A short interview with Chris Kofer, the founder of Aqua Specialties LLC
How was Aqua Specialties LLC started?
By 1989, I had worked for both a well drilling firm and water systems contractor. When the company for whom I was working closed, I formed Aqua Specialties (later to become Aqua Specialties LLC).
So then what did you do?
Many of my clients followed me, especially those in need of water treatment expertise. I had gathered a reasonable tool collection and was installing and servicing both well pump and water treatment systems. It was truly a grass-roots effort.
Did you provide any other services?
Yes. In the late eighties, I acquired a New Hampshire Water Works Operators License for small community water systems. Having constructed water pump stations for property developers’ condominiums and other developments, I already had clients who needed an operator. I began offering this as a service, and today Aqua Specialties LLC manages over 25 public water supplies in southern New Hampshire and provides specialized services to others.
We provide technical services to some of our clients. Aqua Specialties LLC can provide investigative services of water wells: flow and depth determination and we have a camera for inspecting well bores. I have seen an increasing interest in water quality and well construction concerns. A reasonable summary of our offerings is on the Full Service page.
How is your company staffed?
Since most of our customers rely on their well water supply systems daily, I need staff members who are intelligent and responsive while not afraid to get their hands dirty. This is a specialized field with no formal training programs, unlike the plumbing and electrical trades. There are, however, licenses that we maintain. I carefully choose individuals who can learn quickly through reference materials and in-house instruction. We have high standards for our workmanship and the products we sell. We outsource to competent subcontractors as needed.
I earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and economics at the University of New Hampshire's engineering department so some may consider this to be an unlikely career direction. I do not feel that you can be overeducated; the perspectives that you gain will help you and those you serve. I encourage my employees to read industry news and attend seminars. I have been fortunate enough to take some graduate-level ground water hydrology courses which were offered through UNH. In addition, those of us who have water works operators' licenses are required to maintain our continuing education.
What is your approach to your work?
Aqua Specialties LLC delivers reliability and value to our well water clients. We choose equipment that will last and install it correctly. When possible, we encourage our clients to upgrade their systems to comply with the newest codes and to protect our ground water resources. Our approach to water treatment is to keep it simple yet effective. We understand that most of our clients just want a source of clean water with minimal upkeep and we design our systems accordingly. We install equipment so that it can be readily serviced in the future.
What do you predict for the future of Aqua Specialties LLC?
Since we have a strong customer base in our service region, we anticipate that Aqua Specialties LLC will continue to serve our well water customers through good and bad economic times. We have positioned ourselves to be very much like a water utility for our full-service well customers. As the EPA's regulations of small water supplies become more strict (i.e. radon level reduction) we will respond with the latest technologies available to our industry. We also have experienced a large demand for arsenic level reduction systems.
As fossil fuel prices rise, geothermal heating and cooling has experienced a renewed popularity. We incorporated a geothermal climate control system at our new facility which can be readily viewed by visitors. We can work side-by-side with geothermal climate control specialists, to investigate and implement the possibilites of this technology with your well.
I also expect that our technical services will be needed more as development takes over our previously undeveloped land. Though we work in a relatively water-rich area, concerns are growing about the availablity and quality of drinking water. A few years ago, we were hired by a large water company to investigate the performance of over 40 private wells adjacent to one of their municipal wells. Even in New Hampshire, people are learning not to take our groundwater for granted.
We have also opened an on-line store for well owners, wellwaterproducts.com. Aqua Specialties LLC has always sold high-quality well pump and water quality improvement equipment to local do-it-yourselfers. In this age of big box discount stores, people are learning to appreciate the value of professional grade goods. We are offering the same products which we install, and stand behind, on-line at reasonable prices.