Scaling UP! H2O

345 Scaling UP! Relationships: Navigating the Waters of Connection

On this special episode of Scaling UP! H2O, your host Trace Blackmore takes a detour from our usual industrial water treatment discussions to delve into a profound topic that resonated deeply with him in 2023. Join Trace as he shares insights from the game-changing book, “The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships” by the esteemed Dr. John Gottman.

Discover the transformative power of understanding and combating the “4 Relational Horsemen”: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. Trace unpacks these destructive communication patterns and reveals how they can erode the fabric of relationships, whether personal or professional.

In this episode, you’ll gain timeless tools to douse the flames of relational friction before they become an uncontrollable bonfire. Dr. Gottman’s principles aren’t just about salvaging troubled relationships; they’re a compass for building stronger connections with those in your circle. As we step into 2024, Trace guides you through practical applications of these principles, ensuring that your most important asset—your relationships—flourish and thrive in the coming years.

Tune in, and embark on a journey towards healthier, more fulfilling connections. Because when we invest in our relationships, we’re investing in a successful and rewarding 2024 and beyond.



01:00 – Trace Blackmore asks you to reflect on 2023’s victories and plan for this year with the 12 Week Year

04:20 – Upcoming Events for Water Treatment Professionals 

11:00 – Drop by Drop With James McDonald 

14:15 – The purpose of relationships and inspiration for this episode

18:30 – Reminders about what we’ve learned about relationships from Kathleen Edelman, Major Dick Winters, and Tim Fulton

21:12 – Introduction to “The 4 Relational Horsemen” from Dr. Gottman: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling



“Our life is all about the relationships we have.” – Trace Blackmore

“We need to diffuse situations, acknowledge what people are going through, and ultimately make the relationship better.” – Trace Blackmore

“Stop and think: how do I take responsibility and not shift the blame to the other person?” – Trace Blackmore

“The Temperaments is one of the best things I’ve ever done to understand myself and every key relationship in my life.” – Trace Blackmore

“Today is a great day to build relationships and to make this year a year of kindness, a year of building relationships.”


Connect with Scaling UP! H2O

Email Producer:

Submit a show idea: Submit a Show Idea

LinkedIn: in/traceblackmore/

YouTube: @ScalingUpH2O


Links Mentioned

Ep 344 Toasting Triumphs: Reflecting on A Year of Water Wisdom (Last episode of 2023)

Ep  132 Pinks and Blues: 12 Week Year

Ep 179 with Kathleen Edelman – Communicate Better with Others

Ep 281 with Kathleen Edelman – Power of Kindness

Ep 117 with Kathleen Edelman – The One With Temperament Expert 

Kind Words Are Cool

Band of Brothers – 2001 Miniseries

Ep 22 with Tim Fulton

Ep 280 with Tim Fulton – Retaining Top Talent

Dr. John Gottman’s 6 Things that Predict Divorce

Dr. John Gottman’s 4 Horsemen of Conversations

The Rising Tide Mastermind

Scaling UP! H2O Academy video courses

Submit a Show Idea

AWT (Association of Water Technologies)



Drop by Drop: Articles on Industrial Water Treatment by James McDonald 

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran, Michael Lennington

I Said This, You Heard That 2nd Edition (2023) by Kathleen Edelman

I Said This, You Heard That (Workbook) by Kathleen Edelman

The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships by John M. Gottman

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, Revised and Updated by John M. Gottman

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

The Emotional Bank Account by Franklin Covey

Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters by Dick Winters


2024  Events for Water Professionals

Check out our Scaling UP! H2O Events Calendar where we’ve listed every event Water Treaters should be aware of by clicking HERE or using the dropdown menu.


Drop By Drop with James McDonald

In today’s episode, we’re wandering through a reverse osmosis unit. Starting after the pump just when the water enters an 8” RO membrane element itself. Imagine it, if you will.  Imagine the water flowing into the feed channels between the membrane envelopes themselves. Imagine the pressure. Think about how suspended solids could behave at this entry point, if they made it beyond the prefilters. How might any suspended solids interact with the feed spacer material or surface of the membrane? Think about where any chlorine allowed into the RO system would start to impact first. What damage could it do? How soon? We have not passed through the RO membrane itself yet. No, we continue to flow down membrane elements, passing from one to another still on the feedwater side of the membrane. As our journey continues, we slow down a little as pure water passes through the membrane, and there’s less and less water on our feedwater side. The speed probably picks up as we move from one stage of the array to the next, with a lower number of membrane housings to ensure proper velocity and turbulence to help keep the membrane surfaces clean as we press onward to navigate around the feed channel spacer material. Although we are flowing between the membranes, we may be tempted to flow around the membrane elements themselves, out by the membrane housing. What could stop us, right? But something does. What is that thing? Is it the brine seal? 

Something we haven’t paid much attention to until now is that our water chemistry is changing. It is becoming more concentrated. When does this become a problem? Where does it become a problem? How does it become a problem? As we wind our way through the RO array’s stages, membranes, and piping, we finally reach our point of exit where we are called reject or concentrate. From here, we are either sent down the drain or sometimes captured and reused in other applications with less restrictive water quality requirements. 


Water Treatment education

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