Celebrating 40 Years of Water Doctors

Learn About Our History as We Commemorate Our 40th Anniversary

For 40 years, Water Doctors has been honoring our commitment to safer, cleaner water for homeowners and businesses in Southeast Wisconsin. From our first sale to our latest, we’ve had a rich and winding history to get where we are today! Our business is built on the contributions from our incredible founder Bob Richter and the current ownership of the Atlee family. For forty years, we’ve been an authorized Kinetico dealer helping local customers enjoy the water they deserve.

The History of Water Doctors

Let us introduce you to the man who started it all: Bob Richter, the original founder of Water Doctors! A progressive businessman who never looked at the status quo and instead dreamed of what could be, Bob laid the foundation for the Water Doctors principles and values we honor today. It seems to be fate that Bob, born at Camp Lejeune, would grow to be a pioneer of great water quality. With a focus in chemistry and plumbing in his education and business acumen developed from owning and operating his stepfather’s tavern, Bob turned to the water business in 1982.

A happy mistake occurred while Bob was waiting to get lunch with his friend Jim, introducing Bob to Kinetico and the water industry. While waiting, Jim’s phone rang, and Bob answered. Greeted by a Kinetico representative, Jeff Pauly, Bob decided to dip his toes in the pool. After selling the tavern at the age of 29, he worked with Jeff to begin the company and bring two employees on board.

In January 1983, Water Doctors made its first sale! Though Bob was still reeling from his decision, he and his team worked diligently moving Kinetico equipment from basement to basement for satisfied customers. Sales slowly started to grow, and the business moved from Wauwatosa to Brookfield by July of the same year. As the business entered 1984, Bob began to hire additional sales representatives and service technicians, and in 1985, Water Doctors received a career-defining contract for 68 units. They got started the next day! Within one month, all the units were installed and as a result, Water Doctors was named the #1 fastest-growing dealer in the United States for the year.

The late 1980s to early 2000s saw many changes. From opening and closing satellite offices to rebuilding sales and service departments, Water Doctors experimented and grew exponentially. In the spring of 1992, Bob Richter acquired a prime location in Waukesha that has served as our headquarters ever since!

The new century marked a new era for Bob and his company. Starting in 2000, marketing efforts and various awards began to get the word out about Water Doctors and drove sales to an all-time high. Partnerships with Elizabeth Kay, 99.1 The Mix, Bill Michaels, Margo Fiesler, Wisconsin Gas Leasing Services, and WaterPaloozas at Home Depot helped Water Doctors expand its reach to residential and commercial customers, while multiple Top 20 National awards cemented the company’s growth. Bob, who has always been passionate about helping others, donated funds to ALS on behalf of Jim Etuzzi, a dear friend of Water Doctors, after every marketing event. This generous tradition of giving back to the community paved the way for the existing Every Little Drop Counts program. 

At the end of August 2019, Bob Richter sold Water Doctors to John and Amber Atlee and retired to the sunny state of Florida. Bob noted he saw a lot of himself in John and admired John’s commitment, diligence, loyalty, and willingness to go above and beyond. The business legacy was passed to John and he has continued to deliver on his promise to make Water Doctors successful ever since, with Bob and John remaining close friends to this day. 

Between the ownership of Bob Richter and the Atlee family, Water Doctors has been proudly serving Southeast Wisconsin with quality Kinetico products for four decades. The hard work and dedication of our team has made it possible for Water Doctors to bring safer, cleaner water to local homeowners and businesses with top-of-the-line Kinetico products.


Our Commitment to Legacy

Since our change of ownership in 2019, Water Doctors has continued its efforts to grow and provide local customers with quality water they can depend on. With greater investments in marketing and community outreach opportunities, we have continued to deliver and expand on Bob Richter’s original vision and passion. We are proud to still be the area’s trusted provider of the highest-rated, best-performing water treatments on the market — and that’s something that will never change.

Schedule a free water test to see what Water Doctors can do for your home or business.

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