Spotlight on the Sport: H2O Operations

Leah Etling, Running USA
No Source
August 25, 2017

Meet the WaterMonster. Taking the fear out of sustainable, stackable hydration for large participant events

 

A new member of Running USA, H2O Operations, focuses its business around an operational challenge for race events of any size: making sure water is readily available for participants and not too much of a hassle for organizers.

WaterMonster is not just for running events, but for sports and outdoor activities of all kinds. Inventor Kevin Huff said that he came up with the idea while shooting the breeze with friends over a few drinks (not water) around a campfire.

Of all the crazy ideas I have had over the years, I finally found one that hit,” says Huff, whose background is in process engineering. The idea was to reduce waste and labor associated with hydration operations for large events.

Because of the unique stackable nature of the WaterMonster drinking water tank, Huff was able to patent his invention. Eight years later, the H2O Operation team has become experts in designing hydration plans for marathons, bike races, festivals and other outdoor events all across the US and Canada, Huff says. 

Read on to learn more about WaterMonster from our interview with Kevin Huff.


For those who aren’t familiar with WaterMonster, what is it and how does it work?

Huff: The WaterMonster is basically a giant water cooler that has various multiple outlets.  The WaterMonster tank sits on a custom made stand and dispenses water by gravity.  It holds 125 gallons, equal to 1,000 plastic water bottles, or 3,000 5oz cup servings.  The tanks are filled by either a common water faucet (using a food grade hose and carbon filter) or by our potable water trucks.  The WaterMonster was awarded a patent because it is the only drinking water tank that stacks when not in use.  This stackability allows for very compact storage on multiple tanks, stands and lids when not in use.  We are able to store and transport up to 75 WaterMonster tanks in a single 24ft enclosed trailer.  Enough to service an entire major marathon.
 

For running and endurance events, what are the benefits WaterMonster can provide?

 

Huff: For running and endurance events, the WaterMonster offers a dual hose system that stretches a total of 50ft in length.  One WaterMonster tank can service x4 8ft tables within that span.  These 2 hoses have spigot dispensers that allow volunteers to fill cups continuously.  This method is less laborious and more efficient for volunteers.  Knowing that one WaterMonster can service 3,000 5oz servings, makes it very easy to calculate how many tanks are needed based off runner count and temperature.  H2O Operations, owns over 250 WaterMonster tanks and has 8 service trucks and trailers that service events all across the US.  Our turn-key Full Service includes consulting, setup, fill up and removal.  Having serviced 1,000’s of events nationwide, you can rest easy knowing your hydration concerns are taken care of.

 

You’ve been supplying Tough Mudder with water stations for the last six years. What have they learned in the process of using your systems that might be relevant to other races?

Huff: There are somethings you can manage in-house, and other things you simply need to outsource to the experts.  Managing water is one of those areas you simply can not afford to skimp on.  The risk and liability is too great.  Anytime you can offload a major service item to experts, it allows you to redeploy your resources in other areas.  Tough Mudder realized this early on.  We have grown with Tough Mudder over the years and have established a strong trusting relationship.  Many of our current innovative ways of deploying water has evolved through the challenging terrain Tough Mudder demands.  This has made us more efficient with our process which benefits everyone.  

 

What other industries do you serve?

Huff: It's a little overwhelming, but any outdoor event with lots of people is a target market.  To be more specific, we service the following events/industries:

Running, biking, festivals, summer camps, high school/college football, churches, municipalities, oil field, first responders, military, regattas.
 

What’s your distribution model and how much lead time is required to place an order?

Huff: We have 8 trucks and trailers that cover all regions across the US.  We typically service about 300+ events a year.  From small 1,000 person festivals, to large 40,000 person marathons, we service them all.   Often we are able to book events with only a 2 week notice.  However, it is always best to book 1-3 months in advance, especially on big events.  Our long term goal is to have a WaterMonster service provider in all major cities across the US.  
 

Anything else you would like to add?

Huff: Of the thousands of events we have serviced, one of things I am most proud about is our 99% repeat customer statistic.  In other words, once you try the WaterMonster, people simply don’t go back to the old ways of hydrating.  The WaterMonster offers a reduction in labor and trash bottles.  It improves your green image by encouraging people to refill their water bottles.  It also acts as an advertising bill board to create revenue which can offset our service costs.  There is simply nothing on the market that compares.

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