The History of the Company
Our parent company, Environmental Safety Products (ESP), started business before websites, before 'normal' people used data bases, and without any real vision of where we wanted the business to go. Our original idea was to help the people we called Water Treatment Industry "Orphans". And that's exactly what we did.
To explain....we coined the "Orphan" term in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s - when the water conditioning industry was booming. News about pollution and the rise of pollution-related diseases had created an awareness of the need for quality drinking water. Multi-level marketing companies and 'fly-by-night' water treatment sales companies (former aluminum siding sales companies) were jumping in and out of business like 'toads in a thunderstorm'. While 'in' business they were selling outrageously expensive systems that were all 'hype', offering no customer service and providing their customers virtually no information about replacement parts. Many of the people who bought filtration systems from these "go-getters" ended up "orphaned" – not knowing where to find replacement filters and parts, not knowing what parts and components fit their system, not knowing how to compare the quality of available parts and components, etc.
By this time Doug Edison, our co-founder, had been working in the Water Industry (off and on) for 20 years. The member of a family who had been in the water business since 1957 he clearly represented a 'new generation' in the way he approached the business. It wasn’t enough to simply rack up profits. He recognized the frustration of consumers who had no place to go for help, who could not find replacement parts and filters, or who were being charged exorbitant prices for the filters they found. Doug's inspiration was to provide these "orphans" with both service and parts - his vision was to fill a niche that no company in the industry had ever considered filling. To this end, he left the family business, recruited his partner Sue from elsewhere in Corporate America and they joined forces to form ESP.
Tapping into early data base technology Doug began capturing information (and ideas) from every frustrated caller. Using his contacts in the industry, information from early product sales, and from other company’s "orphan" customers, ESP began sending their customers and prospective customers ‘reminders’, telling them it was time to replace their filters, and letting them know that ESP was there to assist them. Sue brought years of business and management experience to the table and, with their combined skills, the business began to grow. The customer base expanded as the "orphans" found a place to receive help, information, and reasonably priced products
Customer Service? Re-shaping the Water Treatment Industry
Over the next several years our efforts to build this new form of business were often hampered by the demands of larger customers and their 'major' projects, but the idea and the customer care ethic survived. As the public’s comfort with internet shopping grew, the idea of revolutionizing the water industry by providing customer service to the masses became a realistic possibility. In 1999 espwaterproducts.com was conceived and in 2003 it became a reality. Combining an unparalleled depth of knowledge with an intrinsic sense of fairness and a commitment to our “customer care ethic” created a business environment that kept customers coming back. If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery then ESP had huge success with its concept because the idea spread. Within a few years there were multiple web-sites offering replacement water filters, and even a few offering premium products. There was plenty of business for all. However, the partners' years of combined experience in the industry had instilled a depth of knowledge that could not be duplicated, and the business thrived.
Pursuit of a Dream
Throughout the years a principal focus was the creation of simple portable water systems, capable of disinfecting water by removing or deactivating microbiological contaminants. The goal was to create (and perfect) systems to be used 'off the grid' or in undeveloped countries. Our ultimate ambition (our dream) was to create a product that was simple enough and affordable enough, that it could truly save lives. Sometimes the flow of the business allowed us time to work toward this creation and sometimes our efforts were thwarted by other demands. The early systems were patterned after technology used by NASA in their manned space missions. We applied that technology extensively (beginning in the mid 1990's) in systems used by many government agencies and multiple missionary organizations. Those products were very successful and remain in use today. As a matter of fact, the success of those products was instrumental in keeping the fledgling ESP afloat during the early years.
It follows that, regardless of other business demands, we have always continued our search for new technologies - to find the best non-chemical way to transform microbiologically "risky" water into safe drinking water. Over the last several years we’ve succeeded by combining a state-of-the-art media with our patented devices to create products that do just that! The use of these devices has been 'embraced' by our customer base and today our portable, gravity-powered, and fixed systems are in thousands of locations - providing safe drinking water in government embassies and offices, and in towns, villages and camps in some of the most remote areas of the world. Many international buyers now have a resource that allows them to make potable water available to those who have none. These products are also in use by some of the largest relief and missionary organizations in the world and proprietary versions have been commissioned by segments of the United States Government.
Changing Course (Mid-Life Change?)
Ultimately we have reached a point in life where we have the ability (and opportunity) to step away from the obligations of the primary business and to pursue this dream full time - to devote all of our business energy toward our goal of expanding the use of these life-saving systems. And to that end, OutbackWater was conceived.
OutbackWater.com is, in effect, a 'narrowing' of our focus in an effort to broadcast information - to inform more people about these disinfection products and about the options available for non-chemical treatment of microbiologically unsafe water. Not just a sales site, it is designed to educate in an effort to assure that the product chosen is the 'best' solution for the customer's individual need and/or application. Our hope is that these products are found to be useful in households and businesses, by outdoors people, by preparedness groups, in food storage programs, by emergency responders, by firefighters, and in a myriad of other applications. Our ultimate wish is that use of the gravity-powered products continues to grow, with more and more rescue groups government agencies and missionary organizations providing water to those struck down by disaster - be it natural or man-made. In this way the our products can make a very real difference.
We offer a full line of products designed and proven to convert microbiologically 'risky' or contaminated water into safe drinking water - without the use of chemicals . We've made sure that what we offer provides a solution for most challenges that 'standard' water treatment devices fail to address. We have solutions that run the gamut of power options - from no power to low voltage power to standard power. We have systems that function using problem waters ranging from hot water to river water. We offer solutions to address pre-filtration needs to ensure that the efficacy of the disinfection component is not compromised. And finally, we make a concentrated effort to have these products readily available to all who need them.
The Final Word
Our focus is customer service. We enjoy what we do and we’re good at it, as is evidenced by the testimonials we receive. It’s not our goal to be the biggest fish in the pond – the biggest water treatment site on the market. Our goal is to be the best at what we do – provide a high quality product at a fair price, and to include kind treatment and competent technical support in the bargain.
We look forward to helping you find the right solution.
Doug and Sue
May 1, 2016