got a long term view of how that goes. And so I’m very committed and passionate about this industry. So I think we’ve got a lot that we can do in terms of how we enable our customers to be successful.

So, I know that’s a very vague answer to a specific question, but I think it’s probably the right. answer for right now with where we’re at in our journey. Fully understand.

Joshua Griffis: On my side, we’ve done quite a bit of evaluation. We’ve looked at many, we’ve got some partners that we’re working with that we think are, very unique and special.

So the idea that some of them may come to fruition and we may, actually be, conducting commercial activities together would be a wonderful outcome. Yeah.

Antoine Walter: Anyone you can mention? No. I tried. It was worthy. It was a pleasure to have that deep dive with you. Thanks a lot for the openness.

Topics, which you will be able to cover next year. And in two years, I don’t know how long this kind of process takes. We’ve seen that for the other big merger. It took some time and it’s not fully done. So I, the

Joshua Griffis: these activities always do take time, right? Yeah. Two big entities reconciling into one.

Yeah.

Antoine Walter: And I guess you really want to make it right? Exactly. Yeah. Because the integration is gonna make the big difference. I know I’ve made. There’s lots of jokes about the synergies, which are always painted in pink, but on this one, it’s not often. My opinion was positive, so for what it’s worth.

Ann Perreault: Now it is. I think that’s the general reaction from the industry. It’s very exciting for all.

Joshua Griffis: And that might be the better definition of success. It’s looking at the prospects for the final entity that results.

Antoine Walter: I propose you to switch to the rapid fire questions.

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Rapid fire questions:

Antoine Walter: The first question is what is the most exciting project you’ve been working on and why?

Joshua Griffis: Oh, I’ve been working on a couple biological wastewater treatment projects and then a couple with emerging contaminants. Those two I think could be movers and shakers, so maybe there.

I think I can disclose those, yeah. Of course.

Antoine Walter: Biological wastewater treatment, is that still exciting in 2023?

Joshua Griffis: It depends on who you ask.

Antoine Walter: Because you’re having specific Technology is not just the brown jacuzzis.

Joshua Griffis: Oh, There’s more there. We’re digressing . I told you I would . That’s me deflecting .

Ann Perreault: I think on my side it’d be really around ecosystem and platforming development that I mentioned already earlier that I think is so critical to continued growth and scale and also that customer experience.

Antoine Walter: Can you, one thing that you’ve learned the hard way.

Ann Perreault: Many things I’ve learned the hard way. No . You know what I would say is it I’ll focus from a developing new product perspective. Understanding the customer problem doesn’t typically, you don’t typically get the the problem defined in the first answer they give you.

And oftentimes companies can be quick to take that problem and start to develop a product to solve it and not realize some of the other barriers and challenges along the way. And there’s been a few projects that I’ve been a part of where we didn’t dig deep enough. And, that’s in my career.

That’s not necessarily as much an Evoqua right now, but I would say that is one that many of us have found a challenge.

Joshua Griffis: It resonates. I guess on my side, the act of growing and scaling a function that it often takes more work than you would imagine at the onset. And it’s not just individual.

It’s a team activity, building, building up a, an organ or an entity. So that would, that’d probably be my answer.

Antoine Walter: Is there something you’re doing in your job today that you will not be doing in 10 years?

Joshua Griffis: Oh gosh. I’d love to not have to sign expense reports.

Antoine Walter: I’d love not to have to make expense reports.

Ann Perreault: I think, some of the things I think about are more back office, right? Data and just how we leverage data today. Certainly that’s a really fast changing and evolving. I think both how we operate externally and internally. And so those are some of the things I’m sure in 10 years will be much different and much easier.

But 10 years also goes fast. And I’ve been around long enough to know that sometimes you think the things that won’t be there in 10 years are still there.

Antoine Walter: None of you mentioned the most given answer to that question, which is travel.

Joshua Griffis: Oh, really?

Ann Perreault: We’ll still travel. Yeah,

Joshua Griffis: I feel like that’s unavoidable.

Ann Perreault: The human connection that happens in person, you can’t, I love what we’ve been able to do virtually.

And I think as a global company, we need to be able to be that way. But in person is something you can’t replace.

Antoine Walter: To give people a sense of magnitude, especially given your two different fields of work. How often are you in the office?

Joshua Griffis: 30%? Sometimes half. Depends. Some weeks where there’s travel, you may be in or out.

Depending on where you’re headed in normal weeks.

Antoine Walter: So 30 to 50% in the office, a bit of travel, a bit of home office, or how do you…

Joshua Griffis: Yeah, that’s about the balance.

Ann Perreault: We have a hybrid model that… I think works really well. And so it’s very much based on project and need. I have a global team, so I’m not in any one particular office.

It’s more getting to all of the offices and spending time with the teams as needed.

Joshua Griffis: Yeah. The concept of an office is almost disambiguous, right?

Ann Perreault: I’m always in the office, is what I would tell you. Yeah. It’s just a different office every week. Yeah. So

Antoine Walter: I’m asking ’cause it’s one of the things which surprised me the most.

interviewing several people at Xylem when I noticed that none of them were in the same city. And I was like, maybe they have really a lot of offices. And then I found out that a lot of them were really working remote. And that’s a culture which has developed with the pandemic.

Joshua Griffis: Accelerated. To flip it around a bit, right?

When you think of the concept of the remote office, now you start to think about engagement. Like how many hours during a day are you actually engaged? And you might actually find that you spend more time. in the, air quotes office than you otherwise would if you were in a physical office. And that’s a, that’s a real trend.

Would you agree with that?

Ann Perreault: Yeah. I think that we’re getting back to more normal what would be like pre COVID right travel and getting out to customers on and being in the office. But I think the future is certainly that hybrid model. And you know what, that’ll, companies have two schools of thought.

When you limit yourself to only locations where people, you limit people to the locations where you have physical sites, you limit the talent and the capability. And so I think that hybrid model allows us to bring in expertise from all over the world and not be limited by a zip code.

Joshua Griffis: Yeah, that’s a fantastic point. I agree strongly.

Antoine Walter: I have to pick up on that one. Sorry for the digression. You are number three and number four, which I’m discussing within Evoqua, and it’s perfect parity because I spoke with Snehal Desai last year, spoke with Lisa Mashuka, and spoke now with the two of you.

So perfect parity, two guys, two women. I think it’s the only case, when I started this podcast, I really had, as a premise, I would have 50 50. Didn’t last four episodes. I was really, I couldn’t bring enough women on the microphone to to fill that gap. And the reason why I’m taking that right now is you mentioned you don’t want to miss on a part of the workforce and the talent out there.

Diversity, diversity of workforce. And we are an industry where 83% of the water professionals are male, which sounds to me like we are missing a good portion of the talent out there. Do you have a comment or do I keep it as a remark?

Joshua Griffis: My immediate team, we have, pretty much even gender parity and a strong, almost, 80, 90% of the team is international.

In terms of origin, and it’s really important because diversity of thought, diversity of experience really does lend to a richer perspective, and I celebrate that, and I wish that was the nature of the industry, even more broadly.

Ann Perreault: I love how you answered that because I think it is about diversity, not just gender. Absolutely. Right. And I think that’s the key. Why is it that way? It’s not necessarily because I think that it’s by design, it’s just more roles that, people have chosen in career paths or education paths.

I think the STEM programs and a lot of that work is really changing the landscape of who goes down that engineering or technical route. I also think right now because water scarcity, environment, climate change is becoming so much more of a bigger concern. Globally that you’re going to see probably much more diversity in that because people are, more interested.

Antoine Walter: I’ll digress once more and then I’ll stop with that. Oh, good. I’m having fun. Artificial intelligence is very trendy. What is and Oh, ai.

Joshua Griffis: AI in the computer domain,

Antoine Walter: right?

Yeah. No. And everybody finds it Very cool. There was an experiment, I think it was eight years ago by Amazon, where they put AI as as hr.

So AI was deciding which profiles shall go into management roles, and AI picked only white male in their thirties, forties. Yeah. It identified a pattern and it reproduced a pattern and I think that’s a bit what’s happening in our industry. I’m not asking you to comment on my rant. It’s just that, yeah.

Joshua Griffis: Image analysis, right? Like in hospitals, they implemented deep learning, AI and deep learning, and they found that some of these AI, computers were able to identify race just simply based off of, maybe bone structure, but there are details in x rays that could differentiate with high levels of accuracy.

That’s a bit staggering if you think about it,

Antoine Walter: but that resonates with what you were saying about the human interaction we’re still human beings. We need to travel. We need to see people and we need to have. In the flesh meetings to, to have human connections. So, and I’m closing my digression.

Sorry to, I’ve taken you very far away. What is the trend to watch out for in the water sector?

Joshua Griffis: Buzzword? Sustainability, but that’s not necessarily a buzzword because it’s a buzzword. It’s just a sustainable, like if you take biology, a good organism is homeostatic in its environment, it’s at balance in its environment and that’s what’s best for its long term existence, so when I think about, different corporations in the water industry, I think that’s a really important theme is, the ability to be at balance in your environment and to operate, for the longterm, much like a biological organism.

Ann Perreault: Yeah, I would say with that emerging contaminants and that continued focus that’s going to continue to be an area that’s driving investment.

Can you be more specific? I could certainly be more specific. I think if you’re thinking about anything in terms of, biological right or chemicals in the water, as well as and of course, like the micro contaminants and plastics and metals and I think those are going to continue to be areas that I mean, we’ve only just begun to write if you don’t have the regulation and the mandates and the funding there to address it.

It’s a growing problem that needs focus.

Joshua Griffis: And it’s fascinating that people are paying more attention to their water quality, across so many of those different axes, right? Like, the presence of emerging contaminants or plastic solids, whatever it may be, just the anthropogenic effects that are affecting our water quality.

Antoine Walter: I had that conversation a while ago with Megan Glover from 120 Water about the fact that if you take a cereal bar, you know exactly what’s inside. If you’re taking a glass of water, it’s water and you don’t know what’s inside. So. It’s coming. But the reason why I asked you to be a bit more specific is that usually there’s a very different definition on emerging contaminants, depending on which side of the Atlantic you are.

And it’s often PFAS in North America and it’s often micropollutants and endocrine disruptors in Europe because of the way regulations have been set.

Joshua Griffis: Just regionality, like different focus, areas for different cultures. It’s fascinating.

Ann Perreault: When you look on the treatment side, right, from a dis, even a disinfection lens, you think about when, why I say, bio, biological issues, right?

Is it. The way we would have treated maybe water with a chemical solution is not now the only way you have to then bring in UV or, other treatment applications because of the superbugs or just other things that are in the water, and so I think it’s really staying ahead of that curve and how do we bring the right technologies, to solve for those.

Antoine Walter: If I instantly became your assistant, you can delegate me one task and I can’t promise I’ll do it, but still you can try. What would you delegate to me?

Joshua Griffis: I think I queued that one up already. Expense reports, my friend. No.

Ann Perreault: I would go down the track of primary of industry Analysts and bringing back more insights.

And, I think that for us, as we look at those major market trends and our formulating strategy, especially where we are in terms of like, a new company, new vision for the future. Be really, I think, digging further into that as well.

Joshua Griffis: Truthfully, marketing would be one area because, so much of what a technology group does is engineering focused.

It’s like the innovation and the creativity associated with the application of the problem. And it’s oftentimes a completely different skill set. to, to share awareness and knowledge and to convey the understanding of what you’re doing and why it matters. So I feel like that would be a very unique niche that you could fill.

Antoine Walter: I said I’m not obliged to do it, but it sounds sounding a little attractive. Yeah. Sounds interesting. Last question. We have someone to recommend me that I should definitely invite on that microphone as soon as possible. From Evoqua or from wherever you want, can be your neighbor, can be your gardener. But if it makes sense to the podcast even better.

But I don’t know, maybe your gardener has a very good receipt on how to put water and I don’t know.

Ann Perreault: I think that there is a long list of people that have attended the Blue Tech event this week. it should be on your list. There’s been really some bright, I think, innovators and thought leaders in the space that have been incredible in terms of their impact on the value of this week.

Joshua Griffis: Two deep thinkers, from Evoqua that I would strongly recommend my good friend and mentor, Simon Dukes, and then also my my good friend and colleague, Scott Branham. Both of those gentlemen are absolute titans in water, and I think you’d find their perspectives refreshing.

Antoine Walter: Well, thanks a lot for the recommendations.

If people want to follow up with you after this interview, where shall I redirect them the best?

Ann Perreault: Email or we could send you contact information.

Joshua Griffis: What’s best email? Yeah. For the for the next few weeks. While it’s the same, maybe. . It’ll be long.

Ann Perreault: It’ll be for longer. Yeah. Our email’s not changed.

Who knows? We’ll see. There’s no way you’ve got time.

Antoine Walter: So the emails like always would be in the show notes. So have a look if you want to follow up. Thanks a lot for everything you shared today, and I hope to have. A conversation somewhere down the line, maybe at the next BlueTech Forum, maybe somewhere in between.

Joshua Griffis: Thank you. We appreciate it. Thank you. Cheers, Antoine.

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