The Future of the Water Industry

John Tillotson, CEO of Microbe Detectives, recently got together with water industry exectuvie and entrepreneur, Mike Reardon to get his persepctives on the water industry and the opportunity to create value through DNA sequencing.

Mike Reardon,
Water Industry Executive and Entrepreneur

What are your thoughts on the water industry today?

I’m Mike Reardon, I’ve been in the water business for about twenty-five years. The water business is a great industry… fixed supply, rising demand, same amount of water on the planet today, as there was millions of years ago. Business people have discovered this as a great area of investment, but the fact is, it’s a highly fragmented, huge market with lots of niche areas and lots of opportunities. There’s been an ebb and flow of consolidation in this industry and companies try to build up something, some of them succeed and some of them fail. I’m constantly amazed at the opportunities that exist, to solve these two problems of scarcity and quality that are plaguing the the population, the planet, as population increases and the water supply stays the same.

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What are some of the challenges of bringing innovation to the water industry?

One of the big challenges that the industry faces, is that there’s so many ways to solve a problem. It takes a long time for new technology to be adopted, to really gain traction, because when there’s a new type of filtration, a new type of disinfection, there are so many alternatives. It just takes a long time for a new company, a new product, to gain traction and distribution in the marketplace. Consequently, some of the greatest inventions get lost on the side. But I think there’s great opportunities to bring companies together and to bring some new information to the marketplace, which will create more opportunities.

Point in case, some of the things that are going on right now with data are intriguing. Some of the new technology, some of the new capabilities that are going on are enabling people to see data that either existed and they couldn’t see it, or data that people didn’t even know was out there, that will in turn, supply information that will enable people to create more and better solutions, more effective solutions, and maybe solve problems in different ways or just create more effectiveness with existing technologies. For a long time this industry has been very slow to adopt new technology or really leverage technology as part of the solutions and I think that’s starting to change now. New software and sensors, and access to new information (that people didn’t know existed) are illuminating cause-and-effect relationships that people just weren’t aware of.

What is your perspective of using DNA sequencing in the water industry?

At first glance, I’m kind of excited about what I’m learning, what I’m seeing in the marketplace. This information was out there, but people weren’t aware of it. I think is going to enable us to do some interesting things. I think of it kind of like looking out up in the sky in the days before the Hubble telescope. You would see a lot less stars than you can see today. We now can see all these stars, and it opens up possibilities beyond your imagination. I think this microbiome area is going to be similar. We’re going to see information, and we’re going to be aware of information that will teach us about cause and effects, that we could never imagine before. I’m kind of curious about it, I think we’re going to learn some really interesting things. We’re going to create some new opportunities for treatments and solutions, that are way beyond where people thought they could go.

What are the benefits of attending the Microbiome Water Summit?

In my past life I have had great opportunities and great success with bringing smart people together. Business people, engineering and technical people. I found when you can put smart people around a table and get them working together, you can achieve amazing things. We’ve had tremendous success in driving integration between business and technology when you just get smart people around a room and kind of working together. I think this summit is an opportunity to do that.

Microbiome Water Summit 2017

  • Learn from leaders in this ground-breaking field
  • Network with a new community of innovators
  • View live streaming on the Internet

Presentations and panel discussions

  • Invisible Influence: The Microbiome in Health
  • Metagenomic Applications in Wastewater
  • Key Findings & Insights:
    • Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) Study
    • Biogas Anaerobic Digester Study
  • Source Water Characterization
  • The Shedd Aquarium Microbiome Project
microbiome water summit shedd