News Releases

WQA announces leadership, excellence award winners
19 individuals, two companies honored during association’s Annual Meeting

LISLE, Ill. – Winners of the prestigious Hall of Fame and Lifetime Membership awards – as well as two companies honored with the Excellence Award – are among 21 honors announced during the Water Quality Association’s Annual meeting, held online April 27.  The awards will be presented in person during the WQA Convention and Exposition July 28-30 in Las Vegas, NV.

The 2021 Hall of Fame award – the highest honor bestowed on a WQA member, given for lifetime dedication and service to the industry and association – went to Michael Mecca, director of new product development for Performance Water Products. Mecca has spent 42 years in the water treatment industry, beginning as a designer and installer of water softeners, and now leads industry efforts to judiciously interpret water softener restrictions across the country. He previously was honored with WQA’s Regents Award (2007), the Award of Merit (2010) and the Lifetime Membership Award (2016).

WQA’s Lifetime Member Award, honoring exemplary service to the association, went to Joseph J. Huemann, CWS, CI, of Huemann Water Conditioning, who formerly served on the WQA Board of Directors. Huemann’s great-great-grandfather started Huemann Well Drilling in 1902, and his father started Huemann Water Conditioning in 1963. Joe Huemann started driving a salt truck for Huemann Water Conditioning and now is president of the company. He is a member of the Illinois Association of Groundwater Professionals, a volunteer firefighter for 31 years, and a former WQA Award of Merit honoree (2006).

WQA Excellence Awards were given to companies who excelled in their operations, innovation, customer service or community involvement in two different member categories. Among Dealers, Fillmaster Systems LLC, of Columbia, MD, was honored for its community service, particularly the donation to local hospitals of 400 face shields that it created on 3D printers idled by the pandemic. Manufacturer/Supplier Elkay Manufacturing of Chicago was singled out for its pandemic donations of sinks, handwash stations, masks and acrylic barriers to pop-up hospitals and its donations of hands-free bottle fillers to local non-profits, 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.  

Other awards announced April 27:

  • The Key Award, which honors members who demonstrate the highest quality of leadership within their company, industry and various associations, including local civic and community activities, was awarded to:
    • Amanda Wakem-Moore, CWS, Vice President of Atlantic Filter Corporation in West Palm Beach, Fla. Wakem-Moore serves on the WQA Board of Governors, is a founding member of the WQA Women in Industry (WIN) Advisory Council, and was Florida Water Quality Association President in 2018. She was a 2017 recipient of WQA’s Next Gen Award.
    • Frank DeSilva, National Sales Manager for ResinTech Inc. of West Berlin, N.J., where he has worked for more than 30 years. DeSilva is a past president of the Pacific Water Quality Association and is part of many industry associations, including serving as chair of WQA’s Federal Government Relations Committee.
  • The Ray Cross Award, recognizing WQA members whose pioneer spirit and unwavering commitment made a notable difference in the water treatment industry, also had two honorees:
    • Larry Gottlieb, President of ResinTech, Inc., of West Berlin, NJ. Gottlieb helped launch two subsidiary businesses, Aries Filterworks and ADM Technoloies. 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).
    • Doug Ramer, MWS, CWR, Director of Martin Water Conditioning of Myerstown, PA. Ramer has served as president of the Eastern Water Quality Association and is now on the WQA Board of Directors. He also is a business advisor and facilitates HR Workshops for small businesses, including WQA’s Business Boot Camp.
  • The Regents Award, presented to individuals who have made significant contributions at the state or local level went to:
    • Jeffrey J. Hellenbrand, who was president of Hellenbrand Water Softeners from 1991 until the company’s sale in 2019. He is a former member of the WQA Board of directors and since 2010 has been actively involved in the reduction of chlorides with the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. Hellenbrand is a past recipient of the WQA Award of Merit (1987) and the Key Award (2012).
    • Greg Reyneke, MWS, Managing Director of Red Fox Advisors of Orem, Utah. Reyneke is a past president of the Pacific Water Quality Association and a voting member of the NSF Joint Committee on Drinking Water Treatment Units. He has been active in the WQA since 2004 and served on numerous the WQA Board of Directors since 2018.

The Award of Merit, in recognition of exceptional service to the water quality improvement industry, went to three recipients:

  • Douglas Anderson, Senior Director, Global Engineering and R&D at Culligan International. Anderson has served in leadership or membership positions on a number of committees and task forces with WQA, the Water Quality Research Foundation and other water treatment industry groups.
  • Joshua C. Greene, Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs at A. O. Smith. Before entering the industry, Green’s background was in law and government. He serves on the WQA Federal Government Affairs Committee and chairs the Clean Water for All Task Force
  • Rick Andrew, Director, Global Business Development – Water Systems for NSF International, where he has worked for 22 years. A WQA member since 1999, he has served on the Water Science Committee for more than 10 years.
  • Sun Yong Lee, Ph. D., of Coway Co. Ltd. was honored with the International Award of Merit in recognition of exceptional service to the industry internationally. 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. He previously served on the joint committee of NSF drinking water treatment units and now is a member of the WQA Board of Directors. 
  • WQA’s Honorary Membership Award, given to someone outside the water treatment industry with meritorious contributions to humanity though research, education or exemplary service, is awarded to two men this year:​
    • Darren A. Lytle, Ph.D., 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. Lytle 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.
    • 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. He is Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus.
  • The Next Gen award, given to individuals 40 or younger who have demonstrated a commitment to the betterment of the water treatment industry, went to two industry stars this year:​
    • Lauren Del Ciello, managing editor for Water Quality Products magazine. Del Ciello 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.
    • Jun Kim, Ph.D., a Simulation Center of Excellence Lead and Product Design Engineer at Amway. Kim serves WQA and WQRF as a member of Water Sciences Committee. He has published more than 30 patents, research articles, and high impact factor journal papers in more than 15 years of research into water issues.

WQA also honored three members with Presidents’ Club memberships for recruiting at least three new WQA members in the last year:

  • Roy Esparza, MWS, CI, CWR, Business Development Manager of Puronics Water Systems Inc.
  • Kurt Gruett, CWS, President of Water-Right, Inc.
  • Edward P. “Ted” Jones, MWS, Vice President, North American Dealer Sales, Kinetico, Incorporated

Awards for both 2021 and 2020 will be presented during the Convention’s Opening General Session, which will be held at 3 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, July 28 in Las Vegas. Last year’s awardees were honored online only after the coronavirus pandemic forced WQA to make the 2020 Convention a virtual event.

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


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,

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