Watermill Express Names Winners of Third Annual Guppy Tank Contest; Makes $2,500 Donation to Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley

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Seven Rio Grande Valley Students Present Business Ideas to Judges for Chance to Win Cash Prizes

MCALLEN, Texas – A winner has been crowned in this year’s Guppy Tank Contest, where students from the Rio Grande Valley present their entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of expert judges.

Lola Tamez of McAllen, TX, was awarded the top honor for “Lola’s Pocket Sockets”, an innovative idea that combines a phone charger with a case accessory. Tamez was awarded a one-time cash prize of $500 for her winning presentation. Second place went to Branndon Perez for his concept, “The Dugout”, which earned him a one-time price of $250 cash. Gabriela Galindo came in third for “Break Away Eggs”. Luke Ramos came in fourth with “Stepping Stones Tutoring”. Colton Caldwell, Madison Shinsato, and Nathan Pitt sealed the fifth-place spot for “Solar Power Engine”. Third, fourth, and fifth place winners were awarded $50 each.

In addition to helping finalists fund their business ideas with cash prizes, Watermill Express donated $2500 to Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley. This donation will go toward granting a wish for a child in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Guppy Tank Contest is a fun take on the popular TV show “Shark Tank” and is meant to inspire area students 8 to 13 years old to think critically and creatively about business ownership. The panel of judges includes Lani Dolifka, President & CEO at Watermill Express; Chris Jacobs, News Anchor at KGBT 4; Ava Sandlin, Executive Director at Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley; and Patti Sunday, Marketing Consultant.

“We started Watermill Express out of our garage and know what it takes to build a business from nothing,” said Dolifka. “I am excited to support area youth by encouraging creativity and hard work through our Guppy Tank Contest.”

“Make-A-Wish is very grateful to Watermill Express and the wonderful work they continue to do for our deserving children in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Sandlin. “This is the third annual Guppy Tank competition benefitting Make-A-Wish RGV, but we have actually been fortunate enough to have been partners with Watermill Express for several years before the creation of this unique concept.  Through the efforts of our friends at Watermill Express, many wishes have come true for children in our community.”

A Valley institution for 30 years, Watermill Express has supported the community by donating thousands of gallons of water to organizations such as the Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, South Texas Multiple Sclerosis Council and more.

About Watermill Express

Watermill Express is the largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice company in the nation and the green alternative to prepackaged water.  Watermill Express customers reuse their own clean containers to reduce pollution from single-use plastic water bottles. Waterocks® Ice is now available at select locations. Call 1-800-487-9643 for more information.

From left to right: Chris Jacobs, Patti Sunday, Lani Dolifka, Ava Sandlin standing behind first-place winner Lola Tamez

From left to right: Gilbert Espinosa – District Manager at Watermill Express; Ava Sandlin – Executive Director at Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley; Miguel Martinez – Promotional Specialist at Watermill Express; Lani Dolifka – President/CEO of Watermill Express

Healthy Habits Writing Contest Highlighted by Donna ISD News

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Ten fourth graders from the Donna Independent School District were recognized during a special ceremony recently by Watermill Express and H-E-B.

The children competed in the annual Health Habits Writing Contest and received a laptop and a printer as prizes for their outstanding essay submissions. Their teachers and parents were also rewarded with $100 H-E-B gift cards.

Click here to read the full article on the Donna ISD News website.

Watermill Express & H-E-B Name Winners of 12th Annual “Health Habits” Writing Contest in Rio Grande Valley

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12th Annual Healthy Habits Contest
Fourth Grade Contest Winners from Twenty Six Area Schools Awarded Laptops and Wireless Printers for Essays Focused on Health and Wellness

MCALLEN, Texas – Watermill Express, the nation’s largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice company, announced today the 20 winners of its annual writing contest during ceremonies held at Sam Houston Elementary and Julian S Adame Elementary in the Rio Grande Valley. Fourth grade winners from Donna ISD and Weslaco ISD each received a laptop accompanied by a printer as prizes for their essay submissions. Both teachers and parents of the fourth grade students also received $100 H-E-B gift cards.

This year’s “Superhero” theme challenged children to create a superhero to protect their minds, bodies, and the environment from unhealthy activity by encouraging education, exercising, eating a healthy diet and taking care of the environment. Over 1,000 essays were submitted and read by a panel of judges including Lani Dolifka, Co-Founder, President/CEO of Watermill Express.

“This is one of my favorite activities of the year because I won a similar contest when I was in 4th grade and it made a difference in my life,” said Dolifka. “Our writing contest has evolved into a community event and it’s great to see so many kids use this opportunity to learn, have fun, and be recognized for their hard work.”

Award winners were selected from a total of 26 participating elementary schools from Donna and Weslaco Independent School Districts. School Superintendents, administrators, State representatives, H-E-B’s Border Region staff, students and families were in attendance at school ceremonies held in Donna and Weslaco, TX.

The 2017 “Healthy Habits” writing contest winners are listed below:

  • Camila Garza – A.M. Ochoa Elementary School
  • Celina Dominguez – Rudy Silva Elementary
  • Clyde de los Santos – C. Stainke Elementary School
  • Isabella Pedraza – C. Stainke Elementary School
  • JoAnna Juanita Martinez – C. Stainke Elementary School
  • Juan Alvarez – A.M. Ochoa Elementary School
  • Juan G. Dominguez – A.N. Rico Elementary
  • Kaeden Rivas – Dr. R.E. Margo Elementary
  • Larissa N. Rodriguez – Rudy Silva Elementary
  • Lauren de la Garza – J.S. Adame Elementary
  • Leah G. Diaz – C. Stainke Elementary School
  • Ludwika V. Gonzalez – F.D. Roosevelt Elementary
  • Maribel Quezada – Sam Houston Elementary
  • Mario Torres – Airport Drive Elementary
  • Marleen Montemayor – Airport Drive Elementary
  • Mia Avila – C. Stainke Elementary School
  • Nahomy Ibarra – Mario Ybarra Elementary
  • Naissa Ramirez – B.G. Guzman Elementary
  • Norma J. Espericueta – A.M. Ochoa Elementary School
  • Sophia Fuentes – Cleckler-Heald Elementary

“We are beyond proud to be in partnership with Watermill Express”, said Linda Tovar,
H-E-B Senior Manager of Public Affairs Border Region. “Together H-E-B and Watermill Express have worked alongside with local communities to advocate for education, health and a safe environment. The Watermill Express/H-E-B Writing Contest is a prime example which brings a positive message to our children, engaging them in the importance of literacy and healthy habits!”

The first Watermill Express writing contest was held in 2005 and has since awarded more than $77,000 in prizes and has logged more than 11,000 participating students. Its popularity among schools and families in the community has made it an annual event that many fourth graders hope to participate in.

“We are ecstatic that Watermill Express/H-E-B provided our students yet another opportunity to engage in authentic writing for real audiences”, said Dr. Priscilla
Canales, Superintendent of schools for Weslaco ISD. “The support and commitment of both to education and Weslaco ISD’s literacy initiative is greatly appreciated.”

About Watermill Express

Watermill Express is the largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice company in the nation and the green alternative to prepackaged water. Watermill Express customers reuse their own clean containers to reduce pollution from single-use plastic water bottles. Waterocks® Ice is now available at select locations. Call 1-800-487-9643 for more information.

Q&A with the Voyage Houston Magazine

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Lani Dolifka.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I used to live near a designated Superfund site which is land that has been contaminated by hazardous waste and qualifies for EPA cleanup. The community’s groundwater contained 600 documented chemicals and we were told not to drink our tap water, leaving us to rely on alternative sources for our water like expensive plastic water bottles.

Because of these issues, my husband and I, with the help of our family and friends, developed a miniature water purification kiosk that took municipal water and produced high quality drinking water. The result was our first Watermill Express station that produced pure drinking water at an affordable price. That was a little over 30 years ago. Now, we’ve grown to have more than 1,300 locations across the country.

Read the full Q&A article here.

Watermill Express Featured in Forbes

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There’s no escaping the fact that there is a certain underlying degree of elitism in entrepreneurship.

After all, most entrepreneurs want to solve big problems, disrupt age-old processes, and as Steve Jobs put it, put a dent in the universe.

We tend to think globally and then try to apply our ideas locally. While this makes for a catchy slogan, it’s often easier said than done.

In fact, I’ve found that the opposite is often true. Organic ideas that solve a local problem often are the most impactful when applied at scale.

By thinking locally and then scaling globally, entrepreneurs can create a thriving business and still make a splash on the global stage.

No one I’ve met embodies this more than a Colorado-based entrepreneur Lani Dolifka. You might not have heard of her, but chances are you’ve come across her business.

Click here to read the full article on the Forbes website.

Watermill Express Names Finalists of Second Annual Guppy Tank Contest: Makes $2,500 Donation to Make-A-Wish Foundation

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Five Rio Grande Valley Students to Present Business Ideas to Judges for Chance to Win Cash Prizes

MCALLEN, Texas – May 22, 2017 – Watermill Express, the nation’s largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice company, announced today the selection of five finalists for its second annual Guppy Tank Contest, which challenges Rio Grande Valley students to channel their inner entrepreneur. The five finalists will present their business ideas to a set of judges at McAllen’s Inter National Bank board room on Wednesday, May 31, where the winners will also be recognized and celebrated.

The Guppy Tank Contest is a fun take on the popular TV show Shark Tank and is meant to inspire area students 8 to 13 years old to think critically and creatively about business ownership. The panel of judges includes David Aguirre Jr., supervisor and partner at Stars Drive-in Restaurant Corporation; Eloy Cuevas, RGV marketing manager at Watermill Express; Lani Dolifka, president and CEO of Watermill Express; Linda Guerrero Deicla, general manager at KGBT-TV; and Ava Sandlin, ‎executive director of Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley.

Though entries will be evaluated on several criteria including originality, quality of content, creativity, presentation and grammar, no finalist will leave empty-handed. The first-place winner will receive a cash prize of $750 to help launch his or her original business idea. The runner-up will get $350 to use toward his or her business plan, with third-, fourth- and fifth-place finalists receiving $100 toward starting their business ideas. All five students will also receive ten reusable Watermill Express water bottles to share with family and friends.

“We started Watermill Express out of our garage and know what it takes to build a business from nothing,” said Lani Dolifka, CEO and co-founder of Watermill Express. “I am excited to support area youth by encouraging creativity and hard work through our Guppy Tank Contest.”

The 2017 Guppy Tank Contest finalists are listed below along side the titles of their ideas:

  • Gabriela L. Galindo (McAllen, TX) – PipArt
  • Patricia Williams (Mission, TX) – Authentic Diva
  • Catherine Emily Garza (Edinburg, TX) – Kitty’s Kitchen
  • Aron Gamboa (Harlingen, TX) – Finder Prez
  • Joaquin Galindo and Frankie Rodriguez (Harlingen, TX) – Helping Bots

In addition to helping finalists fund their business ideas with cash prizes, Watermill Express donated $5 for each contest entry submitted to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, resulting in a total donation of $2,500. This donation will go toward granting a wish for a child in the Rio Grande Valley.

“Our organization is very fortunate to be surrounded by such generosity,” said Ava Sandlin, ‎executive director of Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley. “It’s companies like Watermill Express that help us make a difference in the lives of terminally ill children and their families.”

A Valley institution for 30 years, Watermill Express has supported the community by donating thousands of gallons of water to organizations such as the Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, South Texas Multiple Sclerosis Council and more.

Watermill Express is also committed to giving back internationally. As part of the brand’s partnership with World Vision, the two organizations were able to provide more than 100 million gallons of clean drinking water to the developing world in 2016 and plan to do the same this year.

About Watermill Express

Watermill Express is the largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice company in the nation and the green alternative to prepackaged water. Watermill Express customers reuse their own clean containers to reduce pollution from single-use plastic water bottles. The brand’s Waterocks® Ice is now available at select locations. Call 1-800-487-9643 for more information or visit watermillexpress.com.

 

About Make-A-Wish

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true has positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illness, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Headquartered in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 33,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 34 minutes. It has granted more than 285,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 15,300 in 2016 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org to learn more.

Congratulations to the 2017 Watermill Express Guppy Tank Contest Finalist

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Congratulations to finalists

Congratulations to the following young entrepreneurs for making it to the finals on Guppy Tank!  It’s now time to put your ideas into action and unleash your creativity. Get ready to enter the Tank – The Guppy Tank!

  1. Gabriela L. Galindo- PipArt [ McAllen, Tx]
  2. Patricia Williams- Authentic Diva[ Mission, Tx]
  3. Catherine Emily Garza- Kitty’s Kitchen [ Edinburg, Tx]
  4. Aron Gamboa- Finder Prez [ Harlingen, Tx]
  5. Joaquin Galindo and Frankie Rodriguez- Helping Bots [ Harlingen, Tx]

Guppy Tank Finalist Presentations

Wednesday May, 31st – From 1pm-4pm
Inter National Bank Board Room
1801 S 2nd St, McAllen, TX 78503

AWWA advocates for water infrastructure investment as Drinking Water Week ends

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Investing in water infrastructure

BRIGHTON, CO – May 12, 2017 – As Drinking Water Week concludes, Watermill Express, the American Water Works Association and water professionals across North America are advocating for investment in the repair and replacement of local water infrastructure.

It’s critical that water infrastructure is maintained properly given that public health, economic vitality, fire protection and quality of life rely on it. However, much of the water infrastructure in North America needs to be repaired and replaced because of the length of time water pipes have been underground; some have been buried for 75 to 100 years.

“The adoption of low cost and innovative technologies like Watermill Express could help communities that are facing a growing concern over aging infrastructure and unregulated contaminants,” said Lani Dolifka, President/CEO of Watermill Express.

Per an AWWA report, repairing and replacing drinking water infrastructure will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years. The potential costs of infrastructure replacement surpass what many water utilities can pay, which means utilities must work together with rate-payers, government officials and other stakeholders to invest in water systems.

“Water infrastructure is crucial to our daily lives and to sustain our future generations,” said AWWA Chief Executive Officer David LaFrance. “It’s essential that our local water utility and government work in harmony with customers to cover the cost of repairing and replacing our water infrastructure.”

More information about water infrastructure is available on DrinkTap.org.

About Drinking Water Week

For more than 35 years, AWWA and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week – a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to recognize the vital role water plays in daily lives. Additional information about Drinking Water Week, including free materials for download and celebration ideas, is available on the Drinking Water Week webpage.

About Watermill Express

Watermill Express is the largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice company in the nation and the green alternative to prepackaged water. Watermill Express customers reuse their own clean containers to reduce pollution from single-use plastic water bottles. The brand’s Waterocks® Ice is now available at select locations. Call 1-800-487-9643 for more information or visit watermillexpress.com.

About American Water Works Association

Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.

Water customers encouraged to care for pipes during Drinking Water Week

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Water in sink

BRIGHTON, CO – May 11, 2017 – As Drinking Water Week continues, Watermill Express joins the American Water Works Association and water professionals across North America in encouraging householders to care for their homes’ pipes.

“Taking care of source water by educating the consumer about their impact is very important. There are easy ways each of us can help,” said Lani Dolifka, President/CEO of Watermill Express.

Many things can unnecessarily clog a home’s plumbing system, including “flushable” wipes, and fats, oils and grease. Each year, these clog pipes, backup systems and harm the environment when they aren’t disposed of properly.

Specifically, flushable wipes, facial tissue, paper towels and medications should be thrown away in the trash and should not be flushed down the toilet. Also, fats, oil and grease should not be dumped down the drain. Instead, they should also be thrown away in the trash.

“Caring for our pipes should be considered maintenance around the home and not just thought of when something goes wrong with them,” said AWWA Chief Executive Officer David LaFrance. “We have to do our part not to clog up our already precarious water and wastewater systems.”

More information on caring for pipes can be found on DrinkTap.org.

About Drinking Water Week

For more than 35 years, AWWA and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week, a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to recognize the vital role water plays in daily lives. Additional information about Drinking Water Week, including free materials for download and celebration ideas, is available on the Drinking Water Week webpage.

About Watermill Express

Watermill Express is the largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice company in the nation and the green alternative to prepackaged water. Watermill Express customers reuse their own clean containers to reduce pollution from single-use plastic water bottles. The brand’s Waterocks® Ice is now available at select locations. Call 1-800-487-9643 for more information or visit watermillexpress.com.

About American Water Works Association

Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.

AWWA encourages customers to check and fix leaks during Drinking Water Week

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fixing leaks

BRIGHTON, CO – May 10, 2017 – As Drinking Water Week continues, Watermill Express joins the American Water Works Association and water professionals across North America in encouraging homeowners to check and fix leaks inside and outside the home.

“Watermill Express works hard to remedy leaks that occur with our equipment. Our managers understand this issue is not only critical to our operation, but also for the conservation of water everywhere,” said Lani Dolifka, President/CEO of Watermill Express.

Consumers are encouraged to quickly and efficiently fix leaks in and around their homes to prevent water waste. To test for leaks inside, customers should shut off everything connected to water and inspect the home’s flow indicator on the water meter. If the indicator continues to move, even with everything off, there’s a leak somewhere in the home.

To check for a leaky toilet, customers can place a few drops of food coloring in the holding tank and wait five minutes without flushing. There’s a leak if coloring appears in the bowl. Also, customers should check all faucets and under the sinks for dripping. To check for leaks outside, customers should inspect the lawn for wet spots or pools of water around spray heads. Brown or muddy spots would also indicate there is a leak in the irrigation system.

“We are each personally responsible to conserve water in and around our home,” said AWWA Chief Executive Officer David LaFrance. “Checking for and fixing leaks is an easy way to do our part in preventing water waste.”  

More information on household leaks can be found on DrinkTap.org.

 About Drinking Water Week

For more than 35 years, AWWA and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week, a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to recognize the vital role water plays in daily lives. Additional information about Drinking Water Week, including free materials for download and celebration ideas, is available on the Drinking Water Week webpage.

About Watermill Express

Watermill Express is the largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice company in the nation and the green alternative to prepackaged water. Watermill Express customers reuse their own clean containers to reduce pollution from single-use plastic water bottles. The brand’s Waterocks® Ice is now available at select locations. Call 1-800-487-9643 for more information or visit watermillexpress.com.

About American Water Works Association

Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life