25 Nov 2019 Spotlight on Aquatic Informatics Inc.
Describe your company and its product.
Aquatic Informatics is a mission-driven software company empowering utilities, municipalities, and environmental agencies to tackle tomorrow’s water challenges—today. Trusted by over 1,000 organizations globally, Aquatic Informatics improves water data integrity, streamlines regulatory compliance, and strengthens resilience.
What year did your company start?
We were founded in 2003.
Which city (or cities) are you located?
Headquartered in Vancouver, with offices in Denver, CO and Hobart, Australia.
Describe your company culture in three words.
How do you celebrate company or employee wins?
At Aquatic Informatics we celebrate wins, both big and small, at our company meetings and weekly standups. We share in the celebrations over cake and communicate the details through email, internal chat systems and online bulletin boards.
What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
2 million deaths & more than 4 billion illnesses are caused every year from water-related diseases & disasters. The magnitude of water-related natural disasters driven by climate change continues to grow beyond the capacity of today’s infrastructure. Aquatic Informatics is helping organizations break down silos to transform disparate data into critical insights that ultimately enable life-saving action to be taken.
What is your biggest milestone to date?
Our greatest accomplishment to date has been designing and implementing the national hydrological data system for the US Geological Survey – the world’s largest implementation of a Commercial Off-The-Shelf Hydologic System. With our implementation, the USGS was able to successfully centralize the nation’s data on a single, automated, extensible system, providing better insight on water resources across the country.
What is your biggest challenge?
Attracting top talent to continue fuelling our company’s growth is a constant challenge, especially in competitive markets like Vancouver and Denver.
What is your motto?
To protect life with timely water information, by organizing the world’s water data and empowering industry experts to make data driven, smart decisions.
How are you making an impact?
Our interconnected data management platforms drive the efficient management of water information across the entire water cycle to protect life and reduce environmental impact.
What is your hope for the future of tech in BC?
Continued investment—in the traditional sense, but also in creating opportunities for collaboration and dialogue amongst our expanding community of leading tech companies.
Lightning Round with Ed Quilty, Founder, President & CEO of Aquatic Informatics Inc.
What excites you about your job?
Our company purpose: to protect life with timely water information. It aligns with my personal mission of “4 billion / 2 million / 1 million”. That is, every year prevent 4 billion water related illnesses, save 2 million children from dying from unsafe water, and plant 1 million trees to slow climate change. It’s an ambitious goal and it will take more time, but we can do it.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
Convincing people that they should care about water and spend money on it. In North America, people trust that our water is safe to drink and swim in, yet more than 32 million people get sick every year and there are dozens of outbreaks. It’s much worse in developing countries.
If you can give advice to your 20 year-old self, what would you say?
If people are not laughing at your goals, then your goals are too small. And keep traveling. Visiting dozens of countries in my 20’s had a profound impact on my mindset.
What are your pet peeves?
Entitlement and selfishness. I believe we need to work hard for everything that’s good.
Words of wisdom to other tech CEOs or founders?
Let go to grow. Convince superstars to join your team, be transparent and fair, set a clear vision, and get out of the way. Your team will take you there.
Favourite city you visited?
That’s like asking who is my favorite kid. I love them both equally! Top 10 for me are Siem Reap (Cambodia), Singapore, Hanalei (Kauai), Auckland, Monterosso al Mare (Italy), Tunis (Tunisia), Dublin, Ibiza, Melbourne, and San Diego.
What is your formula for success?
Dream big, detail the vision, be strategic in everything that you do, and out-work everyone.
Name one book that everyone should read.
The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. But Tech CEOs should also read Scaling Up by Verne Harnish.
How do you decompress?
Surfing. I love to spend time on the ocean, in a beautiful location where I can surf and be with my family and friends.
I think I know every line in “Dumb and Dumber”. Guilty pleasure.