Chuck Bragdon, retired United States Navy Chief, founded Water Saver Solutions (WSS) in 2008. What started out as a home improvement project in Southern California to help people save money and conserve water is now so much more.
Water Saver Solutions’ process starts with an audit of their customers’ water use. After surveying building systems and equipment, it issues a report identifying the opportunities for saving both water and money. By combining utility company rebates and incentives, Water Saver Solutions is able to offer water-saving projects with a favorable ROI (Return on Investment), which encourages conservation. Moving forward, through consulting and installation, WSS assists with implementation of these projects.
While its solutions work for numerous types of facilities, WSS has found a niche, focusing on the healthcare industry. Chuck was inspired to enter the healthcare industry after discovering the EPA labeled it the third-highest water-wasting industry. Although there are many barriers to entry in the healthcare field due to strict regulations, Chuck says, “I embraced the barriers. I really got to know the regulations, and became a subject-matter expert on water usage in hospitals.” This knowledge and dedication helped establish him in the industry, and WSS opened multiple corporate accounts around the country.
Water Saver Solutions is a federally-certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). Chuck discovered Veteran Launch after Water Saver Solutions had secured its biggest project to date, helping the iconic Fort Knox. Although not a hospital, Chuck’s military background and expertise in water conservation made WSS a great candidate to bid on this project. When WSS won the bid, Chuck suddenly needed money for travel, labor, and other expenses. “I had been turned down by other lenders, so I was at wits-end when I found Mike at Veteran Launch. He was amazing and truly worked 24/7 for us. Mike [McGrane, Vice President – Statewide Lending Director] and Rachel [Aoanan, Vice President – Loan Closing & Compliance] were so responsive we were able to close the loan quickly and move forward with our project. I can’t speak highly enough of both of them,” says Chuck. “Mike understood our needs, which enabled us to complete the Fort Knox project.”
Chuck reflects on his military service every day as an entrepreneur: “I learned many skills in the Navy. My management and leadership capabilities were shaped by my service there. I believe my purpose in life is to coach and mentor. I encourage each staff member to think like mini-entrepreneurs. It allows for creative ideas, and it increases our capabilities.”
Chuck has embedded himself within the healthcare engineer community and continues to expand his knowledge every day. His advice for entrepreneurs: “Be open-minded to constantly learning. You have to embrace your resources. Starting a business is a lifestyle change. You will live and breathe your business, as it is a part of you. You will be on a journey of learning, and it is important to utilize business knowledge, resources, and networking.”