Allen Wankat is the Franchise Business Development Manager for Culligan International and the current President of the Southeastern Bottled Water Association. Over the past 15+ years, Allen has spent his career working in the water bottling and treatment business for Culligan. Over the first 5 years, he worked for an independent Culligan dealer as General Manager of a dealership in Kingsland, GA, which included a bottling plant. Revenue was doubled for the dealership during that time, and upon the sale of the business, Allen went to work for Culligan International. He first held the position of Sales Manager covering the Southeast for approximately 8 years. He then moved to his current position as Franchise Business Development Manager charged with training, both as facilitator of Culligan’s New Dealer School and on site with new and other dealers. His territory covers the entire USA.
Allen’s almost 16 years involvement in the water treatment industry includes being a member of the Southeastern Bottled Water Association for the past 13 years including 10 years serving on the SEBWA Board of Directors where he has held the positions of 1st and 2nd Vice President, Chairman of Government Relations, and registered lobbyist for SEBWA in Florida and Georgia. Allen also holds a Certified Plant Operator license from IBWA and participates on behalf of SEBWA on the IBWA State & Regional Associations Committee. Having been involved in the water treatment industry for almost 16 years, the part Allen most enjoys about his career in water treatment is “the good we do for people and their families,” he said.
On the importance of being involved in SEBWA as a bottler, distributor, or supplier engaged in the industry in the Southeastern region, Allen believes that nobody knows the needs of their community and state like the folks who live there. The sharing with other industry professionals is important. “Currently, the need for grass-roots lobbying is critical, as the bottled water industry has been tagged as a huge potential revenue source for government. We also face issues such as BPA, recycling, and deposits,” he said. Allen also believes the importance of education and training along with working together with industry colleagues will no doubt place any individual in the industry at a strong advantage.
For those new people looking to get into the bottled or treated water business, Allen advises: (1) Know your market; (2) Do not enter the industry undercapitalized; (3) Treat your employees like gold; (4) Join SEBWA and learn from peers; (5) Stay active in your community; and (6) Know your numbers in your business!
Allen is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He has a wealth of experience working in both the food industry and the childcare industry. Allen previously owned a chain of seven Captain D restaurants, which he sold back to the franchisor, Shoney’s.
On the more personal side, Allen is married to Marilyn Wankat and the two reside in Atlantic Beach, Florida. They enjoy their children and grandchildren and involvement in their church. Marilyn is a retired schoolteacher. As for Allen’s hobbies and outside interests he loves to scuba dive and go on cruise vacations.