Featured Employee: Brian Luenser

Brian Luenser at art fair

Over the years, he has worn many hats – Navy veteran, certified public accountant (CPA), philanthropic photographer and Aquasana co-founder – to name a few. At the end of March, Brian Luenser will hang up his hat as director of finance for Aquasana, one of A. O. Smith's brands, as he welcomes a fun-filled retirement.

Get to know Brian...

After more than 20 years of being in the water filtration business, Luenser took the time to reflect on his professional career as a CPA and how he saw Aquasana come into fruition. 

“I’m an efficiency nut,” explained Luenser. To him, the elements of accounting seemed like a perfect way to entertain his drive for efficiency in his professional life. 

In the beginning of his professional career, Luenser was introduced to the concept of water filtration when his brother-in-law was selling water filters. 

“I could taste the chlorine in unfiltered water and began to realize that not only was filtered water better for you, but it tasted better,” noted Luenser .

Just as his love for efficiency led him to accounting, his love for filtered-water would lead him to entrepreneurship.

“Once I learned that you could filter water inexpensively in a home, it became my mission to grow a business,” Luenser explained. 

Luenser partnered with a former colleague and invested most of his life savings to create Sun Water in 1997, which would later be named Aquasana in 2011. 

The first few years of business were slow, but the business really started rolling at the turn of the century. 

“The thing that really turned us around was the internet,” explained Luenser. “Because our filters were positioned as a premium product compared with the competition, the internet was perfect for letting us tell our story.” 

The company needed people willing to do research to figure out their best option, and the internet was swarming with information, but not many competitors. The information on the internet was abundant – like the WaterFilterComparasions.com report that consistently ranks Aquasana above its competition. 

“We became very successful selling on the internet because it gave us the opportunity to sell our water filters in other locations that had poor water quality, like California,” explained Luenser. Brian Luenser on bike

Luenser has also enjoyed growing the business in a direction that helps lessen the use of plastic water bottles. 

“I am a fan of the environment, and I am so proud to be a part of a company that has made a positive, massive impact,” exclaimed Luenser. “Our products provide an environmentally friendly alternative to the use of disposable plastic water bottles.”  

The company’s success continued to grow and still does today, which is part of why Aquasana caught A. O. Smith’s eye. 

“When A. O. Smith came along, I was excited,” reminisced Luenser. “They knew manufacturing, and they knew water. It was a dream combination.” 

With A. O. Smith, Luenser is confident Aquasana is on a good path, which is why he believes now is the perfect time to retire. 

“I regret leaving now because we have recently hired some of the smartest people I have ever worked with,” explained Luenser. “But I am also excited to leave the company in the hands of such a good crew of people.” 

Now that Luenser feels comfortable retiring, he is excited to have fun. 

“I have been working my whole life,” he explained. “I haven’t had too much time to have fun. After I retire, I will have plenty of time to have fun.” 

One of Luenser's favorite things to do off-the-clock is photography, which he started doing more regularly following his 50th birthday. As an introvert, Luenser loves how being behind the camera helps him come out of his shell. 

“I started by walking around taking photos of buildings in Fort Worth,” explained Brian. “One day, I accidentally took pictures of people, and people liked them, a lot.” 

Luenser shares his pictures on Facebook. He started his social media journey with a modest two friends. As he gained more friends, people started sharing his photos. Today, Luenser has more than 24,000 friends and followers on Facebook. 

“I’m building a reputation of being a good guy that takes photos,” said Luenser. “It really is a photographer’s dream to be known and loved in town.” 

Luenser is trusted because of the quality of his photos. He only posts photos that show his subjects in a good light. With trust comes more opportunities for Luenser and his photography, like being the main photographer for several charities in town. 

In retirement, Luenser will continue his photography around the community at events like Mayfest in the Fort Worth area, as well as delve into a new project that excites him. 

“I have never mixed business with my photography,” noted Luenser. “But once I retire from my association with Aquasana, I am going to do a photo project on why you should filter your water. Clean water is not a fad.” 

That project began at his retirement party on Tuesday, March 27. 

This project is bound to travel far, following in the success of his former projects. Brian Luenser with award

Luenser has been featured in several Fort-Worth-area publications, like the Star-Telegram and Forth Worth Magazine. Local news stations also regularly use his videos on their broadcasts. 

Luenser is about to gain national attention in May when the Science Channel produces a special on a series of videos he has shot, including one of a transformer exploding after a bolt of lightning broke a 10,000 volt line resulting in explosions across the city. When he originally published the video in 2012, it was featured on worldwide news stations and was the number one trending video on YouTube for 24 hours. 

Renowned in Fort Worth for photography and in Aquasana for bringing it to life, colleagues will miss Luenser after his retirement.  

“Aquasana has been around for over 20 years, and Brian’s contribution and dedication to the success of Aquasana cannot be underestimated,” noted James Gonzales, Aquasana corporate controller. “On a personal note, he is one of the funniest and entertaining co-workers that I have been around.”   

Luenser is proud to retire after a very full career as a CPA, and his drive for achievement and integrity will live on in his charity work and photography. 

To view his photos, visit Luenser's website or follow him on Facebook.