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2021 WQA Leadership Awards

 Hall of Fame

The WQA Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon a WQA member. This recipient is recognized for his lifetime dedication and service to the water quality improvement industry and the association.

Michael Mecca
Performance Water Products

Upload Image Mike Mecca got his start in the water treatment industry 42 years ago, designing and building residential water softeners. That hands-on experience led to a passion for Reverse Osmosis, which was in its infancy at the time. Mike was awarded several patents in the bottled water vending industry. In 1999 he joined the Performance Water Products team as director of new product development. Mike has applied his experience in government affairs to WQA and the Pacific Water Quality Association and helps lead the effort to help judiciously interpret water softener restrictions across the country. Mike was honored with WQA’s Regents Award in 2007, the Award of Merit in 2010, and the Lifetime Membership Award in 2016.

Lifetime Membership

Given to those individuals who are or have been active within the industry and have rendered exemplary service to the association, and whose knowledge and accomplishments in the field of water quality entitle them to special recognition.


Joseph J. Huemann, CWS, CI
Huemann Water Conditioning

Upload Image Joe Huemann’s family has been involved in the water business, and in WQA, for generations. His great-great-grandfather Joseph started Huemann Well Drilling in 1902, then his father, Tom, started Huemann Water Conditioning in Johnsburg, Ill., in 1963.  Joe started with a salt route and now is president of Huemann Water Conditioning. He has served WQA in several capacities, including the Board of Directors from 2007 to 2010, one of those years on the Board of Governors. On a local level, he has served 31 years as a volunteer firefighter and also has held membership in the Illinois Association of Groundwater Professionals.  Joe was honored with the WQA Award of Merit in 2006. 

Key Award

Like receiving the key to a city, this WQA member is recognized for demonstrating the highest qualities of leadership within his/her company, industry, and various association, as well as in local civic and community activities. Two people are receiving the Key Award in 2021:


Amanda Wakem-Moore, CWS 
Atlantic Filter Corporation

Upload Image Amanda Wakem-Moore, Vice President of Atlantic Filter Corporation, joined her family water treatment business after graduating from Vanderbilt University in 1997. She is a Certified Water Specialist and the third generation of her family in the industry. Amanda served as President of the Florida Water Quality Association in 2018 and remains actively involved with the regional association. She serves on the WQA Board of Governors and will serve as treasurer for 2021-2022. She also was a founding member of WQA’s Women in Industry (WIN) Advisory Council and serves as a mentor to other women in the industry. Amanda was a 2017 recipient of WQA’s Next Gen Award.


Francis J. DeSilva
ResinTech, Inc.

Upload Image Francis J. DeSilva is National Sales Manager for ResinTech Inc., where he has worked for more than 30 years. He holds a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and has authored numerous articles on ion exchange and related topics. Frank serves on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Water Quality Association and is a Past President of that association. He is also a member of the AWWA Ion Exchange Standards Committee and serves on the Legislative and Regulatory Committee of the Association of Water Technologies. He is a longtime WQA member and serves as chair of the Federal Government Relations Committee. 

Ray Cross Award

In honor of Ray E. Cross, Water Specialist Emeritus and Past President of WCAI 1960, this special award recognizes a current or former WQA member whose pioneer spirit and unwavering commitment has made a notable difference in the water treatment industry and has not been previously honored with the Hall of Fame or Lifetime Member Award. Two people are being honored with the Ray Cross Award in 2021:


Larry Gottlieb
ResinTech, Inc.

Upload Image Since 2017, Larry Gottlieb has been President of ResinTech, Inc., a company his family started. During his time at ResinTech, he launched several subsidiary businesses including Aries Filterworks and ACM Technologies. Larry earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and began his career with Holtec International, a leader in the nuclear power field. He serves on the WQA Board of Directors and is a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Environmental Technology and Trade Advisory Committee (ETTAC). He also supports the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, particularly in its efforts providing housing, assisted living and long-term care for the elderly.


Doug Ramer, MWS, CWR
Martin Water Conditioning

Upload Image Doug Ramer, Director of Martin Water Conditioning, began his career in water treatment in 1980 and has spent the last 25 years in Human Resources. He received his first WQA certification in 1992 and currently holds the Master Water Specialist and Certified Water Treatment Representative certifications. He has served as president of the Eastern Water Quality Association and currently serves on the WQA Board of Directors.  In recent years Doug has helped lead Martin Water to be the No. 1 Kinetico dealership in the USA.  He also is a business advisor and facilitates HR Workshops for small businesses, including sessions at WQA’s Business Boot Camp.


Regents Award

The Regents Award is presented to an individual, or group of individuals who has made a significant contribution at the state or local level working with issues affecting the industry such as ethics, legislation, or educational efforts. Two people are honored in 2021:


Jeffrey J. Hellenbrand
Hellenbrand, Inc.

Upload Image Jeff Hellenbrand’s water treatment career began as a youngster back in August of 1967 when his parents, Jim and Florence, started Hellenbrand Water Softeners. He later served as President from 1991 until the company’s sale in 2019. Jeff has served on the board of directors for WQA and the Wisconsin WQA and is a past member of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, the Wisconsin Plumbing Association, and the Madison Area Plumbing Association. Since 2010 Jeff has been actively involved in the reduction of chlorides with the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and has served on various WQA committees and task forces.  Jeff is a past recipient of the WQA Award of Merit (1987) and the Key Award (2012).


Greg Reyneke, MWS
Red Fox Advisors

Upload Image Greg Reyneke has more than two decades of ongoing experience in the management and growth of water treatment dealerships. His expertise spans residential, commercial, and industrial applications including wastewater remediation, Legionella risk-management, and advanced corrosion control strategies. The 2016 recipient of the Ray Cross Award, Greg has been active in the WQA since 2004 and served on numerous committees and advisory councils. He also has served on the WQA Board of Directors since 2018. Greg is a voting member of the NSF Joint Committee on Drinking Water Treatment Units and is active with the American Society of Sanitary Engineering. He is past President of the Pacific Water Quality Association.

Award of Merit

This award may be presented to more than one individual, company, or organization in recognition of exceptional service given to the water quality improvement industry. In 2021, three Awards of Merit are being given:


Doug Anderson
Culligan International Company

Upload Image Doug Anderson has spent more than 25 years developing or leading teams to develop new products in a variety of industries including aerospace, life safety, beverage dispense, and for the past decade, water treatment. He now serves as Senior Director, Global Engineering and R&D at Culligan International.  Doug holds a BS & MS in Aerospace Engineering, is Six Sigma+Lean Black Belt certified, and holds over 15 patents. He has served in leadership or membership positions on a number of committees and task forces with WQA, WQRF and other water treatment industry groups. In his community, Doug served on the St. Charles, Ill., Plan Commission.


Joshua C. Greene
A.O. Smith Corporation

Upload Image Joshua C. Greene, Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs at A. O. Smith, began his professional career in 1993 working as a Congressional staffer.  Prior to his joining A. O. Smith, he was partner at the international law firm of Squire Patton Boggs LLP in Washington D.C.  At A. O. Smith his primary function is to advocate for the company’s business goals and objectives in front of federal, state, and local policy makers and regulators across North America.  Josh currently serves on the WQA Federal Government Affairs Committee as well as chairing the Clean Water for All Task Force.

Rick Andrew
NSF International

Upload Image Rick Andrew is Director, Global Business Development – Water Systems for NSF International, where he has worked for 22 years, previously serving as technical manager and then general manager of Drinking Water Treatment Units Certification.  He holds a BS in Chemistry and an MBA, both from the University of Michigan, and previously worked as an analytical chemist. A WQA member since 1999, for more than 10 years he has served on the Water Science Committee.  Rick has attended every WQA Convention & Exposition for the last 20 years and every WQA Mid-Year Leadership Conference since 2005.

International Award of Merit

This award may be presented to more than one individual, company, or organization in recognition of exceptional service given to the water quality improvement industry internationally.

Sun Yong Lee, Ph. D.
Coway Co. Ltd.

Upload Image Sun Yong Lee has pioneered development of water purification devices, various types of water purification filters and systems in Korea since he entered the water treatment field in 1999. By introducing WQA certifications into the water purification devices in Korea, he has tried to help people’s understanding about healthy water. He previously served on the joint committee of NSF drinking water treatment units and now is a member of the WQA Board of Directors.  He wants to be a part of WQA’s dedication to healthier drinking water.  

Honorary Membership Award

This award is given to the individual whose occupation is outside the industry, but whose contributions to mankind, through research, education, or exemplary service in or related to water quality, are meritorious. In 2021, two people are given Honorary Membership Awards:

The Honorable Dan Kildee
U.S. Congressman from Michigan

Upload Image U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) was named a Water Quality Association Champion in 2019 for his support of water-related legislation, particularly his work in forming a bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force. Born and raised in Flint, Congressman Kildee worked to bring relief to Flint families during the lead crisis in that city, securing $100 million to replace lead pipes and expand health care. He is Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and serves on the Ways and Means Committee, the Budget Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Before being elected, he co-founded and served as president of the Center for Community Progress, a national non-profit organization focused on urban land reform and revitalization.


Darren A. Lytle, Ph.D.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Upload Image Dr. Darren A. Lytle is an environmental engineer for the Water Infrastructure Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since beginning work at EPA in 1991, Darren’s primary goal has been to research the quality of drinking water. Over the years, he has investigated and published works on drinking water systems, including work on distribution system corrosion control and water; filtration; biological water treatment; and iron and arsenic removal. He holds a B.S. in civil engineering, an M.S. in environmental engineering, and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering.

Next Gen Award

This award is presented to one or more individuals, at or under 40 years of age, who have engaged and demonstrated a commitment to the betterment of the water treatment industry.  In 2021, WQA is honoring two people:

Lauren Del Ciello
Water Quality Products Magazine

Upload Image Lauren Del Ciello is managing editor for Water Quality Products magazine. A 2016 graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University with a Bachelors of Arts in English Writing and Francophone Studies, she serves on the WQA Communications Committee, WQA Women in Industry Advisory Council and WQA Young Professionals Advisory Council. She is co-host of the Talking Under Water podcast and a founding member of nonprofit Her2O International. She has received journalism awards from the American Society of Business Professional Editors for her work covering lead contamination issues. Del Ciello cites a passion for elevating stories of innovation and initiating conversations about solving water issues.

Jun Kim, Ph.D.
Amway Corp.

Upload Image Dr. Jun Kim is a Simulation Center of Excellence Lead and Product Design Engineer at Amway. Jun serves WQA and WQRF as a member of Water Sciences Committee. He also supports the Michigan Section American Water Works Association (AWWA) as a Research & Treatment Practices Committee member. Jun received his Ph.D. in Environmental Science & Engineering from Rice University and has published more than 30 patents, research articles, and high impact factor journal papers. Over 15 years, his research focused on advanced water treatment processes for residential drinking water, seawater desalination, municipal wastewater, industrial ultrapure water, and oil/gas produced water.


Excellence Award

The Excellence Award honors those member companies that demonstrate excellence in customer service, business operations, community service, and innovation. It can be presented in two categories:  Manufacturer/Supplier and Dealer.

Dealer Category:
Fillmaster Systems LLC, Columbia, MD

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Fillmaster Systems designs, builds, installs and services automated digital water dispensers that reconstitute powdered medications in pharmacies and flavor them. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the company to close its main office and have employees work from home, two large 3D printers were idled. With the approval of CEO Stu Amos, Fillmaster Technical Director Dan Connor brought the printers and filaments to his home office to use in creating face shields to donate to local hospitals in desperate need of PPE for their staff. Each face shield takes four hours to print, but running the printers constantly from mid-March to the end of May created 400 face shields (1,600 hours work) that were donated to Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Medical Center and several other medical facilities in Maryland.

Fillmaster & FlavorX employees also volunteer annually at the "Believe in Tomorrow" house in Baltimore, which offers no-cost overnight accommodations to families of critically ill children that are receiving treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  A team of 10 employees prepared on-site dinner, dessert and lunches for the residents during a 2019 visit, and although COVID restrictions prevented a 2020 visit, they are looking forward to being able to do similar work in 2021.

Manufacturer/Supplier Category:
Elkay Manufacturing, Chicago, IL

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Elkay is honored for its extensive community involvement as well as two innovations that have increased the availability of filtered drinking water while decreasing the number of single-use plastic bottles and aluminum cans in use.

 Elkay annually donates $25,000 of hands-free bottle fillers and other products to local non-profits and community associations serving underprivileged youth. During the pandemic, the company donated sinks, handwash stations, masks, and acrylic barriers to pop-up hospitals, too. Elkay’s annual giving campaign serves more than 60 major non-profits, and the company provides two full days of paid time-off for employees to volunteer in the community. 

The company’s Smartwell Beverage Dispenser, which allows users to mix zero-calorie natural fruit flavors and add natural sweetener and enhancements to still or sparkling water, can save companies 61 to 152 pounds of single-use plastic each month. The ezH2O line of filtered water fountains and bottle filling stations have saved an estimated 26 billion single-use bottles – and studies show that 60% of such bottles would have ended in landfills or the environment.  


President's Club


The President’s Club honors members who have recruited at least three WQA members in the last year. Three people are honored as President's Club members in 2021:

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Roy Esparza, MWS, CI, CWR
Business Development Manager
Puronics Water Systems, Inc.
Kurt Gruett, CWS
President
Water-Right, Inc.
Ted Jones, MWS
VP, North American Dealer Sales
Kinetico, Incorporated