WQA Staff Leadership


Pauli Undesser, MWS, CAE

Chief Executive Officer

A recognized leader with a vast knowledge of water treatment technologies, standards, codes and regulations, Pauli Undesser serves a dual role as Chief Executive Officer of the Water Quality Association and the Water Quality Research Foundation. She was named to the position in 2017, after 10 years with the association. 

During her term as CEO, Undesser has overseen record growth of both WQA and WQRF, highlighted by the association’s 2021 move to a state-of-the-art new international headquarters and laboratory. As Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs, she led WQA’s successful coordination of a coalition to re-write and simplify industry product certification laws in California, launched an unprecedented capital campaign for its foundation and developed an internal toxicology program.

Undesser earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2016 through the American Society of Association Executives. In 2016 she was named to the Association Forum’s “Forty Under 40” list., and in 2018, she was honored with the Association Forum’s Inspiring Leader award for establishing a workplace culture leading to employee satisfaction, motivation, engagement and achievement.

Since 2017, Undesser has served on the board of directors of HR Source, a not-for-profit association providing human resources, compensation, legal, training and employee benefits services to more than 1,200 companies and organizations. She also is a board member since 2020 for the Association Forum, which represents more than 44,000 association professionals from nearly 1,600 Chicago-area associations. Undesser holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in Biochemistry from Northern Illinois University.

Pauli Undesser headshot

Tom Bruusema, MS

Chief Operating Officer

Tom Bruursema directs the overall administration, leadership and cross-functional strategy execution for WQA’s Product Certification, Professional Certification, Laboratory, Technical Affairs and Quality departments. He joined WQA in 2018, serving as Associate Executive Director of Member & Public Engagement until 2022.

Bruursema has a rich background in the water treatment industry and in marketing and business operations. He spent 30 years at NSF International, where for a time he was General Manager of Drinking Water Treatment Units and Environmental and Research Services. He holds a Master of Science degree in Biology from Eastern Michigan University.

Tom Bruursema

Kyle Jones

Chief Financial Officer

Kyle Jones is responsible for assuring WQA and WQRF’s accounting policies, procedures and practices are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and result in accurate and timely financial reports, as well as adhering to the investment and fiscal policies set by the WQA and WQRF Boards and Finance Committees.

Jones came to WQA and WQRF with experience in managing nonprofit finance, audits, strategic planning, operations and systems implementation. He holds a bachelor’s degree and PBCA from Indiana University and has a solid understanding of GAAP, finance, IT, operations and nonprofit organizations.

Mike Sennett

Chief Legal Officer

Mike Sennett serves as the Water Quality Association’s Chief Legal Officer following many years as an antitrust and competition law partner with the global law firm Jones Day. Sennett is very familiar with the association, its operations and industry leadership, its Gold Seal Certification Program and laboratory services, and its members, their needs and their products and services, having served as outside legal counsel to WQA for more than 25 years. He also is an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, serves on the board of the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies and is a longstanding trustee of Children’s Home & Aid, an Illinois social services agency assisting families and children in Illinois where the need is greatest.

Sennett holds an A.B. with honors in philosophy and English from Quincy University and a J.D, cum laude, from Loyola University Chicago, in addition to doing graduate work in jurisprudence and economics at Northwestern University

Jonathan Adams, MBA, CAE

Vice President for Innovation

Jonathan Adams has led WQA’s IT department since 2015. In his role as Director of Information Technology, he oversees the streamlined operation of the IT department and ensures alignment with the business objectives of the Association. He uses his time and talents to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and experience of internal staff as well as WQA members and clients. Adams has over 12 years of experience and expertise across several areas of technology, including systems administration, networking, security, web development, and solutions delivery.

Adams serves as a member of the Welcoming Environment Committee for the Association Forum.  Jonathan was recently recognized as a 2022-2024 Diverse Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar by ASAE as well as being recognized as a 2022 40 Under 40 recipient by the Association Forum.

In addition to being a Certified Scrum Master and Certified Association Executive, Jonathan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems from Eastern Illinois University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Kathleen Burbidge, CAE

Vice President of External Affairs

Kathleen Burbidge is WQA’s Vice President of External Affairs, responsible for contributing to the overall administration, leadership, and cross-functional strategy development and execution for WQA programs; increasing advocacy; and strengthening relationships with state and regional associations to position the Association for continued growth. Burbidge supports the organization’s efforts on external-facing engagement across members, clients, key stakeholders and other professionals within the broader water industry.

 She joined WQA in 2014 and in 2020 earned her Certified Association Executive designation through the American Society of Association Executives. That same year she also was named to the Association Forum’s “Forty Under 40” list. 

kathleen burbidge

Kelli Fleischmann

Vice President of Global Services

Kelli Fleischmann has a strong background within the drinking water industry in project management, business development and international experience.

Before joining WQA, she most recently served as Business Development Manager for Ahstrom-Munksjo in Mount Holly Springs, PA where she was responsible for commercial development and new market penetration. She spent several years with NSF International, serving in a variety of positions including General Manager of Global Water Systems and the Drinking Water Treatment Unit.

Angie Silberhorn, CMP

Events Director

Angie Silberhorn is WQA’s Events Director, responsible for developing the strategic and operational plan to manage the Association’s conventions and key meetings along with other key customer and member events. She came to WQA after eight years with the Warehousing Education and Research Council, most recently as its Director of Events and Strategy. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Roosevelt University and is a Certified Meeting Professional.

The Greater Midwest Chapter of the Professional Convention Management Association honored Silberhorn with the 2020 Robert J. Donovan Award, presented to an outstanding meeting professional who leads by example, inspires volunteerism and is committed to the growth of the industry.

Eric Yeggy

Technical Affairs Director

Eric Yeggy plans and coordinates the activities of the Technical Affairs department as well as the WQA Water Sciences Committee, which is charged with tackling the technical challenges facing the drinking water treatment industry. Additionally, Yeggy serves as the Scientific Consultant for the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) and plays a key role in review and prioritization of research proposals. Eric has been part of the WQA team since 2009 and has since led the development of new industry standards for Sustainability of Water Treatment Products, and industry performance standards for Electrochemical Water Treatment Systems.

Yeggy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa and began his career in the environmental testing industry. As an analytical chemist in the testing industry, he brings a wealth of knowledge to WQA, including gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma analysis and numerous other techniques used to test waste water, soil, drinking water, consumer products and industrial materials.

Jeremy Pollack

Government Affairs Director

Jeremy Pollack joined WQA in December of 2021. He is responsible for developing and guiding the association’s U.S. domestic federal legislative and regulatory agenda, in addition to managing international, regional, and state level affairs.

Prior to joining WQA, he was the chief liaison for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) on issues related to resiliency, water, energy, sustainability, and COVID-19 guidance. He is based in Washington, D.C.

Tambra Thomas

Quality Director

With a strong background in quality systems management and a commitment to quality operations best practices, Tambra Thomas was promoted to Quality Director in 2023 after 10 years with WQA. She is responsible for ensuring all departments comply with Association-related accreditations, regulations and policies surrounding audits, document control and initiatives supporting WQA’s Strategic Operating Plan and business objectives.

Thomas became WQA Quality Manager in 2013 after a dozen years at Suburban Laboratories and Abbott Laboratories. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Loyola University Chicago and a master’s degree in management and organizational behavior from Benedictine University.

Tambra Thomas

Tanya Lubner, PhD

Professional Certification & Training Director

Dr. Tanya Lubner has served as WQA’s director of Professional Certification & Training since 2005. In this role, she oversees the development of new program areas, creation of educational materials and examinations.

Prior to joining WQA, Lubner was a sales engineer for a manufacturer of optical spectroscopy instrumentation. She holds a doctorate in inorganic chemistry from the University of Wyoming.

Tanya Lubner

Wesley Bleed

Marketing & Communications Director

Wesley Bleed brings extensive media and public relations experience to WQA’s Marketing & Communications Department. As News Director and broadcast journalist for award-winning WGN Radio, Communications Director for a statewide campaign for governor and Vice President of a Chicago area public relations/public affairs firm, Bleed has a solid understanding of media relations, crisis communications, content marketing, video production, website and social media development.

Bleed holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication from Wheaton College.

Wesley Bleed

Zac Gleason

Laboratory Director

Zac Gleason comes to WQA from the manufacturing and technology development sector where he oversaw contract and grant-based efforts as well as field testing, internal quality assurance, development experimentation and third-party verification/certification.

He brings more than 15 years’ experience in water, sanitation and hygiene and 10 years of laboratory oversight experience along with hands-on knowledge of more than 85 different water treatment technologies and counting. After working with government agencies and regulatory bodies from around the world, NGOs and non-profits, as well as the manufacturing and for-profit sector, he has gained a diverse and unique perspective on the challenges associated with providing clean water to people from all walks of life.

Gleason holds a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Washington (Seattle).

HS Choi

Country Manager – South Korea, Taiwan and Japan

HS (HeungSoon) Choi serves as an independent contractor for WQA in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Based out of Seoul, Choi performs factory inspections on behalf of WQA’s Gold Seal Product Certification Program and also works to increase awareness of WQA Membership, Product Certification and Professional Certification.

Prior to representing WQA, Choi worked as a business development manager for Underwriters Laboratories (UL Korea) in South Korea. HS holds a bachelor’s degree from HanYang University College of Engineering in Seoul.

Vaneet Gupta

Country Manager – India

Vaneet Gupta serves as an independent contractor for WQA in India. He performs factory inspections on behalf of WQA’s Gold Seal Product Certification Program and also works to increase awareness of WQA Membership, Product Certification and Professional Certification.

Gupta has an extensive water and water treatment industry background. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Dr. Harisingh Sagar University, MP, India, as well as a Masters of Business Administration from the Centre for Management Development, Modinagar, UP, India.

Julia Zhu

Asia Pacific Operations Manager

Julia Zhu, based in Shanghai, serves as the Operations Manager representing WQA in China. Julia is responsible for the overall operations of WQA in China, including increasing WQA brand awareness and developing public and government relationships.

Zhu has a water-related product certification background with rich experience in operations, project management, customer services and business development. Before joining WQA, she was in charge of multiple business lines for NSF, including Water Programs in China. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from East China Normal University and is studying for her MBA at Fudan University.