Turn on the waterworks
October 30, 2006
Holly Hartzell-Reviglio spends too much of her time these days filling out tedious applications to the state officials around the county who oversee continuing-education programs for the staffs of the utility companies that provide water service.
But the payoff could be big for Water Works Industry Solutions LLC, the Reno-based company launched by Hartzell-Reviglio and her husband, Nick Reviglio.
The couple devoted the last couple of years to creation of a series of training courses for utilities, contractors, engineers and others in the waterworks industry. While Nick Reviglio continues to develop new courses, his wife focuses on marketing them.
The company’s niche: Its instruction begins at the most basic steps how to cut a pipe, for instance. The company’s competitors, Nick Reviglio says, target experienced workers, leaving the field open for the Reno company to educate entry-level staff.
In doing so, he’s carrying on a family legacy.
Tom Reviglio, Nick’s father and a longtime executive at Western Nevada Supply, was sufficiently concerned about the low skill levels he sometimes saw at job sites that he put together a training mini-program of his own.
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Nick Reviglio, who had worked five years in the 1990s for the plumbing-supply distributor, later honed his skills in multi-media production before he set out to create Water Works Industry Solutions.
Funded by private investors, the couple began rolling out the company’s training programs in May.
The company’s catalogue these days includes titles such as “SDR-35 Gravity Sewer Pipe Installations” and “Field Flange Ductile Iron Flange Adapter Installation.”
That’s not the stuff of Hollywood hits, but Hartzell-Reviglio says the training programs have done good box office at waterworks industry trade shows.
Particularly good audiences, she says, are managers of rural water districts.
“We’ve discovered that a lot of the rural water providers can’t afford to bring out high-priced training,” she says. Because basic waterworks techniques change little from year to year, a utility can buy one of the company’s training sessions for $499.95 with confidence that it won’t become outdated anytime soon.
Hartzell-Reviglio hopes to get a further boost to sales by winning certification of the company’s training materials for use by waterworks technicians who are required to complete continuing-education requirements. Those requirements, she says, are slowly spreading through the states and Water Works Solutions is right behind.
Other potential markets eyed by the couple include wholesale distributors of plumbing supplies, pipeline and waterworks contractors as well as engineering companies.
A Spanish-language version of the training DVDs is in the works, and three dozen lessons are available as Podcasts.
For all the technology, however, Water Works Solutions relies on an old-fashioned celebrity endorsement by NASCAR driver Kurt Busch to grab attention for its products.
Busch knows what he talks about when it comes to Water Works Solutions products:
He worked three years for the Las Vegas Valley Water District in his pre-NASCAR life.
The company relies on a cadre of freelance contractors to handle much of its workload, says Hartzell-Reviglio. It has six people on its payroll.
Even while Water Works Solutions continues to expand its own training catalogue, Nick Reviglio says the company also has been approached by manufacturers who are interested in hiring the company to create training videos specifically for their products.