Aqua-sponsored Junior Achievement team, uFusion, receives the FedEx Access Award

The Aqua-sponsored Junior Achievement team, uFusion, received the FedEx Access Award during the Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. at the end of June. The student-run team was one of a few selected to receive an award out of 15 other JA companies also in attendance.


This is the first time Aqua’s JA team has won an award at the national competition, which brought together JA teams from across the country. Each team presented their business ideas to a panel of judges through several events, including a booth presentation, a stage presentation and one-on-one interviews.

uFusion’s group, led by Aqua employee Erin Feeney, impressed judges with their gel infused air fresheners. The students made each of the air fresheners by hand and sold many of them. They made some of their largest gains during two sales at Aqua’s Bryn Mawr offices.

This is Feeney’s first year as head JA volunteer. She started volunteering for the group back in 2012, working closely with Aqua employee Meghan Kreszwick, who led the program at that time. 

“I really admired the way Meghan led the program and mentored the students and I wanted to follow in her footsteps,” Feeney said.



Throughout the school year, Feeney — along with fellow Aqua employees Sarah Eccles, Karen Walker, Caroline Wallo, Tim Smeltzer, Scott Szczygiel and Greg Galiffa — helped the students develop and execute their business plan by  meeting with them once a week on Thursday evenings. The volunteers offered advice on how to successfully grow the uFusion business and present their achievements.

“All of the students who participate are very passionate about their ideas and they work hard to succeed. Our main goal as volunteers is simply to guide these students toward informed and effective decision-making,” Feeney said. “We start by introducing them to the basic principles of business: the brainstorming process, marketing research, product analysis, expenses, production, inventory, financial records, selling, and finally liquidation. Throughout the process our most important role is to challenge their decisions, forcing them to understand why their tactics were or were not successful. The students come from a variety of schools and backgrounds and have to learn to work together to make decisions, by challenging their decisions they improve their communication skills and learn to grow as a team.”

Students from high schools across southeastern Pennsylvania came together to make up uFusion. There were about 18 total kids, five of which went to D.C. to represent the company.



All of their work paid off when they took that stage at the Ronald Reagan Trade Center to accept the FedEx Access Award. According to the JA website, the award is given to the team “with the best business plan demonstration potential for job creation, growing small business and expanding global development.”

“The massive change from start to finish of this past year together has been incredible. After introductions and getting to know each other, they grew individually and as a team to make sound business decisions,” Feeney said. “Growing pains, trial and error, it was all necessary for their development, and once they grew to understand the consequences of all of their business decisions, they could employ more effective strategies. They blossomed from high school students to future business leaders.”

This marks the second year Aqua’s JA team made it to the national competition; they attended in 2014. They also received awards during April’s regional competition outside of Philadelphia, which qualified them for their eventual triumphant visit to nationals.

Share This Post:

America's Tallest Water Slides

Summer is coming to close but there's still time to get out and have some fun. Towering higher than the Statue of Liberty and with top speeds over 60 mph, these are some of the tallest water slides in the United States. Would you dare ride any of these?

Share This Post:

5 Water-Based Summer Activities Kids Will Love

So here we are, the middle of summer. The kids have been out of school for weeks now, free of homework and looking for fun. But keeping cool in the middle of the day can be tough if you can’t get to the pool or the beach, and waterparks can be pricey and overcrowded. And keep in mind that while on vacation from school, they might need some creative inspiration as well. Take a look at these five imaginative Do-It-Yourself water activities that make it easy for you and the kids to beat the heat and have a blast, right in the backyard.


Kiddie Car Wash



 The Kiddie Car Wash is a simple project you and your kids can assemble together, but keep in mind that with the PVC pipe, it’s mostly a parent job. This trip to the car wash will keep them busy and cool while requiring you all to get creative! Customize your car wash with sponges, ribbons and other materials to recreate a classic car wash experience for your child’s bike or scooter. 


Slip N' Slide



The cost of making one of these DIY Slip N’ Slides is far less than family passes for any water park — and there are no lines! There are plenty of ways to build and customize your Slip N’ Slide, but make sure that you keep safety your number one priority. No obstacles like rocks or sticks should poke from the bottom!


Build Your Own Sprinkler


All you need is a sturdy plastic bottle and some tape to create one of these sprinklers. They’re a quick and easy way to make playtime with a hose a lot more interesting, while keeping the kids cool in the sun.


Ice Block Treasure Hunt


Ice Block Treasure Hunts are catching on this summer. All it takes is freezing toys or even fruit inside of a block of ice and letting the little ones dig away (with a safe and blunt tool, like a plastic hammer) until they discover the treasures inside. This also can lead to making your own ice pops as a tasty treat: How To Make Fresh Fruit Popsicles.


Ice Cube Painting


This activity can get a little messy — consider laying out a tarp or lots of paper towels if you plan on painting inside. If you want to make ice cube painting a little more interesting, use fruit drink powder instead of food coloring to make edible paint!


Not only are these water activities an excellent way to keeps kids (and yourself) feeling cool in the summer sun, they encourage kids to get imaginative by creating something. Instead of sitting inside all afternoon watching TV or playing video games, they can get crafty and enjoy their masterpiece afterward, making summertime memories along the way. Give these activities a shot and feel free to share your pictures with us on Facebook and Twitter!


Share This Post:

Meet Deena Briggs: Motorcycle Enthusiast and Aqua's Fleet Administrative Assistant

Some families like to take portraits together. Some have game nights where they play “Sorry” or maybe “Monopoly.” Some set up a yearly football game. It’s a way to spend time together and have some fun. Deena Briggs’ family also likes to spend time together and have fun, though their definition of “fun” might differ a bit from others. Almost everyone in Deena’s family — her brothers, her cousins, her dad, even her grandmother — ride motorcycles. Not in the “take a cruise on a bike” kind of way. They’re enthusiasts.



Deena has been riding motorcycles for about 10 years. You might catch her driving into the office on her BMW S1000rr when it’s nice out — “nice” meaning above 65 degrees and sunny. Deena has been with Aqua for nearly four years in a variety of roles. She recently was promoted to fleet administrative assistant and works out of the Springfield office.

Her interest in bikes began when she was 6 years old and started riding go-karts, scooters, mini bikes – anything with a motor. As a kid, she traveled to Maryland to spend time with her uncles and cousins, all of whom rode street bikes, go-karts, dirt bikes, mini bikes, quads and more.



With an upbringing such as Deena’s, the idea of riding a motorcycle as an adult was not only promising but inevitable. When asked if she remembers what age she begin riding, she laughed and said, “I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t riding some type of powered machinery.”

“Riding a motorcycle provides me with an indescribable sense of freedom like no other,” she said. “I love how much of a stress reliever a short ride can be. After a rough day, one ride just makes all of my tension melt away.”




But it’s not all simple. Deena said she’s often stereotyped for being a woman with a male-dominated hobby. Some people assume she’s riding an automatic or that she owns a lesser grade bike. Or they assume she’s riding her husband’s motorcycle, she said.

It’s something she hopes will change over time, especially now that her children are starting to gain interest in riding, including her 7-year-old daughter, Patience.

“I just can’t help but smile when young girls see me on my bike and say, ‘wow, girls can ride too,’” Deena said. “Honestly, it makes me feel like a super-hero.”


Share This Post:

Meet Heather Harrisson, Aqua Paralegal and Family Woman

Heather Harrisson likes to describe herself as helpful, loyal and caring. We couldn’t agree more.  

 As a paralegal, Heather supports Aqua’s legal department by interpreting the law and helping to identify potential cases. Many lawyers go to Heather for help on their cases and she’s always happy to offer her assistance. That willingness to help others extends far past her position at Aqua; over the years she has assisted with Aqua’s United Way campaign and fundraiser and once led Aqua’s successful Toys for Tots fundraiser and toy drive.

An all-around family woman, Heather’s weekends are dedicated to Tori, her almost 5-year-old daughter, and Chas, her husband. Tori calls the shots when it comes to playing and having fun, while it’s up to Heather to keep them both safe. Expect to see these two playing outside and tossing around water balloons, dashing back-and-forth through the sprinkler, sidewalk painting and drinking tea with Rapunzel and Elsa at Disney World this summer. 


In addition to keeping up with Tori, Heather also cares for her coterie of animal friends: Sam, the playful Pomeranian; mischievous cats Merlin, Jingles, and Taz; a bold, boisterous parakeet that goes by Abbot; the quiet, cool fish and a hermit crab. With early aspirations of being a teacher, Heather has since been able to direct her warm, nurturing skills toward her family —animals included.


When she does manage to find some “me time,” Heather likes to curl up in the living room with the latest issue of People magazine and a cozy cup of coffee. Not exactly a guilty pleasure, but she especially wouldn’t mind if all the cups of coffee she encountered had a little bit of mocha in them.

Outside of her day-to-day schedule, Heather has also made quite the mark on her bucket list, crossing off items such as visiting Niagara Falls. Who knows: Maybe she’ll return to Niagara one day, this time arm-in-arm with a stoic Robert Downey, Jr., her celebrity crush.  



Share This Post: