Charles Wall, Senior VP at United Water, On Judo and Education in Developing Countries

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Charles T. Wall is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Communications for United Water, a subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT NORTH AMERICA. He oversees the company’s nationwide human resources strategies and programs. United Water is one of the main sponsor of the NYAC Open Judo Championship, which will be held in New York City on March 3, 2013.

Below is an interview of Charles Wall about United Water and the company's philosophy, his interest in Judo and thoughts on how sports can help improve educational systems.


Film Annex: Can you tell us more about United Water and the philosophy behind the company?
Charles Wall: We are basically an environmental company that focuses primarily on supporting communities with their water and waste water needs by operating the plants and distribution and collection systems. We operate in approximately 23 states where we own and/or operate municipal systems. We are a wholly owned subsidiary of Suez Environnement of Paris, a global company dealing primarily in Water, Waste Water and Solid Waste systems. SE operates in approximately 98 countries around the globe.

FA: How did you become interested in the world of Sports?
I personally began my interest in sports at a very young age, watching or playing baseball, football and hockey in the Boston area. I was introduced to Judo by an older brother who was taking a beginners class. He soon dropped out and his friends remained and while most were ten years old than me, brought me along to their classes. While I was not very good at the typical sports, I found I was well adapted to the sport of Judo, and it has been my life’s calling for more than 50 years. I met my wife while teaching a judo class. Our three children have all practiced and competed in judo tournaments. My oldest son runs a Judo school in Virginia where my two grandchildren practice. My daughter no longer practices but her two young children are Judo students in Pittsburgh. So, as you can see, Judo has been a major part of my life and that of my family.

FA: You are a Judo 5th degree black belt and a referee. How does Judo's philosophy contribute to your everyday life and work?
CW: I have long believed in the concept of giving back to those who helped me formulate my values and taught me the respect and discipline required in the practice of martial arts, and Judo in particular.  In Judo, we take great care to insure we do not injure our opponents because it is through them we are able to practice and improve our own skills. So respect of adversaries is an important concept. Another key element in Judo is in using our opponents strength to defeat him. Judo means “gentle way” or more properly “giving way” in that resistance is replaced with controlling the opponents balance and turning his strength against him. This concept is easily adopted in the realm of business where one must learn to adopt to the circumstances and gently control events, rather than trying to resist and battle the everyday events and challenges that life and business present us with.

FA: Do you think that sports, in particular combat sports like Judo, can help improve people's life style and educational system in those countries?
CW: I do believe that Judo has a place and can make a contribution to people in developing as well as developed nations. The concepts of respect, dedication, patience, and giving back to those in need can well serve the children of the world who are struggling with so many challenges. 

FA: United Water focuses on protecting the environment and delivering clean water. What can you tell us about the issue of clean water in countries like Afghanistan and United Water's involvement?
CW: United Water is principally located in the U.S. and North America, but you can find Suez Environnement and GDF Suez (our principal shareholder) operating throughout the world and in many parts of Asia and North Africa. These three companies respect the communities we are privileged to serve and are dedicated to improving the world in which we live and protecting the environment around us.


About the author


Founded in 1868, the New York Athletic Club can boast of a unique history. The Club's founding premise was to bring structure to a sporting environment that was lacking in organization and uniformity of measurement. Quickly, the NYAC organized the first US championships in boxing, wrestling and outdoor track and…

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