Berlant comes full circle
Neil Berlant has joined The Seidler Companies, of Los Angeles. Berlant was one of the founders of the former Seidler Amdec. He left 15 years ago to work in the water treatment industry. Upon his return, he’ll be assisting in creating a nationally recognized practice focusing on investment opportunities in the water industry. He can be reached at (800) 840-1090 ext. 625, (213) 955-4990 (fax) or email: neilwater@seidlercos.com. Berlant was previously senior vice president for First Security Van Kasper, a Los Angeles-based investment firm specializing in the water industry that was acquired by Wells Fargo in April 2000.

WEF appoints posts at show
In early October, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) announced a few appointments at its annual convention and trade show in Chicago. Robert McMillon was elected president of the WEF. McMillon is currently assistant water director of the Pollution Control Division for the city of Fort Worth, Texas, as well as plant superintendent of the Village Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Texas. Meanwhile, Larry Jaworski was elected president-elect. Jaworski received both his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois. Lynn Orphan was elected vice president. In 2004-2005, she will become the third woman to serve as the federation’s president. Orphan received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Nevada-Reno. Finally, Erwin Odeal, P.E., will oversee the WEF’s $20 million budget as 2002-2003 treasurer. This will be the second of a three-year term. He holds a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Akron.

Berson UV gains director
Sjors van Gaalen was appointed the new managing director of Berson UV, of the Netherlands. Berson is part of the Halma Group which, along with Hanovia Limited in the U.K. and Aquionics Inc. in the United States, makes up one of the world’s largest UV companies. Van Gaalen, who gained previous strategic and management experience at ODME in the Netherlands, joins Berson from Toolex International, where he worked in a variety of positions in both Sweden and the Netherlands, most recently as the business unit manager/managing director in Stockholm.

YZ Systems gets new GM
Bringing 27 years of process and water treatment industry experience, Mike McDougal has joined YZ Systems, of Conroe, Texas, as general manager. He is a pump and processing expert who has previous experience with a number of United Technologies companies, which includes YZ Systems. Founded in 1949, the company is a manufacturer of sampling, chemical injection and odorization systems.

Barr to step down in 2003
J. James Barr, president and chief executive officer of Voorhees, N.J., American Water Works Co. Inc., has decided to retire upon completion of the acquisition of the company by German-based RWE, which is expected in the first half of next year. American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. corporation devoted exclusively to the business of municipal water.

Dealership gets new owner
Terrence Abruzzese is the new general manager of Intermountain Water Company, of Boise, Idaho. Intermountain is one of seven dealerships owned and operated by Chesapeake Utilities Corp.  It has existed in Idaho for more than 40 years, providing bottled water, water treatment and conditioning equipment sales and service, as well as other services related to the water industry.  Most recently, Abruzzese was manager of business development and external affairs for United Water Idaho, of Boise.  Prior to that, he was manager of business development and external affairs for United Water Delaware, of Wilmington, Del.  He brings more than 25 years of sales, sales management and marketing experience to his new position. Abruzzese is a member of the American Water Works Association, the National Association of Water Companies, and the Building Contractors Association.

Three receive posts at NSF
NSF International, of Ann Arbor, Mich., announced the appointments of William Fisher and Robert Frayer Jr. as senior director strategic business development of food safety and director of physical and mechanical testing laboratory, respectively. Fisher holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in agriculture from the University of Illinois. Frayer has bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and a master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan. In other news, David Purkiss was appointed to general manager, Water Distribution Systems. Purkiss has been with NSF for 15 years, most recently serving as managing director of WRc-NSF Ltd. in the United Kingdom. Prior to this, he served as general manager for the NSF Drinking Water Additives Program. In his new position, he oversees the Water Distribution and Treatment Systems Certification Program. This program includes certification of drinking water treatment chemicals, plumbing products, pool and spa equipment and municipal water distribution products. Purkiss holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Michigan State University.

Western’s Norton goes west
Western Water Products Inc., of Diamond Springs, Calif., named Don Norton as director of sales for its western states wholesale water treatment equipment division. Norton comes to the company with seven years of experience in the drinking water industry, where he has held leadership and management positions in sales and operations. He will have sales management responsibilities in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.


Polens loses battle after long fight; pioneer left mark on WQA, Ionics
Walter Polens, of Pleasant Hills, Calif., passed away on Oct. 26. He was 81. Polens co-founded Polens & Polens Food Brokers, co-founded General Ionics, and served as vice-president of Ionics Inc. He was a lifetime Water Quality Association member, past president in 1978-79 and Hall of Fame Recipient in 1982. In addition, Polens was a President’s Club Lifetime member, a Lifetime Award member in 1989, a Water Quality Research Council (WQRC) member and a member of the board of directors from 1985-88. He also served on various WQA committees and task forces over the years. Duane “Doc” Nowlin, of The Marmon Group, remembered his friend this way: “Walt Polens was one of the early pioneers and dynamic leaders in the water conditioning industry. He devoted a great deal of his time and expertise in the creation, organization and building of the Water Quality Association. He helped solve industry problems in many ways by serving on committees and the board of directors. Walt had a wonderful and wacky sense of humor that made him the center of attention at meetings. He was a great storyteller and his magic tricks fascinated and amused everyone. Many of us have lost a warm and wonderful friend.”

F. Stuart “Stu” Mitchell, former president of Lindsay and then EcoWater, searched hard for words when asked about his good friend’s passing. Mitchell and Polens were friends for almost 40 years and both organized golf tournaments for the WQRC (Polens was involved between 1985-1997). Polens lost his wife early in their marriage. “He was both a father and mother to his two children and that tells you more about the guy than anything I can say,” Mitchell said. “He was just an entertaining, wonderful, honest, faithful friend.” Shortly before Polens passed on, his family found a letter in his nightstand from Mitchell that spoke glowingly about Polens’ family. Sharon Peterson, president of WC&P, added, “Walt was one of a kind. I loved kidding him about his plaid golf pants and the lime green pants he wore every year to the Mid-Year conference. Walt will definitely be missed.”

Charley Poellet, of K&M Plastics Inc., remarked: “Walt was definitely one of the pioneers in the water treatment industry. I’ve known him for about 27 years. Everybody who knew Walt absolutely loved him and he always had time for everybody no matter who they were. He lived for his family and the water treatment industry.” Poellet said Polens’ resilience through his latter years served as an inspiration. “(Walt) kept a sense of humor and was able to roll with whatever life gave him. He was a real fighter who battled cancer for 11-½ years and never gave up.” The Polens family requests that memorial donations be sent to Central Catholic High School, 4720 5th Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213.


Friends mourn loss of KDF founder; Heskett invented ‘redox’ technology
KDF Fluid Treatment Inc., of Warsaw, Ind., announced the passing of company founder and water treatment industry pioneer, Don Heskett. He was 73. His first job in the water treatment business was a salesman for Servisoft. He started by designing new innovations then later consulted for Morton Salt, and eventually sold them a water treatment carbon cartridge he had invented. In 1972, Heskett developed the first non-electric water softener. In 1984, he discovered an electrochemical oxidation process known as “redox,” which reduced chlorine to chloride. This discovery led to the process of using metal to remove chlorine and certain heavy metals from water and, after a few years, the formation of KDF.

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