Doug Kellam, ZeroWater

homeworld players kellamThe August 15 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 11th Annual “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.

Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.

The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.

Doug Kellam, ZeroWater, CEO

PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Doug Kellam was named CEO of ZeroWater in 2008, bringing with him years of experience in the housewares and beverage industries, which have served to help inform his current position and market growth goals for the water filtration brand.

As director of marketing for Pepsi, Kellam was involved in the company’s initial foray into the water business. “A lot has changed since then, but just having some basic understanding of consumption habits and the vast array of ways people think about their beverages, that general knowledge helped a lot,” said Kellam.

Kellam entered housewares in 2003 as the first U.S. president of Dyson. He noted that Dyson’s technology focus with premium floor care appliances is similar to ZeroWater’s current market position. “It’s very good for the category and retailers to have a premium product like Dyson’s that really breaks the mold,” he said.

WHAT TO WATCH: Kellam has evolved ZeroWater’s business strategy and approach, leading to substantial growth for the water filtration brand. “It was a totally different business when I started. Since then we’ve grown it about 15 to 20 times the size, solid double-digit growth every year. It’s been fun, and a bit of a rocket ship,” he said.

The company’s focus on performance has lent itself to community outreach, and it was front and center during the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, partnering with The United Way and FEMA to get water filtration into the region, and creating a rising tide of brand visibility. Moving forward, Kellam plans to maintain the company’s competitive stance by continuing to focus on performance, education and awareness for its water filtration brand as well as take a leadership role in local and national water quality issues.

PERSPECTIVE: “Over the long term, there is going to continue to be gradual growth in the need for water filtration. You’ve got to be consistent on quality, continually fix any flaws that you might have and keep improving the product. Keep your nose to the grindstone on those issues and eventually you win,” said Kellam.

2017 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):