Marquette University to host first national meeting of new task force studying water security threats to American manufacturers

February 12, 2016

Industry, government and academic experts to identify potential water supply issues and solutions

Editor's note: The conference is closed to reporters and the public. If you would like to send a reporter for a media availability, please contact Joe DiGiovanni in the Office of Marketing and Communication at or (414) 288-6712.

Media availability: February 16, 1 p.m. CT

Marquette University Law School

  • Michael R. Lovell, president, Marquette University
  • Dr. Robert Heideman, chief technology officer, A. O. Smith Corporation
  • William C. Bates, executive vice president, Council on Competitiveness

MILWAUKEE — At a time of heightened public awareness regarding water security threats ranging from droughts to pollution, Marquette University is convening a national task force to identify the risks that these issues could pose to American manufacturers in the future – and come up with potential solutions.

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, the university will host the first meeting in a top-level national initiative, led by Marquette and A. O. Smith Corporation, in partnership with the Council on Competitiveness. The team of experts will advise the White House and Congress on manufacturing and water solutions aimed at ensuring the continued global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. The initiative was announced in December 2015.

Attendees among the local and national corporations:

  • A.O. Smith
  • Badger Meter
  • CNH Industrial
  • IBM
  • Johnson Controls, Inc.
  • Kohler Co.
  • MillerCoors
  • Quad/Graphics
  • Rockwell Automation
  • Rexnord Corporation
  • Tamarack Petroleum Company, Inc.

In addition, universities, national laboratories, federal agencies, utilities and non-governmental organizations, will attend and spend this year developing a wide-ranging sector study that ultimately will be delivered to the next President of the United States and Congress to help define America's energy and manufacturing agenda, technology and policies related to water. Their analysis is focusing on four pillars: infrastructure, talent, new technology and investment.

This initiative is part of a larger action plan known as the U.S. Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Partnership (EMCP), a national effort of the Council on Competitiveness.

It will solidify the Milwaukee region's strength in both water and manufacturing, combining industry expertise from companies like A. O. Smith and faculty research from Marquette, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and other academic institutions.

Lovell, Heideman and Bates will be available for interviews at 1 p.m. in the Law School.