WQA announces Leadership, Excellence awards


15 individuals, two companies honored at 2024 Convention & Exposition 

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Water Quality Association honored 15 individuals and two member companies March 5 with its annual Leadership and Excellence Awards. President Amanda Moore, CWS, announced the recipients during the Keynote Session on the opening day of the WQA Convention & Exposition. 

The 2024 Hall of Fame award – the highest honor bestowed on a WQA member, given for lifetime dedication and service to the industry and association – was awarded to Darwin R. “Buzz” Goldstein, MWS, general manager of Charger Water Treatment Products. Goldstein, a former member of the WQA Board of Directors, was previously honored with WQA’s Ray Cross Award in 2020.  

The WQA Lifetime Membership Award, which recognizes exemplary service to the association, went to two men: Kurt Gruett, CWS, who works in Business Development at the North American Water Treatment Division of A.O. Smith, and the late Peter S. Meyers, ResinTech’s technical director for 28 years.  

WQA’s Excellence Award is given to WQA member companies that excel in their operations, innovation, customer service or community involvement. This year the award was presented to Jacobi Carbons, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, and to Performance Water Products of Buena Park, California.  

Other awards announced March 5:

  • The Key Award, which honors members who demonstrate the highest quality of leadership within their company, industry and various associations, was presented to Suzanne Trueblood, executive director of the Florida Water Quality Association, and to William Jefferis, owner and president of Freeman Water Treatment of MS, LLC.
  • The Ray Cross Award, recognizing WQA members whose pioneer spirit and unwavering commitment made a notable difference in the water treatment industry, was given to Mike Herman, MWS, vice president and general manager for Culligan Ultrapure in Minnesota, and to John Griesbach, MWS, vice president of Diamond H2O in Wisconsin.
  • The Regents Award, presented to individuals who have made significant contributions at the state or local level, was awarded to David A. Davies, CWS, president of Aqua General, Inc. of Houston, Texas and to Bob Ruhstorfer, MWS, a former WQA President and owner of five Culligan dealerships in Texas. 
  • The Award of Merit, in recognition of exceptional service to the water quality improvement industry, honored E. Allan Horner, MWS, technical director for Impact Water Products, and Jennifer Smith, CWS, sales representative with ResinTech Inc., based in New Jersey. 
  • The International Award of Merit was given to Andrey Mitchenko, Ph.D., a Ukrainian entrepreneur and co-owner and CEO of Ecosoft. 
  • WQA’s Honorary Membership Award, given to someone outside the water treatment industry with meritorious contributions to humanity though research, education or exemplary service, went to Tom Harrington, the retired former CEO of Primo Water.
  • The Next Gen award, given to individuals 40 or younger who have demonstrated a commitment to the betterment of the water treatment industry, was presented to Kathryn Fisher, certification specialist for A.O. Smith’s North America Water Treatment. 
  • WQA’s Presidents’ Club membership for recruiting at least three new companies to join WQA in the last year was presented to Roy Esparza, MWS, CI, CWR, Franklin Water Treatment (Puronics). 

More details about the awards and the honorees, plus photos of the winners, can be found on the WQA Convention website.

WQA is marking 50 years (1974-2024) as 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 


# # #