Scaling UP! H2O

238 The One With A Field Rep Turned Water Treatment Company Founder

Today, a very special colleague of mine came to the show: Charlie Heineman, CWT. Charlie and I first met when we took the Certified Water Technologist (CWT) Exam in Atlanta back in 2002. To date, Charlie is still an active member of AWT in the CWT and Business Resources committees. 

With more than 40 years of experience in the water treatment industry, Charlie started his water treatment career with Nalco Chemical Company (Basic Industry Group) as a Field Representative in Wichita, Kansas. After six years, Charlie was selected to start up Nalco’s Utility Group in Dallas, Texas. Nalco’s Utility Group (Dallas) grew from $100K sales to $4MM sales over the next seven years. 

In 2001, Charlie founded Precision Water Technologies in Dallas, Texas, and joined AWT in 2002. Charlie became a Certified Water Technologist in 2002. Aside from AWT, he is also a member of BOMA, IREM, and TAFE Associations. 

A United States Marine Corps veteran and the recipient of the Navy Cross of Gallantry Medal for combat operations in Vietnam, Charlie went back to college after two years of serving. He graduated from Missouri State University with a degree in Education (Biology/Chemistry), and today he is on the show to share lessons he has gleaned over the years in the best industry in the world, industrial water treatment.


Bottom line: Charlie Heineman is going to share his career journey starting out, not knowing what a boiler was, to becoming a water treatment business owner. 

Your roadside friend, as you travel from client to client. 




Helping others get further faster in life by joining a Mastermind group [02:13]

Introducing Charlie Heineman of Precision Water Technologies [08:38]

Accidentally getting into water treatment[12:01]

Starting his own business, Precision Water Technologies [14:09]

Becoming a Certified Water Technologist (CWT)  [16:35]

Charlie’s AWT journey [21:34]

Charlie’s biggest accomplishment in water treatment [26:15]

Charlie’s advice on learning  [32:32]

Lightning round questions [34:37]

Thinking On Water With James [39:09]


Thinking On Water With James:

In this week’s episode, we’re thinking about how long after an oxidizer feeds to a cooling tower, should you wait to test the residual? Should you test immediately? Wait 30 minutes, an hour, or several hours? How long does it take the oxidizing biocide to be effective? What’s happening to the oxidizing biocide over time within the system?  Is it fed at a time of day that makes it easy to test at the appropriate time afterwards? Should you manually initiate a feed so you can test afterwards or not? What do you write in your field service report if you miss the optimal testing window? Take this week to think about the optimal time for testing oxidizing biocides after they are fed.   



“You have to do a good job in order for your customers to hire you back.”  – Charlie Heineman

“AWT is an excellent organization because the trainers they train still look at Chemistries the same way we did 20, 30 years ago”. – Charlie Heineman

“What is in a product and what are its parameters, water treaters need to know these things.” – Charlie Heineman

“Having a CWT gives you prestige and proves you know water treatment.” – Charlie Heineman

“I enjoy networking, when I go to the AWT conventions, I know half the people there.” – Charlie Heineman

“When you start a company, you have to be everything and know everything.” – Charlie Heineman

“The rewards are enormous when you open your own company.” – Charlie Heineman

“If there’s one thing I learned from my mentor, it’s that part of your job is to get out there and sell chemicals, but your focus is to take care of your people.” – Charlie Heineman

“Every water treater should know the chemistries involved and the processes of water treatment; the basics.” – Charlie Heineman

“If you don’t know something, let the customer know you don’t know it. But then research it, and come back to the customer.”  – Charlie Heineman

“It’s what a Mastermind group is; it’s where people are coming together to learn more about each other. But, the simple purpose is, “how do we help each other get further faster in life?”. – Trace Blackmore

“The [Mastermind] group is all about community, and community is just getting out there and meeting other people.” – Trace Blackmore


Connect with Charlie Heineman, CWT:

Phone: (972) 488-6755



LinkedIn: in/charlieheineman


Links Mentioned:

AWT (Association of Water Technologies)

The Rising Tide Mastermind

Become a Certified Water Technologist (CWT)

Nalco Water

Submit a Show Idea

BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association International)

IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management)

TAFE (Texas Association of Future Educators)



Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show – February 21 to 24 in Indianapolis, IN

2022 AMTA/AWWA Membrane Technology Conference & Exposition – February 21 to 24 in Las Vegas, NV

World Water Day – March 22  


Books Mentioned:

Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage by Dan Crenshaw


Water Treatment education

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