Case Study - Water Industry Cluster at the International Center for Water Technology

The International Center for Water Technology was established at California State University, Fresno, to provide education and research to assist in developing and adopting innovative solutions and technologies that improve water use efficiency. The program’s broad mandate includes water supply and quality; flood protection; and environmental enhancement. Activities focus on extended education, laboratory and field research, and policy development.

In 2001 the Center formed a Water Technology Cluster with approximately 30 local manufacturers of water technology and related equipment. Today the Cluster is comprised of over 200 companies nationwide. The Cluster meets on a quarterly basis and has evolved into a comprehensive effort that includes workforce development, innovation/commercialization, and export promotion elements.

The Cluster recently held a conference that attracted water people around the globe. Organizers spoke to the value of collaboration fostered by the Cluster. “Given the critical role Grundfos and Claude Laval Corporation leaders played in making the conference a success (Grundfos even brought a semi from Texas), it is important to acknowledge the long time role these companies have played since the beginning. The first meeting of the water cluster was held at the old Grundfos facility in 2000. Founding stalwarts like Claude Laval and Jerry Cook were on hand. This was our beta test to determine whether or not clustering—linking, aligning and leveraging existing assets—would substantially impact our economy. Two incubators, many workforce initiatives, cross industry partnerships, joint ventures, new capital, etc., demonstrate that perseverance pays off in compounding ways if you have the courage to begin and the commitment to continue.”

The Cluster oversees and is working on expanding a Careers in Manufacturing Technology workforce development program delivered by community college partners. Other goals include the construction of a building to house the Center (in progress) and expanding export development and joint marketing activities.

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