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A Revolution in Leadership in 2024!
Eric Lopez, Arrowhead Leadership Consulting

In 2012, the Army underwent a revolution in leadership that transformed the modern-day battlefield. Today, companies need to undergo this same type of leadership revolution to stay relevant on the "battlefield" of today's business environment.

Colonel (Retired) Eric Lopez graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1996. He served as an infantry officer in the Army for 25 years with assignments in many historic units. Eric served seven combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded four Bronze Star medals for his combat deployments. Eric's final command assignment was serving as Brigade Commander for the US Army 3rd Recruiting Brigade where he led over 2,000 soldiers and civilians across all or part of 16 Midwest states.


Eric has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the United States Military Academy. He also has a Master's degree in Military Studies from Marine Corps University and a Master's degree in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. 

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Eric is the Founder and CEO of Arrowhead Leadership Consulting, which helps businesses develop their leaders to improve workplace efficiency and growth profitability. Eric also speaks to a variety of audiences across the country about innovation, emotional intelligence, and leadership.


PFAS & Microplastics Workshop

Bob Hirst, President / Sole Proprietor
Sonoran Drinking Water Advisors LLC

Bob Hirst was with IBWA for almost 24 years and oversaw the audit program for that time. He also served as IBWA’s liaison with the Food and Drug Administration on regulatory matters impacting the bottled water industry. He supplied comments to FDA on applicability of new USEPA rules on bottled water, thus assisting in development of new FDA rules for bottled water. He led IBWA from a basic GMP audit program in the 1980s and 1990s to HACCP-based audits beginning in 2002. In 2011, Bob initiated an education program to educate IBWA members on the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Preventive Controls Rule. That training included 16 Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) workshops, for which he issued nearly 300 PCQI certificates. In 2015, Bob began work with the IBWA Audit Program Evaluation Team, Technical Committee, and Board of Directors to develop a new FSMA-based audit program that was designed to continue assisting IBWA members with FDA and state regulatory inspections. During several disaster events over the years, Bob served as an industry liaison to FDA, the Department of Homeland Security, CDC, and several relief organizations and trade associations, including the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN). Bob retired from IBWA in March 2022.

In May 2022, Bob opened his own consulting practice, Sonoran Drinking Water Advisors LLC, based in his new hometown of Sun City, Arizona. Bob consults primarily for IBWA, but also assumed the position of Education Director for CSBWA beginning in 2023. Bob also speaks at state/regional bottled water association meetings. He continues his relationship with ALAN and assists where needed in disaster response. Bob is active now on 3 committees in the Arizona Water Association. He also continues pursuing his photography passion, now with a focus on the beauty of Southwestern US landscapes and rich history.

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Throughout modern history and since the Industrial Revolution, man has developed products to improve our lives. Unfortunately, knowledge of many of these products and their long-term impacts on the environment, and the long-term effects on human health were not known. Thus, the eventual disposition of these products was not managed properly, and chemicals and their byproducts ended up in our soils, waters, air, and foods. We continue to discover the short- and long-term effects of the thousands of chemicals now found in unexpected places on our earth.

One such class of chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS, were instrumental in making food preparation and firefighting more manageable. Foods could be prepared on non-stick surfaces, making work in the kitchen easier. Fires started by combustion of fuels and other flammable materials were contained much faster than in the past.

No one can argue the benefits of the invention of plastics in our world. They have become a part of everyday life and can be found everywhere from food and beverage containers to automobile and aircraft parts. They are durable, but many do eventually end up in landfills after their useful lives. They break down into smaller, even microscopic particles, and are carried by wind and water throughout our environment.

This session will look at the current knowledge of the human health effects of these materials and the regulatory community’s efforts to control them and to protect our health. We’ll start by gathering an understanding of what they are, how they were used, the benefits, and now their drawbacks. We’ll look at some of the knowledge gained, efforts to better understand their effects on our health, and how they will be regulated in both the near and distant future.

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Leadership Effectiveness Workshop
Candice Wentling

Whether you are with a large or small company, the need for leadership skills is essential. With a focus on what employees need, this presentation will walk you through the skills and procedures necessary to build and train your skills and the skills of your team for sustainable & profitable growth and retention.

Candice Wentling is the Director of Certified Action, a business advisement and training company, and has been conducting sales training, field coaching, and leadership accountability seminars for the last 15 years. Her degrees in Business and Social Work lend well to leadership and employee engagement. Within the water treatment industry, Candice has extensive leadership and field sales experience, has organized training programs, conducted workshops, worked directly with on-boarding and training of new employees, and became a Master Water Specialist and active committee member with the Water Quality Association. She has been honored with the EWQA Distinguished Service Award and the WQA Award of Merit. She serves on the Board of Directors for the EWQA and the WQA.

State & Federal Legislative & Regulatory Update

Joe Doss, President and CEO, International Bottled Water Association

Joe Doss, President & CEO International Bottled Water Association will update us on the current state of State & Federal Legislative and Regulatory issues facing the bottled water industry.

Joe Doss has served as President and CEO of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) since 1999. He has extensive experience in association management, food and drug, government affairs, public relations, and legal issues. He has a proven track record of strategic thinking and planning, managing complex and controversial issues, and building consensus among small, medium, and large companies.

Joe has a B.A. in Government from The College of William and Mary and a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He has completed an executive management course at the Center for Creative Leadership. Joe is a member of the Bar in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He serves on the Board of Directors at the International Council of Bottled Water Associations and is a member of the Food and Drug Law Institute and the American Bar Association. 

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Securing Your Business: A Roadmap to Cybersecurity Best Practices
Chad Greenlee and Jake Wagner, Creative Planning Business Services

In an era where digital threats are evolving at an unprecedented rate, it's crucial for small business owners to fortify their defenses against cyber incidents. Chad Greenlee and Jake Wagner from Creative Planning Business Services will empower you with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the complexities of IT and cybersecurity.

They will offer a practical roadmap to enhance your cybersecurity posture, featuring up-to-date examples and insights. Whether you're looking to understand the basics or refine your existing strategies, our session will guide you through a mini-assessment to identify vulnerabilities and showcase real-world scenarios illustrating good, bad, and optimally protected practices. Equip your business with the resilience it needs to thrive in today's digital landscape.

Chad Greenlee is the Business Manager for Creative Planning Business Services. Chad plays a pivotal role by engaging directly with business owners and leadership teams across various business lines, including Business Tax, Audit and Attest, Outsourced Business Accounting, Payroll Services, Technology, Mergers and Acquisitions, Consulting, and Enterprise Solutions. Through his 20+ years of leadership experience, Chad has formed deep relationships in both dealer networks and professional services. 

Jake Wagner is the Technology Solution Sales Manager for Creative Planning Business Services. Jake leads as the subject matter expert on all things Managed IT and Cyber Security. With a demonstrated history of working within the information technology and services industry, Jake collaborates with 9 unique channel sales and account management teams within Creative Planning to help generate solution awareness, thought leadership, and prospect engagement. As both a consultant and a peer, Jake's ability to socialize relevant business implications and convey simple decision points establishes him as a voice of truth in a very saturated and noisy industry.

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Maintaining Your Bottled Water Plant
Clay Bell, Melwood Springs Water Company

Effective maintenance and operation will ensure the sustainability of your business. You must ensure that you carry out routine maintenance activity on your plant. I'll recommend a quarterly check to ensure the longevity of the different machines. 

The average maintenance cost of a plant is between 4 - 5 % of the total revenue of the plant. Under poor operations, maintenance costs over 10% of the asset replacement value yearly.

Clay Bell is Vice President and General Manager of Melwood Springs Water Company where he oversees daily operations and sales for the Blue Ridge Georgia facility. He has 39 years in the Beverage industry with Shasta Beverage, Pepsi Cola, and Melwood Springs Water Co. Clay is Past President of the Southeastern Bottled Water Association (SEBWA), and a Certified Bottled Water Plant Operator, PCQI qualified. Clay lives in Blue Ridge Georgia with his wife Tamme where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren. Clay is also an avid beekeeper maintaining 50 hives. 

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Utilizing CRMs to Grow Your Business
Jay Trumbull, Culligan Water Franchises

CRMs allow your team to collect and organize data about prospects and deals using reporting features such as sales dashboards. These allow reps to better automate and manage their pipelines, deals, and contacts. The key to any successful sales organization is the ability to plan strategically and make informed decisions. With the CRM reports, you can pull in key metrics like monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and year-over-year (YOY) growth, which make it easier for sales leaders to identify trends and develop performance-related forecasts. 

Jay Trumbull, Sr., of Panama City, FL is the President/Owner of Culligan Water Franchises with seven offices in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. He also owns a plumbing company and HVAC company in Panama City. Jay served several years on the Bay County Planning Commission, the Panama City Housing Authority, the Bay Medical Board Foundation, and the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. He was appointed to the Florida Transportation Commission in 2011 and served as Chairman from 2015 - 2019. Currently, Jay serves on the Board of Trustmark National Bank. Jay was recently appointed to the Triumph Gulf Coast Board; a nonprofit corporation organized to oversee the expenditure of funds recovered by the Florida Attorney General for economic damages to the state that resulted from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Jay is an Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Panama City. He and his wife, Tammy, have been married for 34 years and have three children and seven grandchildren.

Next Generation Employees: Their Views, Goals, and Vision
Iverson Garrett, Nantze Springs
Joel Burger, Sequoyah Water
Ryan Pons, Culligan Water Franchises

A panel of Next Generation bottlers and employees will discuss their views, goals, and vision for the future of the industry. Be part of this enlightening discussion to prepare yourself for today and what is sure to come!


Iverson Garrett

Iverson Garrett, at the young age of 30, has been in the bottled water industry for the biggest part of his life. He started working for his father and grandfather at a very young age, doing everything from loading route trucks and trailers to running equipment in the plant. 

Iverson is happily married to Kate Falcon and the two live just outside of Dothan, AL. They often commute to Nashville, TN as Kate is an inspiring singer/songwriter. Iverson attended Auburn University and enjoys spending his free time doing motocross (dirt bikes on a closed course track), traveling to watch his wife sing, and hunting.


Joel Burger

Joel Burger has been an independent distributor since 2001. Joel owns and operates Sequoyah Water, LLC. He entered the bottled water industry shortly after graduating from high school and worked to build the foundation of his home and office delivery (HOD) business while completing his degree at Toccoa Falls College. Headquartered in Blue Ridge, Georgia, Sequoyah Water services customers in North Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, and Western North Carolina. Joel resides in Mineral Bluff, Georgia, with his wife Kimberly and their son.

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Ryan Pons

Ryan Pons has been involved in the production and delivery of bottled water for over 10 years. Starting out as a Route Driver for several years, he then moved to managing 8 bottled water routes and 4 salt and portable exchange routes. Ryan serves the company as the Quality Control Manager and holds a PCQI Certification. Ryan was instrumental in effectively implementing a company wide reroute that included 5 other dealerships and over 24 BW routes. Prior to bottled water, Ryan managed a large landscaping distribution center growing the business from 1M per year to 2.5M per year. Ryan is married and has 4 children ranging from 1 to 7 years old. He has served on the United Way board and is a deacon at First Presbyterian Church of Panama City, FL. Ryan enjoys coaching football and soccer, loves outdoor activities such as fishing and hunting, and he also really loves to eat.


Ozone Basics
Chris Ameo, Evoqua Water Technologies / Xlem

Ozone, what is it? Why use it? Where is it used?  We will explore the history of Ozone, methods to produce it, required elements, as well as the technology offerings available (generator, packaged systems, etc.)  Lastly, we will discuss some basic information required to properly size and apply an Ozone system.


Chris Ameo has been with Evoqua/Xylem (Pacific Ozone) for nearly 2 years and has an additional 20+ years in the water industry with experience in filtration, wastewater treatment, and disinfection. Chris is responsible for direct sales as well as channel partner management for the Southeast Industrial market. Chris lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina with his wife, two dogs, and son who is a junior in high school. Chris’s oldest child is a Registered Nurse and lives near-by, and his middle child is a freshman lacrosse player at Roanoke College. When he’s not working, you can find Chris at a lacrosse field or in the kitchen cooking. 

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