LAS VEGAS — As the water industry convenes together April 21-24 for WQA Aquatech USA, the Opening General Session kicked off the convention on Tuesday, April 22 at 9:30 a.m.

Water Quality Association (WQA) Executive Director David Westman offered a closer look into the new organizational structure for the WQA, and WQA Deputy Executive Director Pauli Undesser discussed WQA’s certification programs, both product and professional.

WQA Board President for 2014-15 Douglas S. “Sam” Karge announced the newest members to WQA’s board of directors, including the manufacturer/supplier category and the commercial/industrial industry.

The session continued by discussing the Water Quality Research Foundation’s (WQRF) Investing in Your Future Campaign. “This has been one terrific year for WQRF,” said WQRF President John Packard. “As many of you know, we embarked on this incredible journey last year, launching the Investing in Your Future Campaign to fuel the foundation’s vision for the future. It has been an amazing experience, and I am so proud of what we have accomplished.”

After a short video featuring comments on the WQRF’s campaign, Packard announced that the campaign has raised more than $2.6 million in excess from 80 partners — the campaign carried a fundraising goal of $2.5 million over five years. “Without organizations and individuals who are dedicated to creating a better future for our industry, none of this would have been possible,” noted Packard.

Following the report on WQRF’s successful campaign, WQA Vice President for 2014-15 Bret Tangley announced the winners of the 2015 WQA Awards, opening with the Ray Cross Award winners, which recognizes a current or former member(s) of the WQA whose work has made a notable difference in the water treatment industry. The winners of this award include the late Donald E. Heskett of KDF Fluid Treatment Inc. and James A. Horner of ENPRESS LLC.

Other award winners include:

  • Cliff Fasnacht from Pacific Purification Inc. received the Key Award, which recognizes the demonstration of the highest qualities of leadership within his/her company, industry and various associations.
  • Ed Robakowski from Kinetico Incorporated received the Regents Award, which honors an individual, or a group, who has made a significant contribution at the local or state level working with issues that affect the water industry.
  • Mike Mormino of ENPRESS LLC and Wayne Bernahl of W. Bernahl Enterprises Ltd. each received an Award of Merit, recognizing individuals, companies or organizations with exceptional service given to the water quality improvement industry.
  • Rajul Parikh of ALFAA UV received the International Award of Merit, which is given to those who have made significant contributions to the international water quality improvement industry.
  • Ryan Harper won the Honorary Membership Award, recognizing an individual with an occupation outside of the industry, who has made outstanding contributions through education, research or service in or related to water quality.
  • CR Hall received the Membership Recruitment Awards’ Golden Circle Award, given to those who have recruited a 50th member.

The session also revealed the recipient of the Lifetime Membership award, which honors individuals’ accomplishments and knowledge in water quality as well as those who are, or have been, active in the industry and have rendered outstanding service to WQA. The winner for 2015 is W. Gordon Miller of Cleanwater Corporation of America, doing business as Culligan Water Cond.

The 2015 inductee to the Hall of Fame, which is the highest honor given to a WQA member and which recognizes lifetime dedication and service to the water quality improvement industry as well as WQA, was Denise Urbans of SHEDWATER LLC.

After the award winners were announced, the headline performance featuring Jay Leno began, which left the crowd roaring with laughter.