“Raise a glass, make a splash; do something to celebrate the gift of water,” beckons the invitation to celebrate World Water Day. BeCause Water’s Matt Thomas and Josh Boyce rose up to that challenge two years ago when they started a company and a nonprofit to pay tribute to the value of water.
Since last year, they have held the annual World Water Day event at Impact Hub and this year’s event saw many of the local frontrunners in clean water technology gathering to display their products and attract local talent interested in working on clean water initiatives.
One might ask, “What is World Water Day?” The UN General Assembly declared March 22 as World Water Day to engage organizations and companies around the world thinking about specific challenges in providing safe, drinkable water. The very first World Water Day was held on March 22, 1993, and ever since then UN-Water has assigned a theme to each year’s celebrations. This year, the theme was “Water and Jobs” so it was only fitting for BeCause Water to be “the water connector” and provide a platform for companies and organizations to recruit employees, interns, and volunteers to help with their efforts.
According to Matt, there is a cluster of water corporations and governmental and nongovernmental organizations in Boston that are breaking through silos to enable growth, with their innovative ap
proaches. The organizations and companies that attended or had a table at the event included: MassCEC, Boston Water and Sewer Commission, Desalitech, Waterworks Museum, EPA, Initiative: Eau, SAHA Global, NEWIN, Resolute Marine Energy, Nu Ecological Engineering & Design, Water for Good, Ceres, Oasys Water, Inc., and Water Hero.
Companies presented their technological innovations at the exhibition tables. Oasys Water, Inc. presented posters and explained how it uses a revolutionary forward osmosis technology for desalination, while Water Hero demonstrated a wifi-enabled monitor that detects and prevents water leaks in real-time.
The program started off with networking, an introduction by Matt from BeCause Water, and a welcome speech by Andrew Chabot, Workforce Development Program Manager at MassCEC. Andrew said that he was very impressed by the event that gathered together those corporations focused solely on water. He added, “I hope some of these [attendees] take interest in working in this [water] field.” MassCEC, which was an exhibitor at the event, presented jobseekers with three separate avenues for exposure – internships, a job board, and a resume board.
World Water Day 2016 event was well attended by professionals and those seeking opportunities. Philip Jordan of BW Research Partnership said the event was a very important signpost on the roadmap of water innovations. Likewise, Peter DeBruin, formerly with State Street Bank, commented, “It is wonderful to have an event like this take place here in downtown Boston. So many connected and pioneering people and corporations are here. All these good organizations, such as Ceres, Initiative:Eau, and Water for Good, are conducting a global effort to bring clean water to communities, and local companies such as Boston Water & Sewer Commission provide us with clean water everyday without us having to even think about it.”
Others appreciated the effects of innovation in clean water technologies. Margaret Kurth of the US Army Corps of Engineers, acknowledged that water innovations are a good focused area in terms of technical, social, and political innovations and changes. The event was advertised at the local universities and students such as Poona Paydary, an engineering student at Northeastern, found the event fruitful in making connections. Poona was excited to attend because his friend found an internship by attending World Water Day 2015.
The event was very successful in presenting Boston as the center for water industry innovations. It outperformed in key performance metrics that were identified as a marker of success, including the number of attendees, the number of exhibitors, and positive feedback from attendees. Other metrics, such as the number of resumes collected, interviews granted, and positions filled, are being collected over the course of the following few weeks.
Matt Thomas highlighted the event’s success when he noted that last year’s event helped with inspiration and awareness about the value of water, whereas the innovators were at the stage of taking actions this year. Josh Boyce, cofounder of BeCause Water, added that public awareness has increased since the water crisis in Flint, MI. “We moved beyond the WHY onto the WHAT do we do about it and HOW do we go about it?”
For those interested in internship opportunities, a listing is provided at the MIT Water Club’s website.