Passion and career rarely intertwine, but for William Butler, it is a beautiful collision. Growing up William didn’t know that art would have such a significant impact on his life. But as his God-given talent surfaced, he received encouragement from an incredible support system. His mother, friends, teachers, and eventually, his wife couldn’t help but recognize William’s talent. They saw the way his mind worked differently, the unique view he had of the world around him, and his creative vision. Their love and belief in his abilities fueled him to develop his art into a successful career. Now, William is a professional artist and graphic designer with a career spanning more than 30 years and he has been creating live commissioned art for the past 20 years.
William and his wife, Ronja, who is also his business partner, met with the Water Professionals International team a few months prior to the 2023 annual Innovation in Certification conference. Their hope was to discover what the organization and the team behind it represent. William would use the information from WPI’s strategic plan, historical documents, and insight he gathered at this meeting as the inspiration for the commissioned artwork he would be creating. Using his creative vision and graphic designer skills, he began planning for the custom WPI painting he would create live at IiC23.
Fast forward to January 2023 in Clearwater Beach, FL. In the main ballroom of the Sheraton Sand Key Resort, IiC23 commenced with William Butler on a platform placed to the side of the room, working on his original creation live in front of the entire conference. This was something special! Not many members of the audience had seen an artist creating live art previously. And, although much of the excitement in the room seemed to stem from watching William paint, as the sessions went on, Ronja created some excitement of her own.
Ronja absorbed the information from each IiC23 speaker and wove it into parallels with William’s art. She also took the time to connect and pray with many, creating a sense of unity amongst the attendees. Ronja walked into a room full of strangers from five countries and territories and formed one community. When asked about this, William shared, “God works powerfully through my wife.”
Expressing her thoughts as William was creating, Ronja described it as awe-inspiring; his dedication to the process and to embracing new ideas while capturing the heart of WPI was powerful to see. It’s something she is fortunate to witness time and time again watching her husband create. Ronja also found inspiration from the individuals working in the water industry, sharing, “They really are amazing people who have said ‘yes’ to a career that’s not the easiest or the most glamorous. They recognize the importance, and they lead in that.” It was clear for all at IiC23 to see that this couple is also amazing. They brought an exuberant energy to the audience with their powerful faith and positivity.
With an uplifting wife, a faithful soul, and his artistic gifts, William captures moments and emotions in his art that evolve as his pieces transform. For WPI, he was able to creatively express the heart, vision, and core values of WPI. Every one of the conference attendees witnessed the excitement of “Living Water for Life” while it was being realized and then changing over two days of the conference. The work started with two hands holding a water drop with Earth at the center of it. The next day, as the crowd filtered in for the first session, a look of shock crossed many faces. The already impressive painting had transformed overnight.
The artwork had grown to illustrate the likeminded goals of the conference attendees: Innovate, Educate, Steward, Validate. Through its layers it had begun to highlight the importance of water. William explains that the water we have now is the water we have always had – it is just that, past, present, and future. It is the operators and the people who train them, certify, and support them who make sure the water is safe for consumption now, and for generations to come. His composition created an “Ah-Ha! Moment” and beautifully encapsulated the connection we all have.
Ronja shared of her experience working closely with WPI on this project, “It really is a partnership… You know, it is really a beautiful culmination that happens that is uplifting and uniting to all. Again, it is just a real joy. We are completely honored. You all are incredible, and it is just a real blessing to be a part of what you’re doing.” The WPI office is now home to “Living Water for Life.” It serves as a call to action for the ongoing mission of the organization and the history that got us here. It was an honor to work with William and Ronja Butler and nurture the inspiration they brought, not just in Clearwater, but for the longevity of WPI.
We encourage you to explore more of the Butler’s successful journey through their website: www.thomaslift.com.