News Releases

WQA’s Burbidge, Duve earn top Association certification

CAE is recognition of leadership skills in nonprofit association management

LISLE, Ill. – Two members of WQA’s leadership team, Kathleen Burbidge and Heather Duve, have earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives. The CAE is the highest professional credential in the association industry, representing top education and skill in nonprofit association management.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to hear of Heather’s and Kathleen’s accomplishments,” said WQA Executive Director Pauli Undesser, who herself holds a CAE. “Hours of hard work and much dedication go into earning this certification, and it must have been even more difficult to achieve in a pandemic year. Our members will continue to benefit greatly from their increased skills and expertise.”

On Feb. 16, Burbidge was promoted to External Affairs Associate Director after six years with WQA.. She manages efforts specific to external-facing engagement for WQA within the broader water industry. Previously, she served as Global Regulatory & Government Affairs Manager. Burbidge, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Global Studies: International Relations with Honors, Cum Laude, from North Central College in Naperville, IL, recently was named to the prestigious 2020 “Forty Under 40” list by the Association Forum, an organization of Chicago-area professional associations.

Since June, Duve has served as WQA’s Membership and Development Associate Director, responsible for WQA’s membership recruitment and retention programs and supporting members and member committees in establishing membership standards. She joined WQA in 2016 as Membership Relations Manager and has achieved record sponsorship participation for WQA events, led the association’s internal customer service program, and helped create and maintain the WQA Business Boot Camp. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University. 

To be designated a CAE, an applicant must have experience with non-profit management, complete a minimum of 100 hours of specialized professional development, pass a stringent examination in association management, and pledge to uphold the ASAE code of ethics. To maintain the certification, individuals must undertake ongoing professional development and activities in association and nonprofit management. The CAE program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.


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).       

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 48,000 association executives and industry partners representing 7,400 organizations. Since it was established 100 years ago, its mentions have and continue to lead, manage and work in or partner with organizations in more than a dozen association management disciplines, from executive management to finance to technology. With the support of the ASAE Research Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premiere source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the nonprofit profession.




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