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Jim Stern assumes WQA presidency



LISLE, Ill. (April 26, 2022) – Jim Stern, Executive Vice President for A. O. Smith Corporation, is the new president of the Water Quality Association. Stern pledges to bring “a fresh set of eyes and ears” to his presidency, which will focus on helping the association grow through its new Strategic Plan.

“I can think of no industry or membership more poised to have a major impact on public health and safety than the water treatment industry and WQA,” Stern said in remarks at the 2022 WQA Convention & Exposition’s Opening General Session April 6, shortly after he accepted the gavel from outgoing president Toby Thomas of Kinetico.

“We can work together on public awareness, product standards, certifications, and policing bad practices to advance the cause of the industry knowing that with low penetration today, we are raising the industry for all participants,” Stern said. “For we all have a similar goal: We want to make water better for people.”

Stern outlined the three overarching strategic goals of WQA’s 2022-24 Strategic Plan, which he said is poised for success “primarily because of the strength of our committed membership.” They are:

  • Advancing knowledge and professionalism of industry participants
  • Increasing advocacy
  • Driving public awareness and knowledge

In 2010, Stern helped  A. O. Smith, a company focused primarily on water heating, enter the water treatment industry. Stern is responsible for overseeing the corporation’s legal, governance, compliance, securities law and government relations functions. He also spends a significant portion of his time on corporate development and the company’s global water treatment business. 

Stern earned his BA from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. He also completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.  He serves on the Board of Directors of Badger Meter, Inc. (NYSE: BMI).

WQA has a 24-member Board of Directors: 15 elected representatives of manufacturer/supplier members and nine from the dealer membership category. Eight directors, including Stern, serve as the Board of Governors. Stern has served four years on the Board of Directors, two of them on the Board of Governors.


In addition, WQA recommends treatment products that have been tested and certified to industry standards. Consumers can visit WQA’s product certification listings to search WQA’s database of certified products. WQA is a not-for-profit trade association representing the residential, commercial, and industrial water treatment industry. WQA’s education and professional certification programs have been providing industry-standardized training and credentialing since 1977.  The WQA Gold Seal certification program has been certifying products that contribute to the safe consumption of water since 1959. The WQA Gold Seal program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). WQA publishes a consumer-friendly website, BetterWaterToday.org.