Treating Water. Better. Silver Bullet Water Treatment Company
Silver Bullet Water Treatment Company (SBWTC) is a leader in providing unique and beneficial water management consulting, education, and treatment solutions for their customers. Maximum Yield chatted with Silver Bullet CEO Bradley Walsh to discuss the company's solution umbrella approach that includes highly engineered designs, quality equipment, consulting, and laboratory services that are unmatched within the industry.
What did you and your partners do before starting Silver Bullet?
Silver Bullet Water Treatment Company's roots were founded by engineers who were seeking more efficient and sustainable water management solutions. Our diverse and highly experienced team comes from multiple backgrounds such as the oil and gas industry, municipal water treatment, the medical profession, and various other industries, all contributing to the company's unique add value proposition. Together, our talented and high-performing team has created a course towards excellence. Our leadership has decades of combined experience in water treatment, environmental science, and working for Fortune 100 technology companies.
What drew you to the CEA and cannabis industries?
Founded in 2011, we focused on managing water for commercial cooling and livestock drinking water applications. Even for a maturing company, if you are not expanding your reach into exciting new industries, you will be left behind. As part of our business expansion, we found that the controlled environment agricultural (CEA) market shared many of our same values. At the same time, CEA business operations were well-suited for our scope of water treatment solutions. Once the cannabis industry took off in our home state of Colorado, we saw a niche opportunity for SBWTC to deploy its expertise into this new and exciting market.
CEA and cannabis cultivators understand the sophistication of their water systems, and they are demanding that their solution providers work with them to optimize their facility throughout the relationship with the vendor.
How many people were employed at the beginning?
Our company started with a dedicated group of fewer than 10 people, many who filled multiple roles to establish our reputation for innovative water management solutions and industry-leading customer support.
What did you first produce?
The cornerstone product from SBWTC's inception has been our Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) technology. This patented product treats water by using the ambient air we breathe as its source, and through a patented photochemical process creates a mixed oxidant gas that is a highly effective anti-microbial solution. Over the years, we added several new solutions to our product portfolio, which, in return, afforded us the opportunity to provide more holistic water treatment solutions for our cannabis and CEA customers.
What were some of your struggles as you started the business?
In our early years, we were confronted with common issues that many other emerging companies face. SBWTC's most pressing challenge was to learn how to be more efficient in our business practices. Cannabis and CEA agriculture facilities have multiple vendors, stakeholders, and service providers that many times must work together to ensure the customer's equipment and crops are optimized. We are proud that after significant efforts, working closely with industry partners, gaining the trust of facility contractors, and providing effective solutions to our customers, our reputation as one of the most efficient water management companies in the cannabis and CEA industries has been solidified.
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How did you gain market share and recognition?
SBWTC prides itself on being extremely thorough and methodical when entering and growing into a new market space. Primary to our growth in the cannabis and CEA industries has been exposing the customer base to our engineering ability. Our expert engineers, microbiologists, chemists, and technical support team all work together with the customer to provide the best solutions, ongoing consulting and continuing education so that not only is the customer's water managed, but the client fully understands the strategy behind the treatment. We also install and service our added-value solutions so that we can ensure proper application and establish the consulting and education aspects of our business model with each customer.
Has Silver Bullet moved or expanded?
SBWTC was initially headquartered in Aurora, Colorado, just outside of Denver. As we expanded into the cannabis and CEA markets, we needed more space to house a growing staff and to fit our increased manufacturing demand. In January 2018, we moved to our current location in Golden, Colorado, right on the front range of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. We are always happy to talk with growers and give them a tour of our engineering department, in-house lab and analytical department, R&D project space, and our manufacturing area.
What is your current product line?
Our product portfolio is expansive. We have solution options for disinfection, filtration, wastewater, and resource management (i.e., condensate recapture) that can be customized to the scale and needs of the individual customer or facility.
SBWTC's AOP solution is still the cornerstone of our product portfolio, but over the years, the need to evolve has created a runway for product innovation. From highly engineered water treatment solutions to automation and control options to in-house laboratory services, SBWTC strives to provide an added value experience that also accommodates our customer's specific water treatment needs.
Where do you distribute?
We have customers throughout the United States and a developing international presence in CEA. As more domestic and global markets open to cannabis, we will expand to meet those demands.
How many people now work for Silver Bullet?
SBWTC has expanded its workforce to more than 30 people.
What do you consider to be your strengths?
The customer comes first! As an organization, we pride ourselves on being a key contributor to our customers' success. Passion for delivering a premium customer experience drives the team every day.
What are some of your proudest moments?
We have had many proud moments as an organization. Establishing customer relationships with some of the largest organizations in the industries we serve, such as Fifth Season, Vertical Harvest, Infinite Harvest, Tyson Foods, Switch Data Centers, and the US Federal Government, have been milestone achievements for SBWTC.
However, successfully managing the pandemic situation and thriving throughout 2020 has been our proudest moment. Our pre-pandemic groundwork allowed us to advance our strategic initiatives and afforded us the opportunity to pivot quickly and create work environments to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers, and strategic partners.
What significant things have you learned so far about the industry?
The cannabis and CEA industries are still going through many growing pains. Especially in the cannabis industry, best practices vary because of the decentralized nature of the current regulatory environment, facility operational efficiency, and the need for sustainable solutions. Because of these industry challenges, we have found that the solutions, consulting, and education we provide holds even more value for customers. We have our fingers on the pulse of what each state or locality requires, and which solution will best fit the needs of customers who are entering a very sophisticated business that is producing commodities consumed by people.
What have you learned about starting and growing a company?
Growth starts with finding an industry that has a pressing need, putting together the best team, establishing efficient business strategies, delivering solutions that not only work but provide added value, and becoming an invaluable resource for the customer throughout our relationship.
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Any words of wisdom you want to share?
We have learned that operational efficiency is the key to the future of the cultivation of cannabis. Growers of cannabis have the potential to produce high-yield crops. However, it will be the growers that embrace innovative technologies, leverage a network of strategic partners, and deploy best management practices that will have the greatest success in today's day and age.
Share your favorite story from a day on the job.
There was a project that SBWTC was commissioning at a cannabis cultivation facility where nothing seemed to be going right from the start. Contractor delays, facility changes, and fluctuating timelines all led to a less than ideal situation to execute a solution for the customer. However, the full SBWTC team, both on-site and at our headquarters, banded together. The team spent four straight days on-site working with the customer, contractors, and other vendors to solve seemingly insurmountable problems and provided our client with a solution that exceeded their expectations.
What makes your employees so awesome?
We are an inclusive and diverse group of people made up of men, women, veterans, LGBTQ, and people of unique backgrounds who always put the needs of others ahead of our own, both in the workplace and our personal lives. Having colleagues that believe in prioritizing others ahead of themselves has created a truly unique and close-knit work environment. We are proud of the group we have assembled over the years and look forward to expanding our team with people who hold similar values and work ethic.
Being that most of our staff live and work in the beautiful state of Colorado, our team bonds by taking advantage of the many unique outdoor activities at our doorstep. Skiing, rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, hunting, and fishing are all activities that bring us together as a team through shared experiences and friendly conversation.
Does SBWTC participate in any community services?
We are proud of the service we perform throughout our Denver-area community.
As a company, we are committed to environmental and sustainability causes, being that our business revolves around the most valuable resource on our planet, freshwater. River and waterway cleanups, local resource management initiatives, and working with our customers on sustainable best practices are service programs that are a priority for us. Silver Bullet also supports military veteran initiatives because so many of our valued team members have honorably served our nation. In their free time, staff members participate in their community service passions, such as feeding the needy, animal rescue, and social justice causes.