Country President Grundfos USA
Ansell Sims, Grundfos Corporation USA Country President, serves as Grundfos America’s external ambassador and organizational leader and glue for the Grundfos Culture. He spent 15 years working in the Semiconductor Industry, and 8 years in Oil & Gas as Director of Commercial Operations, prior to joining Grundfos. Grundfos pioneers solutions to the world's water and climate challenges, and improves the quality of life for people. Based in Bjerringbro, Denmark, Grundfos employees over 21,000 employees globally and produces over 16 Million pump units annually.
Married with two young adult children, Ansell makes his home near the Grundfos Factory in Brookshire, Texas.
Business Applications Engineer II at Applied Flow Technology
Walt Prentice works as a Business Applications Engineer II at Applied Flow Technology, which develops pipe flow modeling applications to help engineers around the world design better fluid transfer systems. Walt holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines with a Minor in Economics. He works on multiple facets of the business including sales, engineering support, and marketing. His proudest work comes from helping others understand the software and engineering concepts, which materializes in consulting projects, training classes, and webinars.
Application Engineering Expert with SKF USA Inc.
Gakuo Ndonga is an application engineering expert with SKF USA Inc. He has spent over eight years working in the fluid industry with expertise in rolling element bearing applications for pumps. Gakuo is a graduate of Rowan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Early in his career Gakuo was exposed to working in the industry as mechanic and later as a sales engineer. This early exposure helped him understand technical problem solving from different perspectives and segments of the business. As an application engineering expert, Gakuo contributes to industry publications such as Pump and Systems, Pump Engineer, and Plant Services magazines. He also helps train and mentor others in the field. Gakuo is also passionate about fostering diversity, equity and inclusion and is helping his organization drive meaningful change both internally and out.
Full-time Principal of Ekwestrel Engineering LLC,
Randal Ferman has more than 46 years’ experience in the pump industry. He served in a variety of engineering roles with Flowserve, a major global player in the pump manufacturing arena, and is currently a full-time principal of Ekwestrel Engineering LLC, Austin, Texas, providing independent, objective engineering consulting services on new and existing pumping equipment and systems, including design, performance, NPSH and cavitation, repairs, and re-rates. His clients span a range of industries including oil & gas, electric power generation, water, wastewater, solids handling, chemical processing, pump manufacturing, pipeline transportation, engineering firms, and legal counsel.
Packing and Gasketing Global Product Line Director at AW Chesterton
Ron Frisard has spent 32 years as a technical expert in Mechanical Packing and Industrial Gasketing. He has traveled over 1 million miles to work with customers around the globe. Ron is currently Director of the Mechanical Packing and Gasketing Product Line for AW Chesterton. He develops product line strategies and manages the global product line portfolio to drive profitable sales growth. He also develops and supports execution of strategic marketing plans, supports production initiatives, and promotes product line sales. Ron has also been considered an "industry influencer" and an Industry person of the week by Empowering Pumps and Equipment.
Ron graduated from Northeastern University in Boston with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Before joining Chesterton, Ron worked for Newport News Shipbuilding. He was a design engineer on the propulsion systems for aircraft carriers. He has worked for the A.W. Chesterton Company for the last 30 years in all facets of Mechanical Packing and Gasketing. The three main areas he has focused his attention are Engineering (Applications / R&D), Marketing (focus on Mining / Nuclear – Fossil – Hydro power / Pulp and paper), and Training (Customers / Sales).
Ron has presented at over 35 conferences. They include:-Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
-American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
-Hydraulic Institute (HI)
-Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
-Valve World (Europe and North America)
-Nuclear Fluid Leak Management (FLMUG)
Ron has also had over 20 articles published. They cover topics:
-Valve, Pump, and Flange sealing challenges and best practices
-Emissions valve packing
-Bolting and the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
-Improper Gasketed Joints Can Be Deadly
Ron is currently the Chair of the Gasketing division of the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) and past Chair of the Packing division. Ron has also headed many training courses for the FSA including at conferences and webinars.
Founder and Creator of Beer Logic
The founder and creator of Beer Logic Conferences and Events, Chad Pilbeam has built a reputation on being interesting, relevant, and exclusive. He’s a marketer, public speaker, professional beer drinker, radio show host, and two-time failed soccer professional who worked his way up the corporate ladder by being a “yes-man”. He eventually started his own business, working with associations, corporations, and non-profits, and wrote a book about his experiences titled “Most of Us Are Pretty Dim Bulbs – a guide to corporate nonsense.” Chad has succeeded and failed in business and life, and in his original presentation series, “Beer Logic – everything I ever needed to know, I learned from beer”, he presents case studies, facts, anecdotes, and humor that challenge audiences to be different and to be bold, taking calculated risks so they too can be interesting, relevant, and exclusive.
Chad has over 20 years experience in sales and marketing and has been an entrepreneur and public speaker for more than a decade. He is a Certified Cicerone®, graduate of Grand Valley State University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations, and has a “life degree” in parenting two children with his wife Kristine of 24 years, who still can’t believe she married a professional beer drinker.
Georgia Water Business Team Leader at Garver
Benjamin is a self-proclaimed water nerd. Currently he leads the Garver’s water operations in Georgia and manages a variety of water projects for his clients. His civil engineering career started with travels across the country where he has visited every major city in the United States and most of the others ones too! He then moved into the municipal industry where he designed, helped construct, started-up, and operated large water/wastewater projects. He is a graduate of Southern Polytechnic State University and Kennesaw State University. After receiving his master’s degree he served for 5 fives years as a professor where he taught Fluid Mechanics and Fluid Mechanics Laboratory (while consulting). Benjamin also currently serves as the chair of The Water Treatment Committee for the Georgia American Water Works Association and the Georgia Association of Water Professionals. He has been an active member of the Pumps Committee and GAWP in general. An adventurer at heart he and his wonderful wife (also a water engineer) and almost 4-yr son are his expedition crew these days. They are always out in nature every chance they get.
Chief Executive Officer at The Water Tower
Melissa L. Meeker has more than 30 years of experience in water resources management with
an emphasis on water supply diversity and resiliency through alternative sources including
reuse, stormwater and desalination. Having worked in public, private, and not-for-profit sectors,
her broad range of expertise covers public policy, regulation, and management with a focus on
innovative technologies, workforce development and public engagement. Melissa currently
serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The Water Tower at Gwinnett and The Water Tower
Institute, two nonprofits focused on enabling solutions in research, technology, training, and
engagement around water. Pursued to take on this role in 2018, Melissa was the primary
architect around the creation of this one-of-a-kind innovation center and has been with the
project from inception, through construction and marketing, and into full operations. In 2022,
Melissa was recognized with the One Water, Water Innovation Award, the Gwinnett Chamber of
Commerce Moxie Influence Award, and was invited to participate in multiple conferences,
webinars, and podcasts. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Resources
Management and can be found on Twitter @MLMeekerWater and on LinkedIn @mlmeekerh2o.
President at CFturbo, Inc.
Ralph-Peter Müller was born 1965 in Meissen/Germany. In 1990, he received a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering at the Dresden University of Technology. He is both the Founder and Managing Director of CFDnetwork GmbH, a CFD consulting firm and Co-founder and Managing Director of CFturbo GmbH in Dresden, Germany. Since 2017, Ralph has been the Co-founder and President of CFturbo, Inc. in Brooklyn, NY.
High Performance Leadership Coach
Rob is an impactful speaker whose quiet realizations give his audience loud transformations. Rob shares wise insights about toxic leadership, bad bosses, mental health and finding purpose in life. He has the ability to give his audiences an intimate and caring space regardless of the size of the room, while bringing humor and research into his talks. Rob is a TEDx speaker, coach and the co-host of the Leadership Launchpad Project, rated Canada’s #3 Leadership podcast. Before transitioning into leadership coaching & speaking, Rob spent over 10 years as an engineer within mining, oil pipelines, and consulting in heavy industry. Rob has a foundation of high-performance as he graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Management, was a 3-time Academic All-American in NCAA Water Polo and played on the U18 Canadian National Water Polo team.
Trainer & Educator for Harry Warren of Georgia
Skylar Lipson entered the water and wastewater field as an operator overseeing a rural water
district in his hometown in Kansas. In his experience, he has overseen nearly all levels of water and
wastewater treatment including private management, compliance monitoring, and daily process
control. Currently Skylar holds every available water and wastewater license that is issued in Georgia
(Water & Wastewater class 1, Industrial Wastewater, Collections, Distribution, Water & Wastewater
Lab), as well as licenses in South Carolina, Mississippi, Kansas, Alabama, GAWP Maintenance
Technologist Class 1, GAWP GA Backflow, UF TREEO Backflow, FSAWWA Accreditation and a level four
Professional Operator in water. Skylar was the maintenance program director for GAWP and a training specialist with GWWI. Skylar is now employed by Harry Warren of GA as a product specialist & trainer.
"My personal mission statement: I endeavor to create a legacy that is marked with a deep
determination to imbue excellence into all areas of my life. The ruler that will measure my
successes are the lasting impacts that positively influence water professionals and my industry
as a whole. I will inspire the next generation to take each day of their career and “write the
good book of their life” by calling themselves and others to the highest form of excellence as I
call myself to that same good work. Mentor, motivate & coach. Our industry upholds the values
of honesty, integrity, equity and altruism. These intrinsic qualities are that deeply imbedded in
every Water and Wastewater Professional. Every facet of society benefits from our industry’s
service and sacrifice!"
General Manager at Wheeler Bearing Company
Ryan Ossmann is the General Manager at Wheeler Bearing Company. As a trained machinist with more than 25 years of experience in the motor repair industry, Ryan leads the manufacturing operations at Wheeler to ensure the highest level of quality.
Heat Transfer Engineer at S & B Engineers and Constructors, Ltd
Naomi Jabbari, P.E is a Mechanical Engineer with Master of Science in Energy from Texas A&M
University and has 15 years of experience in oil and gas and energy transition projects to reach Net Zero
Naomi was Chairperson and Coordinator of NET ZERO Forum in Valve World Americas Conference,
Chairperson of the Heat Exchanger World Americas Conferences and Expos and steering committee
member for industrial conferences. Her areas of interests are heat transfer in process technologies for
oil and gas and clean energy such as hydrogen production, carbon capture technology and biofuels for
sustainable energy production to reach Net Zero by 2050.
Vice President - Engineering & Sales at Hidrostal North America
"I received my Mechanical Engineering degree from University of Illinois at Chicago. My career started at Yeomans Chicago Corporation working with Yeomans, Morris, Chicago Pump and Grundfos products. I worked there for 6 years and went on to industrial fan design at Chicago Blower Corporation for a couple years. Then the Hidrostal opportunity presented itself and I was excited to be part of process to build a brand new company here in the states. I’ve been with Hidrostal for almost 8 years. The last few years I went back to school to get my MBA from University of Illinois Urbana Champagne."
Vice President at Wade Trim
Herve Yondo is a Vice President at Wade Trim with 15 years of experience in public and private sector. He is highly experienced in complex water, wastewater, and stormwater system operation and management, and has served as a project manager and senior engineer on various water and wastewater treatment plant improvement projects in the Metro Atlanta area and the Southeast. In his spare time, Herve enjoys spending time with his family, playing soccer, and traveling.
Professional Engineer at Wade Trim
Gary Emmel has a rich history in managing and delivering task order-based contracts in the metro Atlanta area as well as large pump station projects. His experience includes project management of water and wastewater treatment facilities and pump stations, process design, preparation of mechanical and instrumentation specifications, and overseeing construction and inspection.
President at Workout Warrior LLC
Kevin Bailey CEO and founder of Workout Warrior, LLC and has been featured on the Better Mornings show in Atlanta and The Montel Williams Show! Trained as a Medical Exercise Specialist, he has helped thousands of business women and professionals identify the source of their pain, and give them easy to use strategies to get out of pain, move more freely, and feel amazing. Today he is on a mission to help 1 million women say goodbye to pain, feel strong and fabulous, and love their life again. IG, Kevinbailey9402 Facebook, www.facebook.com/Kevin.bailey.524381
Marketing Director for Vaughan Company, Inc
Stefanie is part of the 4th generation of Vaughan family who owns and operates Vaughan Company, Inc. Vaughan Company is a manufacturer of centrifugal chopper pumps, screw pumps, hydraulic mixing systems, and other specialty products sold worldwide. She has worked for the business for 25 years. Her role is Marketing Director, Trade Show & Event Coordinator, and Ops Challenge Vaughan Maintenance Event Coordinator for the 2023-2026 season. Stefanie currently is a member of the WEF MARC, WEFTEC Advisory Committee, PNCWA Member, PNCWA Women of Water, SWPA Member, and WiM (Women in Manufacturing) Member. In her spare time, she likes to coach softball, soccer, and basketball for her kids, watch live music, and get new tattoos.
Product Manager at Crane Pumps & Systems
Layla Wilhelm is a Product Manager at Crane Pumps & Systems, in Piqua, OH. Originally from Galway, NY, she earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology. During her undergraduate, she participated in multiple co-op rotations – two at a tungsten powder processing facility in their research and development lab, and one at a polymer start up in their research lab. Layla started at Crane Pumps & Systems after graduating as an Application Engineer, being promoted to Product Manager after a few years. She is currently pursuing her MBA from the University of Cincinnati. When she’s not working or going to school, Layla enjoys spending time outside with her husband and two dogs.
Crane Pumps & Systems creates innovative pump solutions for the effective and efficient transport of wastewater. We develop long-term customer relationships by providing exceptional service and responsiveness, which is enabled by our commitment to continuous improvement through the Crane Business System. Our brands include Barnes, Deming, Weinman, Burks, Crown and Prosser. Visit us at www.cranepumps.com.
Senior Project Manager at Wade Trim
Christopher has over 20 years of project and leadership experience, which includes program management, project management, design, permitting, estimating, and construction management for water, wastewater, reclaimed water and stormwater utilities and treatment facilities. He also has experience with treatment plant, pump station and pipeline projects, including sanitary lift stations, potable water booster and repump stations, transmission mains, force mains, distribution systems, and collection systems. Chris also brings the unique experience of having previously worked for a construction company in addition to having completed several projects using collaborative delivery methods such as Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR), Progressive Design Build and Fixed Price Design Build projects. Chris has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of South Florida. Chris is also a member of the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association and is also a certified Institute of Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) and is a North American of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO) Pipeline, Lateral and Manhole certified professional.
Chief Marketing Officer and Bridgebuilder at ChasmBridge
Jaclyn Herrera is the Chief Marketing Officer and Bridgebuilder at ChasmBridge, a CHIEF member. Whether planning for long term brand management or driving revenue results, Jaclyn brings a strategic mind with clear road paths and measurable results.
She specializes in high growth-oriented businesses that are aiming to make a transaction, enter new markets, dramatically improve revenue results or that are going through major cultural change. Through a relentless focus on the customer experience, Jaclyn has increased revenue opportunities through lead generation by $6M/month, improved total cost of ownership of technologies through aftermarket pull through by 28%, and designed customer journey maps that improve experience and engagement with NPS results as high as 9.
Her incredible leadership has resulted in many personal and business awards including - business industry recognition, marketing recognition for product launches and exhibition results, and project industry recognition.
Senior Technical Instructor for ABB Drives and PAC Automation Solutions
Al Jones is a Senior Technical Instructor for ABB Drives and PAC Automation Solutions. He’s been involved with automation technology for over 20 years, 15 with ABB, including a background in Tech Support and R&D. His goal as atrainer is to give the student the knowledge, tools, skills and confidence to do their job better.
North American Training Manager for ABB Drives and PAC Automation Solutions
Randy Stevens is the North American Training Manager for ABB Drives and PAC Automation Solutions. He has worked in Drives Training for over 28 years, 17 of those years as a Trainer and 11 years as Training Manager. He is passionate about building relationships and working to deliver the values and concepts that help partners and customers succeed.
eLearning Developer for ABB Drives and PAC Automation Solutions Training
Kelly Tappa is the eLearning Developer for ABB Drives and PAC Automation Solutions Training. She has been with ABB for 7 years and has over 10 yearsof previous experience in manufacturing and project management. She is passionate about providing the best possible experience to our customers and employees.
Regional Products Manager Americas Xylem
Rana Elbittibssi, professional engineer, with bachelor and master degree in mechanical engineering from Concordia University in Montreal Quebec.
Rana role at Xylem is Regional products Manager Americas, has been with Xylem over 18 years, and more than 25 years of experience in pumps, mixers and rotating equipment that function within water, waste water treatment, transport, solid management, industrial and water infrastructure markets.
Senior Engineer of Standards and Training at the Hydraulic Institute
Alex Moser is the Senior Engineer of Standards and Training at the Hydraulic Institute with technical responsibility for standards, guidebooks, training, and technical programs of the Hydraulic Institute, as well as assisting the governmental regulations committees with technical expertise. Prior to joining the Hydraulic Institute, he held new product development and engineering management positions with a major pump manufacturer, with a focus on new pump design, system analysis, and testing. Mr. Moser obtained his B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Alabama.
Subject Matter Expert for Environment One Corporation (E/One)
Jill Davis is a Subject Matter Expert for Environment One Corporation (E/One) to articulate the benefits of utilizing E/One’s pressure sewer systems to municipalities, engineers, and developers facing the massive challenges of replacing failed septic systems with collection systems and rehabilitating existing infrastructure. Jill has 27 years’ experience in regulatory and utility management, 14 years as a member of the TN Water Quality Control Board, and 5 years chairing the Clean Water Professionals of KY & TN Management Committee. She’s received several awards for collection system management, and water & wastewater management.
Ellen Feldman Ornato
Founding Partner/CMO of the Bolder Company Inc
Ellen Feldman Ornato has a diverse work background that includes City Planning, Economic Development, and Marketing and Public Relations for a 42-store retailer. She is an entrepreneur at heart and owned a learning company and a communications firm prior to launching Bolder Company with Jenny Drescher in 2014. Ellen has extensive experience working in manufacturing, construction, and related fields, building essential supervisory and leadership skills at all business levels. She is bilingual (English/Spanish) and blends her knowledge of Unconscious Bias, DiSC®, Emotional Intelligence with experiential methods that make learning stick. Ellen is also a gifted storyteller who performs regularly at regional storytelling events.
Director of Training and Technology at The Water Tower
Chad has 20 years of experience in the water industry. He joins us from Gwinnett County DWR where he previously served as Wastewater Manager of the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center, Superintendent of the Crooked Creek WRF, and Pump Stations Section Manager. Prior to joining TWT, he also served as a subject matter expert for the training department where he developed specific training programs to help DWR’s 600+ operations and maintenance staff not only pass their certifications but hone their skills to maximize advancement opportunities.
Organizational Development Manager at Hunt Refining Company
Ashley Wheeler is responsible for organizational development at Hunt Refining Company in Tuscaloosa, AL. She is passionate about helping individuals and organizations transform their thinking and performance from commonplace to extraordinary. Her focus is maximizing potential through training, coaching and consulting around leadership, women’s leadership, process improvement and strategic planning. She is a frequently requested keynote speaker on topics related to women’s leadership and organizational development and was an international facilitator, executive coach and speaker in her past role working for Caterpillar. She is certified in several assessments and is a Marshall Goldsmith Executive and Team Stakeholder Centered Coaching graduate. She is currently working to obtain certification in coaching, training and speaking through John Maxwell’s Leadership Team. She holds an undergraduate degree in Education from Auburn University, a Master’s in Education and finished her PhD coursework from Auburn. She is “ABD.” Ashley has been a single mom to two college-age boys for 19 years now and just recently engaged. She gives back to her community through serving in volunteer work over many years. She is a current member of Leadership Tuscaloosa for 2022 – 2023
Co-Founder & CEO of ShelfAware
Andrew Johnson is an entrepreneur, inventor, and business owner. Formerly the sales manager at the family distribution company (O-Ring Sales & Service), he is now the CEO of an innovative technology startup, ShelfAware. By leveraging RFID technology, the internet, and the power of data, ShelfAware is redefining industrial supply chains.
While working with the family business, Johnson learned the hard way that the best vendor managed inventory (VMI) system is one that helps suppliers run leaner, more efficient supply chains while collaborating with their customers to prevent stockouts. Knowing there had to be a better way, Johnson built the automated system he wished his family business had available from the beginning.
President/General Manager of Patterson Pump Company
Kerby officially began his journey as President and General Manager on January 1, 2020. Two months later the world began down a crazy and uncharted path with an epidemic known as Covid. Kerby adds that since then “the experience has been priceless”. “It is truly unique to live and manage a manufacturing business in a time that has not been experienced before.”
Senior TechnicalSupport Manager at Olea Edge Analytics
Tyler Hammac has been in the water industry for the past 6 years as a Senior Technical
Support Manager leading teams and managing operations for the deployment of
Internet of Things data capturing devices for municipality water meters. Olea Edge
Analytics leverages Edge Technology to monitor, capture, and analyze data to discover
water loss and missed revenue opportunities.