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Meritorious Service Award
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The recipient must have been actively involved in most aspects of backflow prevention and cross-connection control for a minimum of fifteen years. This must include one of the listed categories in their field, AND one or more additional categories:

  • Administer cross-connection control programs.
  • Provide training or instruction in cross-connection control and backflow prevention.
  • Install, repair and/or test backflow prevention devices and assemblies.
  • Work in public health or for a regulatory agency dealing with backflow prevention.
  • Manufacture or distribute backflow prevention equipment and supplies.
  • Design and/or approve plumbing and construction plans and specifications related to backflow prevention.
  • Involved in legislative aspects of backflow prevention and cross-connection control with Boards, Councils, and other elected or appointed officials.

And one of the following:

  • Actively participate in the Association as a committee member or officer.
  • Actively participate in a similar group or organization that promotes cross-connection control and backflow prevention.

Previous recipients are not eligible for consideration for this award.

The nominee should currently be involved in some aspect of cross-connection control and backflow prevention.

Nomination Process:

  • Prepare a written nomination which includes:
  • Name of the individual
  • List involvement in the area of cross-connection control and backflow prevention
  • Justification for award
  • Contact information for nominator
  • Send the completed nomination to the National Office.

Selection Process:

Nominees will be forwarded to the Meritorious Award Sub-committee which shall consist of the 5 most recent recipients of the Meritorious Service Award. The sub-committee Chair shall be the 5th most recent recipient. If this person is unable to serve, the remaining members will select the Chair.

The Sub-committee shall evaluate the nominees and shall submit no more than three final nominees to all the past Meritorious Service Award recipients for a final decision of the recipient. The Sub-committee shall make arrangements for the presentation at the Awards Ceremony during ABPA's Annual Conference.


Meritorious Service Award Winners


 Lyle Greenhill

2019 Meritorious Service Award Recipient

The Meritorious Service Award is the highest award the American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA) can bestow on an individual.  It was established to recognize a person whose sustained and longstanding service to ABPA is at a level far above their contemporaries. This service is not just to ABPA alone but has also advanced the field of cross-connection control for everyone’s benefit. The awardee is chosen by his/her peers and as such, it is the most prestigious award of our Association and indeed a distinguished honor to receive.

Once a year we get together as a group under the banner of the American Backflow Prevention Association.  At this gathering we take time to recognize an individual who has not only shared knowledge with others, has volunteered as much time off the clock as on, and has helped grow our understanding of cross-connection control and, in so doing, has advanced the efforts of ABPA.  The improvements to drinking water and its protection through cross-connection control are not limited to a local sphere of influence but spreads out to help many individuals.  Numerous individuals do not know of the unsung efforts of this year’s recipient, but we have all benefited and been impacted by his efforts.

Our recipient was born and raised in Las Vegas Nevada, the youngest of 4 children.  His father was one of the first scout masters in Las Vegas and he grew up hiking, camping and scouting with his dad and brothers.  To this day he is a shining example of the Boy Scout Motto “to help other people at all times”.  Other scout traits he embodies – “Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Cheerful.”

His parents taught him how to square dance and he became an accomplished square and round dancer.  It is rumored that “all of the old ladies clamored to grab him as their partner.”

He obtained an Associate Degree in Landscape Management and started his professional career in the Grounds Department at UNLV.  He started the cross-connection control section at UNLV which covered 67 buildings on 125 acres.  He was responsible for the implementation and administration of the program and after around 30 years retired as the Cross-Connection Control Specialist.

He met his wife in 1991 and married Donna in 1994.  Donna is as kind and big hearted as her husband.  In 1996, when his father became ill, they bought a one-story home and his parents lived with them until they passed.

Along the way he met Steve Govero who taught him how to train other plumbers to test and repair backflow prevention assemblies, sharing his knowledge and passion.  They formed Southern Nevada Backflow Services which is training professionals to this day.

“To help other people at all times.”

·       Sothern NV Administrator of Tester & Specialist Certification programs for CA/NV AWWA 2001-2014

·       Currently Proctor and Proctor in Charge CA/NV AWWA Tester & Specialist Certification Programs

·       Currently Proctor and Exam Monitor for ABPA Tester & Specialist Certification Programs

·       One of the founding members of Silver State Chapter of ABPA and board member

·       ABPA National Conference Chair for the last 10 years

·       Currently Region 6 Director of ABPA

He has given countless hours helping others in promoting cross-connection control and protecting potable water.  Behind the scenes, never attracting attention to himself or taking credit for the results of his considerable efforts.  It is time to bring him up front and recognize him for his selfless service to our industry and association.

This year I am honored and extremely proud to present to a great friend, a great person, and colleague, the American Backflow Prevention Association 2019 Meritorious Service Award to Mr. Lyle Greenhill.







 Mike Lueck
2018 Meritorious Service Award Recipient


The following is the presentation delivered by the 2016 MSA awardee, Rich Koenig:

The Meritorious Service Award is the highest award the American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA) can bestow on an individual.  It was established to recognize a person whose sustained and longstanding service to ABPA is at a level far above their contemporaries. This service is not just to ABPA alone but has also advanced the field of cross-connection control for everyone’s benefit. The awardee is chosen by his/her peers and as such, it is the most prestigious award of our Association and indeed a distinguished honor to receive.

Once a year we get together as a group under the banner of the American Backflow Prevention Association.  At this gathering we take time to recognize an individual who has not only shared knowledge with others, has volunteered as much time off the clock as on, and has helped grow our understanding of cross-connection control and, in so doing, has advanced the efforts of ABPA.  The improvements to drinking water and its protection through cross-connection control are not limited to a local sphere of influence but spreads out to help many individuals, even individuals internationally.  Numerous individuals do not know of the unsung efforts of this year’s recipient, but we have all benefited and been impacted by his efforts.

Our recipient graduated from Brother Rice High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1978.  He attended college at a prestigious Big Ten school, this college being famous for having a football stadium nicknamed “The Big House”, the University of Michigan. He graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

In 1988, he married his wife Diane.  Their first date was on a golf course, were she almost beat him!  They have two children, a son, Chris, who is 27 and works as a Social Worker in the greater Detroit, Michigan area, and a daughter, Katy, who is 25 and works in the Performing Arts industry in New York City. And of course, there is the family dog, Lucy.  As a very supportive father, he has instilled in his children the desire to strive for excellence in their careers and to “Follow Your Passion”.

Our recipient is very passionate not only about his career, but his personal life.  He takes great pride in his family and his faith.  As the business owner of Mid-West Instrument, he is actively involved in the cross-connection control industry and ABPA.  Mike is constantly promoting ABPA and protecting drinking water supplies.  In fact, his car license plate is “SAFEH2O”.  Mike’s hobbies include playing hockey, golf, skiing, hiking and riding his motorcycle.  Did you know, he was originally selected to play Walter White in the show “Breaking Bad”?  However, he chose to bless us with his knowledge.

In describing Mike, his family used the following terms - kind, loving, earnest, zealous, goofy (a square peg), intelligent, and humble.

This year I am honored and extremely proud to present to a great friend, and colleague, the American Backflow Prevention Association 2018 Meritorious Service Award to Mr. Michael Lueck.

Mike, as you make your way forward, I was asked to pass this message along from your wife Diane, which is a testament to this man’s unselfishness – “Please tell Mike we are with him as he receives this honor from his peers.  My son and I will be in New York City for a Manhattan screening of a film that our daughter helped produce.  Her big event was Sunday night.”


Additional information on Mike:

  • Active member of ABPA, ABPA Michigan Chapter, ASSE, and BPMA (currently President)
  • Director At-Large on the ABPA Board of Directors
  • Member, ABPA Certification Committee and Conference Committee
  • ABPA Director of the Year, 2016
  • ABPA Gold Eagle awardee, 2000
  • ASSE Michigan Chapter Manufacturer Representative of the Year, 2016
  • ASSE Michigan Chapter Cross-Connection Control Person of the Year, 2014; 2002


Mike was instrumental in 2014/2015 in influencing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to return two House Bills to the House of Representatives, essentially vetoing the two bills. House Bills 5317 and 5318 would have significantly reduced the testing frequency of backflow preventers associated with irrigation systems. The original house bills indicated testing not more than once every ten (10) years following initial installation and testing, unless the irrigation system had undergone repair, or if the system included chemical injection. The House bill passed along party lines. The Michigan Senate modified the legislation to testing every five (5) years, and it was passed along party lines, and sent to the Governor’s office late in 2014.

Opposition was led by the BPMA, Mid-West Instrument, the Michigan Chapter of the ABPA, the Michigan DEQ, and the Michigan Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association; Mike led multiple efforts. The Governor was repeatedly contacted through his website and via written letters, urging him to veto the bills in an effort to protect safe drinking water and the public health. Mike submitted the position paper “Backflow Prevention Methods and Frequency of Testing” jointly signed by five (5) agencies, including the ABPA. On January 14, 2015, the Governor returned the bills to the House of Representatives.

However, in December 2015, the original sponsors of the bills made yet another attempt to introduce the legislation. The Michigan Chapter of the ABPA and Michigan-ASSE again sent letters to every state representative and the Governor. Mike received a phone call from the Governor’s Office. In part due to the Flint, MI lead crisis, but also to Mike’s opposition, the bills died in committee.

Mike continues to be passionate about the need for:

  • Public education on backflow, cross-connections, and the need to protect our water quality.
  • Documentation of backflow incidents.
  • Vigilance on legislative action at the local, state and federal level.
  • Cooperative opposition among the many trade organizations to any legislation that would weaken backflow programs.


Bill Wong
2017 Meritorious Service Award Recipient

The Meritorious Service Award is the highest award ABPA can bestow on an individual. It was established to recognize an individual whose sustained and longstanding service to the ABPA is at a level far above their contemporaries.  This service is not just to ABPA alone, but has also advanced the field of cross-connection control for everyone’s benefit.

This year, ABPA recognized the contributions of Mr. Bill Wong.  After receiving a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Long Beach, Bill launched his accomplished career at the City of Long Beach Water Department. In a few years, he returned to his home state of Hawaii to be a Sanitary Engineer with the Hawaii Department of Health, and became the Program Manager for the State of Hawaii Drinking Water Program in 1991, a position he held until his retirement in 2006.

Among his many duties he was also the State’s Cross-Connection Control Program Administrator. Bill was responsible for establishing CCC Programs on all the Hawaiian Islands. He started the Hawaii Chapter of the ABPA, and brought the association’s Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester Certification to Hawaii. 

Being a true champion for safe drinking water, his efforts went well beyond his normal job duties. Helping the various Water Departments caused him to roll up his sleeves and take more than just an administrative role. The isolation of the Hawaiian Islands offers some challenges to providing safe drinking water that goes well beyond drought restrictions.   When the nearest source of land or aquifer is 2500 miles away, you learn the value of clean drinking water.

In his retirement, Bill has remained active in the industry.  He organizes an annual Chapter conference that brings in guest speakers from the mainland to maintain the technical skills of backflow professionals.  At any National or Western Regional conference, Bill can be found working the tables at the Silent Auction. His is an example of a life well-lived.

Rich Koenig
2016 Meritorious Service Award Recipient 
Mr. Rich Koenig has dedicated much of his career to public water supply systems, water quality, and cross-connection control programs. Since 1990, he has been employed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, as a Water Supply Specialist, performing inspections of public water supply systems, and including evaluations of cross-connection control programs. He has served as a water operator and a water well industry professional, and is currently a licensed backflow tester and repair technician in Nebraska. He previously served as Chair of the Nebraska Section of the American Water Works Association, is currently serving as Chair of the Nebraska Cross-Connection Committee in AWWA, and was presented with the AWWA Fuller Award in 2001, given to “select members for their distinguished service to the water supply field.”

Few people have been as extensively involved with the ABPA over the past twenty years. Rich served as International President from 2005-2007, and currently serves as Region 12 Director, the Chair of the Bylaws Committee, and on the Administrative Policy and Procedures, and Position Statements, Committees, as well as on other committees over the years. He was instrumental in the thorough bylaws review conducted by the Board of Directors in 2014/2015.

Rich represents the ABPA with distinction and honor. His continuing commitment to the Association, and to the backflow prevention industry, in general, and his dedication to promoting safe drinking water, made him the ideal candidate for the 2016 Meritorious Service Award.


 Mike Ahlee
2015 Meritorious Service Award Recipient

The American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA) is an Association of volunteers dedicated to a common interest in maintaining the quality of public drinking water through the enforcement of, and understanding the need for, cross connection control. In any volunteer organization some people seem to always be there to help others regardless of how busy they are or how many other projects they have going. These special volunteers make our Association a better place for its members and the public at large. Once a year, ABPA recognizes an outstanding volunteer who goes above and beyond the call of duty to the association and to the public at large. This year ABPA wishes to acknowledge and honor Mr. Mike Ahlee.

Mike had a colored background. He grew up on his parents produce farm in Southern California with a mixture of horses and animals and lived and loved the outdoor life style. He was an energetic and mischievous youth with an enjoyment for baseball and a passion for playing the drums. As he got older, he found the ocean and the beach, and determined the beach bum life style was more what he wanted. The beach life quickly showed him the need to make money. His first attempt was selling of turquoise jewelry. This hobby did not pay all the bills. So Mike broke down and got a real job working at a local city water department and started his water industry career.

Mike was and is a free spirit and working in the corporate structure of a city water district quickly had him looking for other employment. His dad recently retired from working for a local city water meter shop so Mike and his dad opened a meter repair business selling their services to several local water purveyors.

Around this time he met his life partner Joyce, whom he quickly realized was someone he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. The problem was, the meter repair business was on the waning side in the industry. Meter products and production changed. Meter replacement rather than meter repair became the norm. So as mike saw the writing on the walls, he and Joyce moved to Northern California where there was still a need for his expertise at fixing the old style water meters.

A friend of Mike’s worked at a local water purveyor and told him there was a training event coming to town taught by the USC Foundation for Cross Connection Control & Hydraulic research. They were teaching people to become Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Testers. Mike thought, I can do that too. Mike went through the class and quickly found a love for backflow prevention assemblies and cross connection control. With the need for meter repair technicians winding down, he saw an opportunity to switch gears and get into the testing and repair of backflow preventers. Mike moved back to Southern California where a mature backflow testing market existed and he opened up the Ahlee Backflow Service Co. Mike’s company quickly became one of the top service company’s in the area known for his product expertise and honest work ethic. Mike and Joyce had two daughters, who once old enough, became employees along with several other relatives. Ahlee Backflow Service Co was a model example of a family business that did well.

Rather than sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labor, Mike felt the need to give back to this new industry he loves. He volunteered to help the local community college open up a backflow tester training class. He was in contact with his friends from USC and developed his own curriculum and test stands to start training testers in his area.

Around the same time, Mike became interested in ABPA. He quickly became an ABPA advocate and got involved with the local Southern California Chapter. Locally he helped set up several conferences and seminars. He became a well received speaker on several subjects at various conferences. Mike then volunteered to participate on the Certification Committee at the National level. Here his expertise helped in the formation of the Specialist Certification Program. Mike has served several terms as the Region 6 Director for ABPA. Mike now brought his expertise and passion for cross connection control to wider national audience.

Mike was starting to semi-retire and enjoy the fruits of his labor. Around the same time ABPA lost its Certification Program Administrator with the passing of Mr Ernie Havlina. Mike saw a void with the loss of Ernie and stepped up and volunteered to be the un-paid Certification Administrator for the ABPA Tester and Specialist Programs

Mike is an example of a true volunteer, someone who wants to help others and does not have his hand out expecting something in return. He has helped many in the industry to develop their own talents and expertise by showing them the way. Mike is someone who has never said I want something, he only said let me help where I can. ABPA has benefited from the energy of Mike Ahlee and with this award, ABPA wishes to recognize his efforts.

 Terry Schneider
2014 Meritorious Service Award Recipient

I think one of the things in the cross-connection control (CCC) business we all hate the most is when somebody says “what do you do?” We immediately start waving our arms in the air and rambling about backpressure and backsiphonage. They stare at us and their eyes begin to glaze over because they don’t have a clue what we are talking about. We don’t communicate well to non-CCC people. Think of our kids, I think we have all subjected them to drive in the car as we point out an installed backflow preventer and say “What is That” and they sarcastically and robotically say” It’s a Backflow Valve Dad”. Talking to non-CCC people is a lot like talking to our kids they don’t listen and they don’t understand. We need to be clear in our communications with the non-CCC world. We need to state simply our job is to assure the continued delivery of clean water from point of treatment to point of use. Clarifying this issue is an important function we all need to attend to.

Another miscommunication is, “we are in backflow”. No we are not. We are in backflow Prevention, and there is a big difference. We need to educate the non-CCC world, but we also need to work on how we communicate this idea of “what we do”  about this strange profession called CCC. Some have taken these learning efforts to a religious fervor and have starting calling it “The Cause”.

ABPA once a year provides their highest award the Meritorious Service Award for the zealots and high priests of The Cause. These people spend their time trying to explain, educate and help others to understand what we do.

ABPA is a volunteer organization. We are the sum of bunch of individual people’s activities to help educate about The Cause. These activities take the form of Committee work, Conference work, Newsletters and Networking at Conferences for the benefit of the Association, not themselves. This award is being given to an individual who shows the volunteer spirit but is never recognized, congratulated or thanked for countless hours of volunteering. This plaque is nowhere near adequate payment for his time. If we had to repay in money I think we would owe him a house.

One of the reasons we have Conferences is to help educate those of us in the CCC field. Some do it up front from the podium and they get applause for their efforts. Some work quietly in the back of the room networking and educating, and they get ignored. These quiet volunteers are the Maytag repairman of ABPA. This year’s recipient has all the knowledge we wish we had. He is one of those who quietly helps educate but let’s others stand up and take the applause. This time it is his turn.

Terry was an only child. This forced him early on to learn to communicate with friends in school. This mastery of his communication skills served him well in his adult life.  He graduated from Fresno High in 1959 and attended Fresno City College and graduated with a degree in drafting in 1962. He never left the city he was born in Fresno, CA.

Terry began his professional career with the City of Fresno’s Engineering Department as a draftsman. In 1978 he transferred to the Water Department and signed up for this new Department called Backflow Prevention.  In 1980 he attended training at the USC Foundation for Cross Connection Control and Hydraulic Research. In 1984 he became a certified tester. In 1988 he was promoted as Supervisor of the Meter Shop & the Backflow Prevention Department.

From 1972 to 2011 he also ran the family vineyard which produced different types of grapes for raisins and wine. In 1967 he married the love of his life Miss Chris McBurnie. She said I do for some reason. This union has produced 3 children and 4 grand kids. I hate to say in front of Chris, but his first love was really car racing.

Terry was an owner, operator and mechanic of an open wheel midget racer in the 70’s. He was a sanctioned track official of USAC and officiated car races all over California. The 2008 ABPA annual Conference took place in Indianapolis. Our recipient was a kid in the candy store at our post conference tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Terry is someone who has that rare ability to be everybody’s friend, but always resides quietly in the background. Yet his activities have raised tens of thousands of dollars for ABPA by organizing and conducting various silent auctions at local and national ABPA events. He started the Central Valley Chapter of ABPA. He was instrumental in improving tester training and getting tester certification in his part of the state. A conscious effort was made to raise the bar in the industry in his area. He has also donated countless hours serving the ABPA Certification Program as an Exam Monitor and Proctor more times than Chris cares to remember.

Terry is a valuable friend of ours. He has been married for 47 years to his recreational vehicle partner. His kids and grandkids love to play a card game called Wizard. I think that is a good job description for Terry. He is a CCC wizard in every way. 
Kenneth Kerr
2013 Meritorious Service Award Recipient

Ken has experience in cross-connection control on "both sides of the water meter.” He served as Eastern Region Director, 1 st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, 3rd Vice President and International President of American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE). Therefore, Ken has dealt with the isolation side of the potable water supply by being responsible for guidance of the ASSE Standards Committee in writing and completion of ASSE Standards for backflow prevention devices and assemblies. In 2004, Ken was awarded ASSE's highest award, which is the Henry B. Davis Award for meritorious service in the field of sanitation and for protection of public health through plumbing research.

To add international experience to his cross-connection control background, Ken served as Technical Workshop Chairman of the 1996 World Plumbing Conference IV in Chicago, Illinois. The theme of the conference was "Plumbing and the World Environment” which included backflow prevention assembly installation technical information to help promote solutions to the world's increasing sanitary engineering problems.

On the water purveyor or containment side of the meter Ken served as a national committee member (1993-94) of the AWWA Fire Protection Committee of the Distribution & Plant Operations (DPO) Division within the Technical & Professional Council of American Water Works Association.

Ken has also served as a member of the Association of Boards of Certification's "ABC Cross- Connection Control Validation and Examination Committee” (1993-94).

Beginning in 1985 and continuing to this date, Ken has provided training seminars and educational material to professional associations at conferences and expositions, and to urban and rural municipal water companies in preparation for start-up of backflow prevention and cross-connection control programs throughout the Midwestern United States. He is a licensed backflow instructor by the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board of the Ohio Department of Commerce (Division of Industrial Compliance).

From 2005 to 2008 Ken served as the Region 11 Director of American Backflow Prevention Association. In 2009 Ken was elected Vice President & International President Elect of the American Backflow Prevention Association. Ken has also served as the ABPA External Affairs Committee Chair, working with our affiliate organizations such as the American Water Works Association (AWWA), American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), American Society of Irrigation Consultants (ASIC), Backflow Prevention Manufacturers Association (BPMA), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), International Code Council (ICC), Irrigation Association (IA), National Rural Water Association (NRWA), and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) to name a few.

The cornerstone of Kens' term as International President of ABPA was bringing ABPA and other organizations in the backflow prevention industry closer together for a more cooperative relationship. Ken was instrumental is signing several memorandum of understandings with affiliate organizations.

Ken's meritorious service to the backflow prevention and cross-connection control industry, make him more than deserving of this prestigious award.  

Kevin Bruce Rathburn
2012 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

Bruce has been involved with backflow prevention and cross-connection control for a number of years. Throughout his career he has been an ambassador for the industry. He has work for the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) for 23 years. Bruce started in the backflow industry in 1992 as a backflow prevention inspector for SAWS. Currently, Bruce is the supervisor of the Backflow Prevention Section for SAWS.

Bruce has been and continues to be active in the backflow industry throughout his career. He has been exemplary with any endeavor he has undertaken and provides unsurpassed support to the cross-connection control industry.

Bruce is:

  • Ex-officio member for SAWS on the Plumbing Appeals and Advisory Board for the City of San Antonio.
  • Past Chair of the Cross Connection Control Committee under the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and continues to attend current meetings.
  • TCEQ certified instructor for cross-connection control courses.
  • TCEQ licensed Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester (BPAT), Customer Service Inspector (CSI) and Water Operator.
  • University of Southern California certified Cross-Connection Control Specialist
  • ABPA Proctor for the ABPA Certification Program
  • ABPA Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester

Bruce has conducted numerous cross-connection surveys on various types of facilities over approximately 18 years. He has conducted Recycle Separation Assurance Surveying and Testing for the past 15 years for various facilities. Bruce has also published numerous articles on cross-connection control and backflow prevention.

Bruce is active on the Chapter, Region and National level with the ABPA. He is a Past President of the San Antonio Chapter and remains active in the Chapter. He served as Region 4 Director (Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana) from 2002 to 2007. He was elected Association Vice President in 2007 moving up to serve as the International President from 2009-2011.

Bruce was the driving force behind the "Profile Series” DVD. He approached the ABPA Board with the concept. Once the project was approved by the Board he proceeded. He was heavily involved with the project from beginning to completion. This is one example of his dedication to ABPA as well as his vision for the future of the Association. He always offers to help in any way he can.


John Oakeson
2011 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

John has worked in the drinking water industry for over 35 years. He was employed with a municipal public drinking water system for over 32 years. During that time John developed and administered the cross connection control program for the City. He was also responsible for the Water Quality Program and the Safety and Training Program for the Public Utilities Department. John is currently employed by the Utah State Department of Environmental Quality / Division of Drinking Water as an Environmental Scientist. He works directly with water systems throughout the State. His duties include conducting sanitary surveys, providing operator training and assisting drinking systems with compliance to State Drinking Water Rules. John also assists with the administration of the State Cross Connection Control Program. He is certified as a Utah Backflow Technician Instructor/Trainer. He is certified as an ABPA Backflow Assembly Tester and ABPA Proctor. He is also certified in Utah as a Grade 4 Specialist in both Water Treatment and Water Distribution. John has served on the Board of Trustees of the Intermountain Section of the American Water Works Association and as the Section Chair. Prior to that he served as Council Chair of the Technical & Education Council for eight years. He has served on the Intermountain Section Small Water Systems Committee for over 17 years. John is a past president of the Utah Chapter of the American Backflow Prevention Association. John has co-chaired the Utah Chapter Training Committee and Conference Committee. He has coordinated the technical sessions of the Utah Chapter Annual Conference for several years. He is a recipient of the Utah Chapter Meritorious Service Award. John served a term as International ABPA Treasurer, Vice President, and President. He is a member of the Utah Valley State College adjunct faculty and has taught backflow technician certification courses for over 15 years at the college. John has given presentations at workshops and conferences on the Chapter, Region, and National level for ABPA. He has also given presentations at local and National AWWA functions and has contributed articles to both ABPA and AWWA publications.

Based upon his many dedicated years in the backflow industry, and ABPA, John is very deserving of the International ABPA’s Meritorious Service Award.

The ABPA Meritorious Service Award Selection Committee comprises the past ABPA Meritorious Service Award recipients. The selection criteria for the award are based on the following six categories: impact of the individual’s service on ABPA’s goals; the extent to which that service represents a broad range of responsibility and achievement; how that service has been significant on different levels of ABPA activity; the duration of that service; the individual’s achievement in the backflow industry; and the personal attributes of the individual.
 Tony Arthur
2010 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

In his professional affiliations Tony was an officer of the American Backflow Prevention Association, an active member of the Backflow Prevention Manufacturers’ Association and participated in a number of steering committees for the American Backflow Prevention Association, the American Water Works Association and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers. Tony worked on the Manufacturing side of the business for eleven years, holding the positions of Backflow Product Manager, National Sales Manager and the Director of Marketing with Watts Industries. Tony died December 14, 2000 after a brief illness with a rare lung disease. Mr. Arthur’s award was accepted by Terri Yale of Watts Industries.


Ron Chapman
2009 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

In 1983 Ron came across a valve he had never seen before that was leaking from the bottom of an open port. Not knowing exactly what kind of valve it was, except it was some type of control valve, he repaired it by installing a plug on the bottom of the port. His curiosity, however, led him to investigate exactly what kind of valve it was, and he discovered it was a 2” Orion Reduced Pressure Backflow Preventer. He had not been trained in backflow prevention during his apprenticeship. Fascinated by its purpose, he continued to study and learn as much as he could about backflow prevention. Having a better understanding, he approached Company management through an Employee Involvement Program that was being implemented at that time with his concerns of backflow prevention. After a year of meetings, discussions, and educating management, a general outline of a cross connection control program was developed. Three licensed plumbers from his maintenance shop, including our recipient, became certified testers in 1985.

He was now considered the cross connection control "expert”. That was far from the truth. Over the next few years, his job as a plumber leader evolved into the cross connection control leader, implementing and improving the Cross Connection Control Program. By 1991 Ron was firmly embedded in cross connection control with a crew that installed, certified and repaired backflow prevention devices and assemblies as well as designing potable water systems with backflow prevention that covered over 60 buildings in three cities.

It was about this time that Ron first learned of an association that was specifically dedicated to backflow prevention. He felt that this organization was well beyond his expertise and only used it as a reference for guidance with the R&E program. It wasn’t until the 101st MPMCA convention (1993) that he met Brian D’Ascenzo at an American Backflow Prevention Association chapter booth at the tradeshow. He was excited to finally meet someone from ABPA and immediately signed up and offered any help that he could give. Brian D’Ascenzo, then President of the Michigan Chapter, soon gave him a call and was invited to one of the board meetings. He then ran for Director at Large for the Michigan Chapter. He has served as director, education chair, conference chair, and finally four years as chapter president.

Ron served as Region 11 Director, Vice President and from 2001 to 2003 and then as President of the ABPA.


Henry Chang
2008 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

Henry received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and his Master of Science Degree in Materials Engineering from the University of Southern California. He is the Mechanical Engineer Program Manager for the University of Southern California’s Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research. He has been with the Foundation since 1983. His responsibilities include overseeing the Laboratory and Field Evaluation programs of the Foundation’s Approval Program for the Backflow Prevention Assemblies. He also instructs the Foundation’s training courses that include the Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester and Program Specialist courses. He is a member of various organizations such as ABPA, AWWA, and ASME. He serves on several committees for organizations such as ASSE, IAPMO, ABPA and AWWA. He is currently the chairman of the ABPA Certification Committee. In 2001 Henry was honored by ABPA with the Golden Eagle Award. This is presented to those individuals whom have been a key to the success of their chapter, region or the national association.


Tony Ippolito
2007 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

Tony was the City Water Engineer for the City of Cambridge, MA for over twenty years and was directly involved and responsible for the creation and every day direction of the City of Cambridge Cross Connection Control Department. He also supervised and directed the City of Cambridge Water Treatment Plant. He has been involved in the ABPA New England Chapter since it’s beginning in the 1980s and has served as its president and vice president. It has been my pleasure to participate in conferences, workshops and panel discussions with Tony and he is extremely knowledgeable and professional. He is presently the Region #1 Director for ABPA. We are sure that all of you are familiar with Tony’s tireless work and assistance at the ABPA Education Conferences throughout the years.

Tony has been "officially” retired after thirty years of service from in the City of Cambridge, and now maintains his own consulting business. Tony also serves as an Instructor for the New England Water Works Association in their Cross Connection Survey and Backflow Device Testing Courses. He also still retains his seat on the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Cross Connection Control Advisory Committee for guidance on changes to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations governing Cross Connections. So you can see that he is still current and very active in Cross Connection Control Issues.

Considering that Tony Ippolito has spent over thirty years of his professional life in the field of Cross Connection Control and Water Supply, and his dedication to getting the right decisions made to ensure clean water is delivered and maintained throughout a public water system and the properties it serves.


Fred Baird
2006 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

The 2005 Meritorious Service Award recipient, Ken Green presented Fred Baird with the 2006 Meritorious Service Award. Fred started at City of San Antonio Water Board in 1967 and started forming the Cross Connection Program for the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) March 26, 1974. He received his certification as a backflow prevention assembly tester at The University of Southern California in 1974. He met with the first liaison committee to develop a program guide on April 30th 1974. Fred established an approval list for backflow assemblies in August 1974 for SAWS. He also started a relationship with the City of San Antonio Plumbing Inspections Dept. to support an internal isolation and containment program in September 1974.

Fred is a part of the review and comment process program by the USC Foundation for CCC Research. Fred held the first certification school for local plumbers November 1974 in San Antonio. He established the ABPA San Antonio Chapter in March 1988. He was a member of the official policy drafting committee for ABPA 1988-1992. Fred also set as an ex-officio for the San Antonio Plumbing Review and Advisory Board from 1990-1999. In 1995 Fred was asked by the state of Texas to help form its Cross Connection Control Workgroup.

Fred held the position of ABPA Region 4 Director from 1988-1992. He is a national certified ABPA Instructor and Proctor, and certified as a Trainer Proctor and tester for the state of Texas. He has conducted over 500 Cross Connection Control and Backflow Prevention classes over the past 26 years for the Air Force, Army, Navy and other organizations and industries.

Fred has written numerous papers and given many presentations across the country on Backflow Prevention and Cross Connection Control. He was the Editor of the "Direct Connection” newsletter developed for informative articles on Backflow Prevention and Cross Connection Control for the San Antonio Chapter from 1988-1999. Fred and his son Troy started Bac Flow Unlimited in 1994. Bac Flow is a company dedicated to training for Backflow Prevention and Cross Connection Control and they also do consulting work. Fred retired from the San Antonio Water System in 1999; he is currently the lead instructor for Bac Flo Unlimited, which he owns with his son Troy.

Fred has been an advocate for cross connection control for 30 plus years. Fred truly has dedicated his life to the cause of protecting the public drinking water and continues to do so. He continues to be a valuable resource to ABPA on the local front in San Antonio and on the road promoting ABPA National for training and membership.


Ken Green
2005 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

The Meritorious Service Award For Outstanding Achievement in Backflow protection and Cross Connection Control was presented to Ken Green. What makes this award so special is the recipients are nominated and the winner eventually selected by their fellow peers in our industry who are past winners of this award. Those who have received this award and likewise those who will receive it in the future will cherish this award as one of the highlights of their career.

In the early 1970s, shortly after graduating from Suffolk University in Boston; with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Ken went to work for the City of Boston’s wastewater department. His position involved various capacities. In 1980, this person transferred into the cities cross connection control department. At that time, little did they know their life would never be the same. Ken retired from the city after 36 years of service.

He was given the responsibility to implement a cross connection control program. This included all facets of a successful program; developing enforcement; education; plan review and on site surveys; establishing requirement for protection including installation of assemblies; coordinating with other entities involved in cross connection control; field testing; etc. He also worked closely with the State’s department of EPA to insure their full compliance with the Regulations.

He eventually became manager of the 12-person department and was directly responsibility for one of the largest cities cross connection control programs in the nation.

In addition, as many of us who have made cross connection control a career, he has always made himself available to lecture, train and basically "spread the word” about our passion.

For many years Ken has been an active member of one of the largest AWWA cross connection control committees and is a member of ABPA. What does a person who has made cross connection control his life do when he retires? He goes into business as a cross connection control consultant. Ken he is owner of K.F. Green Consulting where he specializes in "complete” implementation of cross connection control programs for smaller city and water systems.

One of his joys in life is cooking. His cooking is not limited to occasionally preparing Sunday breakfast, but rather preparing a 7-course dinner for several people. Those that have attended one of his dinner parties say they rival some of the best chefs in their fair town.

Ken serves on the AWWA Cross Connection Control Committee; he is active with the New England Water Works Association; he was the first president of ABPA New England Chapter; he is a current member of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Cross Connection Control Advisory Committee.

            Denny Lopp
2004 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

Denny is a past Region 7 Director. He is retired from the Modern Electric Water Company, after 40 years of service. Denny has served the backflow industry for more than 30 years. Denny was one of the first in the state of Washington to be certified in cross connection control. He went on to develop his knowledge and became an instructor for cross connection control programs. In 1986, Denny gained national fame with his article on Temperature and Pressure Valves in "Domestic Engineering” magazine. He has served as Director of the Northwest and Alaska Region of the American Backflow Prevention Association, Pacific Northwest American Waterworks Cross Connection Control Committee, Spokane Regional Cross Connection Control Committee, and one of the original group of six that started the "One Call System.” He is known as a specialist that keeps our drinking water safe, yet there is another equally successful, but dangerous side to Denny’s life – motorcycles.

Ironically, this other adventure also began in 1963 when Denny started racing dirt track motorcycles. Racing motorcycles, Denny reached speeds up to 130 miles per hour on various dirt tracks throughout the United States. In the 1990s, this hobby became its own dirt track motorcycle business, thus the establishment of LOPKO Racing. In 2000, LOPKO Racing and Harley Davidson of Missouri teamed up with local professional racer, Joe Kopp and won the AMA National Dirt Track Championship.
Howard Hendrickson
2003 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

Mr. Hendrickson is a registered professional engineer in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and is a consultant and teacher to the backflow industry. As the principle instructor of backflow courses for the New England Water Works Association he has taught extensively throughout the Northeastern United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He has been active in all aspects of cross connection control for over 30years, holds patents on various valve designs, and has served on many national backflow committees.

Howard prepared the 1989 edition of the Federal EPA Cross Connection Control manual, has written many articles on backflow prevention, and has worked with the New England Water Works Association in the production of several nationally recognized backflow training videos. He has lectured extensively on the subject of backflow prevention and cross connection control throughout the United States, and overseas.

Howard and his family live in Brentwood, New Hampshire.
 Ken Ashlock
2002 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

Ken is the Cross-Connection Control Specialist for the City of Tempe's Cross-Connection Control Program, which was started in 1985. He is the program administrator responsible for more than 4000 municipal and privately owned assemblies. Ken has 28 years experience in the Water and Wastewater systems.

Ken has been a member of the American Backflow Prevention Association since 1988. He was instrumental in the formation of the Arizona Chapter of the American Backflow Prevention Association. He served as chapter president in 1992-93 and served as the Region Six Director and Chairman of the Chapter Relations and Bylaws Committee for the national organization. Ken also served as the National President from 1997-1999.

Ken is currently serving as the National Conference Committee Chair for the American Backflow Prevention Association. ABPA is proud to present this award to such a deserving individual.

Patti Fauver
2001 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

Patti Fauver is an Environmental Scientist with the State of Utah Division of Drinking Water. She began her employment with the Division in the fall of 1987 as an Environmental Technician. She had the exciting task of entering into the Division's computer system 1/2 of all the bacteriological samples and chemical samples taken in the state. During this time Patti received training in the various issues associated with cross connection control. In the course of her work Patti demonstrated her abilities to both understand backflow concepts and be able to explain those concepts to others.

Patti finished her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Biology with the University of Utah while working for the Division. With her degree in hand, coupled with her abilities to train others, she moved up within the Division to the Scientist position she now has.

Since the early nineties, Patti has been involved in teaching and providing technical assistance to elected officials, water utility personnel and backflow technicians regarding: hazard assessments, ordinance and by-law development, backflow valve testing, enforcement recommendations, and public education. She has also been involved in assisting another state agency in writing the amendments for sections of the State's Plumbing Code involving backflow protection requirements.

Throughout this period of time Patti has been involved in the American Backflow Prevention Association and has held the following positions: Vice President, President, Past President, Committies for Governmental Affairs, Training and By-Laws. She served as Region 5 Director from 1997 to 1999. She received the Presidents Special Recognition Award for service between 1995 to 1997. Currently she is assisting in several committees while serving as Treasurer.

She has served on the Western Region Conference Committee since its beginning. Patti served as the chair of the committee.

Further, Patti has held the following positions in the Utah Chapter of ABPA: Vice President, President 1990-1991, Past President, and currently serves as Director-at-Large. She received the J. Travis Black Meritorious Service Award in 1996.

Because of Patti's abilities she has been given the added assignments with the Division of outreach seminars throughout the state with the Rural Water Association of Utah and the AWWA Small System's Committee. The training she provides instructs water systems about new and existing EPA drinking water rules. Presently a considerable portion of her efforts are writing state drinking water rules and tracking and enforcement of these rules. All this is in addition to her work with backflow tester training and certification within the Cross Connection Control Program of Utah.
The Fauvers live in the Salt Lake Valley, and enjoy making annual treks to their summer cottage in northern Wisconsin. Patti enjoys attending Utah Jazz games along with all the movies her daughter, Alex, can drag her to.
Les O'Brien
2000 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

Les O'Brien, CET

Les O'Brien is a Senior Training Specialist in the Department of Continuing Education at the University of Florida's Center for Training, Research, and Education for Environmental Occupations. (TREEO)

Les retired from Gainesville Regional Utilities after twenty-two years in the Water Engineering Department. He was the Cross-Connection Control Supervisor from 1982 to 1990.

Les has been the Lead Instructor for backflow prevention and cross-connection control courses in Florida since 1983 and has been responsible for training more than one hundred instructors of backflow prevention tester training programs throughout the United States.

In 1986, Les and his family created the idea and the storyline for the coloring/comic book, "Buster Backflow." He was also one of the Technical Advisors for the NETA video, "Follow the Flow."

Les is a Past President of the American Backflow Prevention Association. He is currently a member of ABPA's Certification Committee, Training and Education Committee, and CCC Manual Committee. Les is also a Certified Environmental Trainer (CET) with the National Environmental, Safety and Health Training Association (NESHTA), formerly the National Environmental Training Association (NETA).

Mike Logston
1999 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

By: Lyle B. Jacon

Mike Logston, the recently elected Vice-President of ABPA has continued to show a steady increase in his work with backflow prevention. His rise to prominence in the ABP A began with a 3-year stint as the recording secretary for Region 12. Mike became Region 12 Director in April of 1991, and contributed substantially to the benefit of the ABPA. Given his contributions, Mike has deservedly been elected to serve as the ABPA Vice-President. At the end of his term in 1994, Mike will automatically become President of the Association.

During his terms as Vice-President and President, the emphasis of Mike's participation will encompass "information and support." His views are that the ABP A can serve to assist water utilities with implementation of strong enforceable Cross Connection Control Programs. Knowledge of state and provincial programs, regarding regulations and programs would be an ABP A cornerstone. Mike believes that each state and provincial leader in backflow prevention should be able to "identify problem areas and target them for ABPA assistance in program implementation.

Mike's secret of success is most likely to be found with his family. His beautiful wife Sue, and their children -Caleb 13, Seth 7, and Kelsey 6 have been a big help in supporting his career. He began auspiciously as a varsity track and football player, majoring in engineering at the University of Missouri at Rolla. His outside activities recently included a supporting role in the local production of Shakespeare's "12th Night." Presently, Mike and his family are involved with their church, where Mike serves as an elder. Mike and Sue own a farm and enjoy gardening and working with their animals. For those who have the benefit of working with Mike in the future, it may be beneficial to note that one of his "passions" and favorite past times is the consumption of barbecued food.

As ABPA members, hopefully you will have the opportunity to talk and work with Mike. His is very knowledgeable and helpful, and he is more than happy to spend time with fellow ABPA members in an attempt to ensure that our drinking water is properly protected from backflow contamination.

Paul Schwartz
1998 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

Profile of a Pure Winner

Who would have thought Paul Schwartz would win the Meritorious Service Award at this year's conference? Not Paul! He was truly surprised and treated to see his wife and local friends at the award presentation.

What did he do to win the award? The Award is given every year to supportive people with outstanding achievements within the backflow prevention industry. Schwartz has been involved in ABPA almost since its inception. He has served on the Training and Education Committee, Membership Benefits Committee, as well as, the Board of Directors. As a member of the Training Committee, he helped develop a Tester Certification Program, which is a voluntary program in which approximately 1,000 people have already been certified. In his local California/Nevada section of AWWA, he chaired the Tester Certification Committee for eight years.

When did he begin his career? Schwartz has been at the University of Southern California (USC) Foundation of Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research since 1977. As the Chief Engineer, he currently oversees an evaluation program of backflow preventers and supervises a staff of five engineers and several lab technicians. The Foundation was created in 1944 to do basic research and develop standards to prevent backflow from occurring. Schwartz worked for the Foundation part-time during his last two years of college and graduated from USC with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1976. He then worked in industry prior to coming back to the Foundation.

Why is he in this industry? Schwartz believes it is dynamic and quite diverse. He felt there was a natural connection to the industry and his student work. He says he enjoys the industry because "cross-connection control is an important, yet rarely know part of the water industry."

To fellow members in the industry, he would say "put in time and actions that have meaning." He thinks organizations such as ABPA need more participation from its members and he encourages them to stay involved, even in the general activities.

Where will he go from here? Personally, he plans to continue with more of the same...seeing programs implemented and the Manual of Cross-Connection Control being accepted by agencies across the country. Schwartz said, "I am pleased to carry on in the footsteps of Professor E. Kent Springer (a past Director of the Foundation who pasted away a few years ago)." Springer received the second Meritorious Service Award that ABPA ever bestowed. "Prof. Springer got an early start in cross- connection control," Schwartz said, "and he brought it to the forefront of this industry."

Where does he see the organization headed? As an association, he would like to continue to increase awareness of the backflow prevention industry by the general public and help them understand the need for protecting water. He enjoys talking to school children, such as the time when he spoke to his daughter's fourth grade class. His presentation on not compromising a water system prompted the students to go home and proceed to inform their parents of their unsafe plumbing fixtures.

How does he have time for his family? He makes time! Time for projects around the house, sports, snow skiing, and school activities with his children (13-year-old Jessica, 11-year-old Jeffrey, and 9-year-old Jillian) and his wife of 18 years, Debbie. He even coaches basketball leagues and occasionally works on cars or builds furniture and cabinetry when time is available.

Schwartz thinks his home in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. (20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles), is a unique place to live for several reasons. Since 1985, he has had the rare opportunity to raise his children in the home that he grew up in. Plus, his neighborhood has the largest population of wild peacocks outside of their home population in India. Schwartz and his family often enjoy watching the noisy birds strut around in everyone's yards eating flowers, making nests, and chasing cats.
Jim Purzycki
1997 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient
By Bernita North

Because of his dedication to his work and family, one night say that Jim Purzycki could coin the term "DADication." Jim admits his children are the reason he works; Jim's peers agree he is dedicated to both. It is for these reasons and many others that Jim was recently honored with the ABPA's Meritorious Service Award.

Jim and Donna, his wife of 20 years, have four children: Leslie, 15; Kevin, 11; Phil, 7; and Scott, 5. Jim is also the president of his own business, Bavco, which is a wholesale distributor of backflow parts and accessories. He spends countless hours traveling to give speeches or training seminars across the country. Therefore, Jim does not always have much time with his family, so he makes certain it is quality. He commits his weekends to things like family trips to his cabin in the mountains, amusement parks, or the beach.

Jim met Donna at Cal State Long Beach in math class. "She's a saint to put up with me traveling 70% of the time," he said. He graduated from the university with two bachelor of science degrees - one in Management and one in Finance. Jim was born in Inglewood, Calif., a town just ten minutes from Long Beach where he currently works. He is the fourth of seven brothers and sisters.

He is often asked to speak on assembly repairs, gauge calibrations, ordinances, state regulations, or programs that have been started. He was instrumental in the creation of a tester certification program for ABPA. He chaired the committee that developed the need-to-know criteria for backflow testing and certification. He initiated a backflow assembly repair outline.

Since joining the ABPA in 1985, Jim has served on numerous committees and donated his time, expertise, money, and efforts to the backflow industry. When Jim trains people at the educational sessions across the country, he does so at no cost to the ABPA organization. Often, funds are raised, and Jim makes sure that the individual chapters keep that money. He says he enjoys his volunteer work which carries the theme of "getting the information out there."

Jim's peers are quick to add that his presentations always promote the ABPA organization, even over Jim's own business. "He knows this industry. He is an impartial and sought-after speaker." they said, "Unlike most businessmen, you won't find Jim giving a commercial for his company."

Jim started Bavco 20 years ago. Originally, while working for his father as a plumber, Jim realized a definite need for parts. At the time, he was in charge of the materials, and people often asked to borrow them or purchase them. So, Jim decided to make them available on a larger scale. Bavco now has 18 employees in the Long Beach office and 12 sales offices around the United States. He stocks over 10,000 items totaling over $1 million in inventory which insures he has "every part for every assembly in stock."

Jim believes the key to a successful business is customer service. That could be the reason Bavco is the largest business at what they do in the United States. Jim demonstrates this service mentality every day via the customer service line where technicians will walk a customer through a problem. "You don't have to buy from us for us to help you," Jim said. "Our expertise is to help train people-show them how to repair something whether it is over the phone or if we fax out the information." Jim strives to meet the needs of his thousands of customers whether wholesalers, governmental officials, or contractors. He guarantees that if an order is placed by 3:00 p.m. Pacific time, it will be shipped the same day. One peer said, "Jim knows that timing may be crucial to some customers like hospitals, for example. I have seen him ship next day in emergency situations, not 2-3 days like most companies."

At the age of 42, Jim is the youngest recipient to ever receive the ABPA's Meritorious Service Award. One witness thought it was humorous that this public speaker was speechless at the time he was surprised with the award. To receive the annual award, individuals are nominated and the Board of Directors selects the winner based on merit and service to the industry and ABPA.

Jim has always admired businessmen who start their own business. Probably Jim's favorite example is his father. Forty-six years ago he moved across the country from Michigan to California with his wife, mother-in-law, and three children at the time, to start his plumbing business. Jim's father-in-Iaw is also in the plumbing business.

Over the 26 years that he has been in the business, Jim has enjoyed watching this industry help the common person by supplying clean drinking water. He has noted many changes including politics and special interest groups getting involved as well as the start-up of many municipal backflow prevention programs. He has been able to meet good people that are now aware of the problems that occur when backflow prevention is not practiced. He would like to see some improvement in the area of enforcement.

Jim considers himself a history nut. His favorite food is Cajun or Mexican (basically anything spicy). He enjoys soft rock music artists like James Taylor or Linda Rondstat. He doesn't watch many movies other than the Disney channel with his children. One thing he would like to do before he dies is travel alone with his wife to Europe among other places with no business or children on his mind.

Travis Black
1996 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

"Travis", as he is known by his friends, began his work with the then Bureau of Public Water Supplies in October 1984 and continued with this agency and its successor agency, the Division of Drinking Water, unti1 May 1993.

When he hired on with the State, he already had extensive experience with water systems and was quite familiar with the issues they faced. Prior to his State employment, he had served as an operator and manager of several water systems and was also a consultant to many water system personnel throughout the United States and abroad.

While employed by the State, he wore many hats. To name a few, he headed up the State's Cross-Connection Control program, the State's Operator Certification program for drinking water system operators, and the State's emergency response program for drinking water systems.  He was also involved with conducting sanitary surveys, and implementing rules developed under authority to the Federal and State Safe Drinking Water Acts.

Some of his more notable accomplishments while employed by the State include the following:

1. He was very instrumental in obtaining passage of legislation which enabled the certification of Backflow Technicians.
2. He designed the State's cross-connection control program and wrote the State's rules governing Backflow Technicians.
3. He wrote the State's guidance maunal used to describe to water utility managers the basics of a water utility's cross-connection control program.
4. He designed training courses to help individuals become certified Backflow Technicians and participated in many training sessions as both an instructor and an examiner.
5. He established a way for and encouraged the use of "third party" institutions and entities such as the State's community colleges and the Rural Water Association of Utah to become providers of Backflow Technician training.
6. He participated in many training sessions with water utility managers, covering a wide range of subjects including encouraging them to develop their own utility specific cross-connection control programs.
7. He started a registry of backflow incidents in the State and maintained it for a number of years.
8. He totally revamped the State's Operator Certification Program which included the following features. which he instituted,

      a) a Utah specific operator exam,
      b) started publishing the operator newsletter, OpenLine.
      c) allowed operator review of their own exam.
      d) established a lending library, and
      e) required CEU training between certification renewals.

9. He wrote a guidance manual for water utility operators to assist them in preparing their own emergency response plans.
10. He frequently helped water utilities to come into compliance with State and Federal rules.
11. He headed up several special projects, one of note was the gathering of location data on each community drinking water sources, This project has resulted in countless benefits to utilities, and the State in protecting our valuable drinking water sources. and has provided the means to rapidly notify utility managers on several occasions of emergency conditions involving their sources, Such notification enabled these utility managers to avoid potentially serious situations.

Travis has been involved with the American Backflow Prevention Association since its beginning in 1985 in Denver. he served as the President of the Association in 1987 and 1988, During his tenure as President, Travis helped to guide the Association through troubled times, his forth right manner and attention to detail were instumental in obtaining a recoverv of a substantial amount of money from the IRS.

In his position with the both the State of Utah and the ABPA, Travis participated in numerous training programs throughout the country. The training ranged from 45 minute presentations to 40 hour training courses. Travis has been a crusader and a torch bearer for the cause of safe drinking water and cross-connection control.

The Utah Chapter established a Meritorious Service Award in 1995, Travis was the first recipient The name of this award is the J. Travis Black Meritorious Service Award.

Robert Tesar
1995 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

May 13, 1920 - January 1, 2004

Bob was a graduate of New York University Sterns School of Business. He was a retired lieutenant commander with the U.S. Naval Reserves and served in Africa and the Mediterranean during World War II.  Bob retired as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales from Watts Regulator after 30 years of service.


Ernest Havlina
1994 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

October 15, 1921 - May 7, 2014

This year's Gus Angele Meritorious Service Award was presented to Ernest Havlina. Ernest resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife Pauline. They have four daughters; Joan, Linda, Patricia and Marie. Ernest and Pauline celebrated their Golden Anniversary on March 16, 1994. Our best wishes to you both.

Ernest John Havlina graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1943. Upon graduation he entered the US Air Force Pilot Training Program and soon became an Instructor. In 1945 he returned to southern California and joined the LA Dept. of Water & Power as a Sanitary Engineering assistant in the backflow prevention program of the Sanitary Engineering Section.

In late 1950 Ernest recognized the need for training personnel in the proper techniques for testing backflow prevention assemblies. Thus, he started a 35 year career as evening instructor at the Frank Wiggins Trade Technical School (later renamed Los Angeles Trade Technical College).

In 1962 Ernest became active in A WW A. From March 1972 to April 1983 he served as Chairman of the AWWA Committee 146 on Backflow Preventers. He is still an active member of this national committee and in the California/Nevada Section of A WW A he is active on the Backflow Problems Committee and is Administrator of the Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester Certification Program.

We all owe Ernest J. Havlina our most sincere gratitude for his long years of dedicated service in protecting the water we drink.

Jim Whitelaw
1993 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

Jim Whitelaw Graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, NY in 1952. After college, he spent seven years in the U.S. Marine Corp and held the rank of Captain when he was discharged.

Jim worked for Johns-Manville Sales Corporation in their Pipe Division. He was assigned to three different territories as a salesman: Northern New Jersey from 1958 to 1959, Upstate New York from 1959 to 1960, and Western Connecticut as a Senior Salesman from 1960 to 1969. Jim was then the Manager of Sales Training at the New York Corporate Headquarters from 1969 to 1973.

Jim was then promoted to National Sales Manager for Febco Products in 1974. He initiated: the four-day annual "Boot Camp” to retrain sales reps, a Rep Advisory Council which met with management twice each year to exchange ideas and problem solve, and Regional Sales Meetings.

In 1980 Manville sold Febco to CMB Industries. Jim was the lone National Sales Manager until 1982. In 1984, he started to emphasize market penetration in the areas of fire-lines, waterworks, irrigation, plumbing, and industrial/commercial applications. In 1991, along with industrial distributors, Jim started commercial/institutional seminars with great success.

From 1993 to 2003, Jim was the Western Sales Manager for Hot Box. He was responsible for accepting and releasing representatives. Jim worked closely with the owner by helping with new ideas, planning, and field sales management.

Jim was an ABPA Regional Director from the beginning in 1984 to 1995. He has close ties with AWWA, NEWWA, Rocky Mt. AWWA, ASSE, NFPA, and ABPA. Jim still sits on various committees with several organizations. We will never forget those brightly decorated trousers.

Richard Clary, "Mr. Backflow"
1992 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

March 11, 1921 - June 30, 2014

by William Kent

Every once in a while you come across someone who forever touches your life. In this hustle and bustle world we as a race take very little time to stop and look around for those special people. I'd like to tell you about someone who not only means a lot to the State of Georgia, but I would dare to say the nation as a whole. I speak to you from a specific realm, the World of Backflow Prevention.

Born in South Carolina on March 11, 1921, this southern gentleman spent his early years as many had in the old South, working long and hard. In June of 1940 he entered the Naval Academy and began a 6-year tour of serving his country. During his tenure in the Navy, he married his beautiful wife Kate, who was also from South Carolina and who attended Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. In 1951, young and in his prime, this 30-year old gentleman started in the Backflow World. He knew he had a lot to learn, but with the education he had earned including an Industrial engineering degree from Georgia Tech, he was ready to take on anything. He began his career with a company called Spotswood Parker, a manufacturing representative for power plant equipment and plumbing safety and control devices. He quickly saw the need for education in the Backflow World and off he went.

Over the years, while his wife and he reared a family of four, he educated, helped, and assisted everyone he came in touch with. He made a name for himself in Georgia -"Mr. Backflow." He brought the world ofbackflow prevention to the forefront, where he knew it needed to be. Writing and helping to write several sections of the plumbing code, he made sure that the threat of backflow was seen and addressed. In the early 1980's, he was among the founding fathers of the now International American Backflow Prevention Association, pushed for standardization of Backflow Prevention Tester Certification, and helped run a successful business.

Today he is retired. After 40 years of spreading the word, he stepped down in 1991 from Spotswood Parker (now called Spotswood Associates) but is far from out of the picture. During the 90's, he pushed for the Georgia Chapter of the ABPA to be formed and is a life-member with a position on the board of directors that will forever be there. He is now and always has been a visionary in his instructions, never pushing one manufactures product over another. Using this unbiased philosophy, he helped lead the charge on the national and state level. He continues to hold seminars for several associations and groups around the State of Georgia and beyond. If you have never seen or attended one of his "Prayer Meetings," then you don't know what you're missing.

Mr. Dick Clary is one of the original promoters of Backflow Prevention in the State of Georgia. He received the National ABPA Meritorious Service Award in 1992. I am an infant in this business compared to his years of experience. I look to Dick for guidance, advice and help. Of all the accomplishments I have achieved and hope to achieve in my career, my most treasured award is the Dick Clary Achievement Award. It is indeed an honor to be compared to the accomplishments and contributions Dick has made to our profession. Thank you Dick for everything you have done and we look forward to many more years of your never tiring service.
 Utah Dennis
1991 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient




Jack Gambold
1990 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

August 10, 1923 - December 12, 2014

Jack worked from 1975 until 1982 for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management as a sanitary engineer, helping municipal water systems and individuals to apply the guidelines of the Safe Drinking Water Act. After his retirement in 1982, Jack served as a field engineer for the Indiana Rural Water Association for 21 years. 

Over 11 years ago a group of individuals who shared a common interest in a then little known concept called backflow prevention, had the foresight and vision to create an organization that's purpose would be to educate and promote this concept. In light of the effect that contamination in drinking water can have on a community, this was indeed a worthy venture.

One of those individuals involved in the beginnings of the ABPA was Jack Gambold. Over the next 11 years he contributed much in the way of time and technical expertise in furthering the knowledge of backflow prevention. This often required extensive traveling much of which the cost of was never reimbursed, but that did not matter all that much to Jack. His vision was one of protecting the public health through maintaining the quality of drinking water. Something that touches the lives of everyone in America by the water we drink, we mix, we use to prepare our food and clean our children.

The American Backflow Prevention Association owes a debt of gratitude to these two pioneers for their unselfish efforts in sharing and promoting this concept. This organization is in existence today because of their foresight and determination to make a concept a reality.


Al Hermsen
1989 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient

January 31, 1928 - November 12, 2014

While serving in the navy in the 1940's, Al Hermsen contracted polio and was told he would never, walk again. After being confined to a wheelchair and undergoing several surgeries, Al not only started walking again, but began blazing a trail filled with enough accomplishments that would make Thomas Edison envious.

At the Sixth Annual ABPA Conference in April in Chicago, Al was honored with the ABPA Meritorious Service Award. He has been secretary of the American Backflow Prevention Association since its beginning and was also Regional Director for the first 2-3 years. Al is retired from the U.S. Postal Service and the City of Topeka. Two years ago he started a full time training, consult- ing, plans examinations and testing services. He also works very closely with both the Kan- sas State Training System and Kansas Rural Water Association to promote training and assists cities and rural water districts to start backflow prevention programs.

Like his family says "He doesn't really retire, he just retreads!"

Dr. Charles "Bubba" Flanders
1988 ABPA Meritorious Award Recipient 

September 8, 1943 - September 22, 2007


Roy Van Meter
1987 ABPA Meritorious Service Award Recipient

August 23, 1899 - June 30, 1991

By Ernest J. Havlina 

Mr. Van Meter is a pioneer in the field of cross-connection control and backflow prevention activities. He is widely known as an authority on the subject and has been awarded the George A. Elliott Memorial Award by the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association. He was cited for outstanding service in effecting legislation protecting California water quality.

Mr. Van Meter was responsible for initial preparation of the Manual of Cross-Connection Control, published by the Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research at the University of Southern California.

Working on numerous committees, seminars and at educational institutions, he has tirelessly labored for better cross-connection control and the prevention of water pollution.

During the Korean War, Mr. Van Meter served as a special assistant to the director of the Water Resources, National Production Authority, Department of Commerce in Washington D.C. For more than 30 years, hewas in charge of cross-connection control for the Department of Water and Power for the City of Los Angeles. He has been an instructor and lecturer at the University of Southern California, Mt. San Antonio College, Oregon State University, Texas A & M University, the University of Wisconsin and more.

Mr. Van Meter was employed for seven years by the Hersey Meter Company as a consulting engineer. In this capacity, he traveled nationwide, presenting seminars and lectures on cross-connection control.

Currently, Mr. Van Meter is retired. He is a life member of the American Water Works Association. He is also a member of the Southern California Water UtilitiesAssociation.

Roy 0. Van Meter was presented the Meritorious Service Award at the 1987 ABPA Conference in Costa Mesa, California.


E. Kent Springer
1986 ABPA Meritorious Service Award Recipient

September 17, 1912 - December 4, 1996

E. Kent Springer, Protector of Public Drinking Water

E. Kent Springer, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California's School of Engineering and Internationally known as a developer of systems to prevent the contamination of drinking water, died Monday, Dec. 4, in Pasadena. He was 83.

For nearly 20 years, Prof. Springer headed USC's Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research - the only program of its kind.

When water systems are large and complex, impure water can easily be introduced into drinking water systems through inadvertent cross-connections. Springers research helped to establish standards and tests to prevent such hazardous occurrences.

USC's Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research develops design specifications and performance criteria for mechanical devices installed in drinking water distribution lines to prevent the backflow of polluted water from processing plants, laboratories and other sources. The foundation also trains and certifies the persons responsible for surveying water services and testing the performance of those backflow devices.

Springer was responsible for establishing the foundation's Field Evaluation Program for the evaluation of backflow prevention assemblies - the only full - time program of its kind in the world - and he developed the foundation's five- day course for the training of backflow prevention assembly testers.

Springer was born September 17, 1912, in Bellingham, Washington. After earning his B.S. degree In mechanical engineering from the USC School of Engineering in 1936, he worked as a plant engineer at the Fluid Packed Pump Company in Los Nietos, California, and, later, as a mechanical engineer for the Pacific Railway Equipment Company In Los Angeles.

Springer joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1941. While teaching there as an instructor and later as an assistant professor, he earned a UW master's degree In mechanical engineering In 1945.

He joined the USC School of Engineering as an associate professor of mechanical engineering In 1946, became a full professor there in 1951, and served as director of the Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research from 1965 until his retirement in 1984.

Springer was a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and held several distinguished positions, including vice president of Region IX, in that organization. For a number of years, he was faculty adviser to the USC student section of the ASME. In 1981, the Los Angeles section of the ASME awarded its Centennial Medal to Springer for his years of dedicated service.

He was also a member of several organizations that promote safe drinking water and engineering education. They include the American Water Works Association, the American Society for Engineering Education, the Southern California Water Utilities Association, and the City of Pasadena Blue Ribbon Committee reviewing the Pasadena Department of Water and Power.

Springer it survived by his wife, Frances, and son Bruce, a mechanical engineer. A memorial scholarship fund has been established at the foundation. 

Gustave Angele
1985 ABPA Meritorious Service Award Recipient

March 30, 1906 - November 3, 1999

Mr. Angele was born in Baltimore, Maryland. on March 30, 1906. Born the only son of John and Emma Angele. He attended John Hopkins University School of Engineering, where he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. Mr. Angele was employed as a draftsman by the Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., the city of Baltimore's Water Department, and Western Electric at the Point Breeze Plant. 1n 1935, he accepted employment with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a senior draftsman in the mapping section. He later transferred to the construction of Chickamauga Dam and then became an inspector. In 1939, he was transferred to the Kentucky Dam as an office engineer. Later. he was again transferred to the Knoxville office, as a senior design engineer (piping design section) on the design of dams for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under the Lend-Lease Program.

Mr. Angele accepted employment with the Tennessee Eastman Co., in 1944 as a liaison engineer during construcrion of the extension of the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant. When construction was completed, he was transferred to the Mechanical Design Piping Section and later became the section head. He was named Plant Sanitary Engineer (Nuclear Division) before retiring in 1971 from Union Carbide Corp. after 27 years.

'Gus' Angele was a life member and Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and served as a member of the Pipeline Committee for several years. Mr. Angele was certified as a professional engineer in the state of Tennessee until 1994, holding certificate No. A-1647. He was also a former member of the American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE) and the Engineering Society of Western Pennsylvania. Mr. Angele was a life member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and served as chairman of the Cross Connection and Backflow Committee for six years. He wrote several papers on the subject that were published in book form and helped develop AWWA's Manual M-14, first and second editions. This manual is now used as an industry standard.

In 1965, he represented the AWWA at the International Water Supply Conference in Barcelona, Spain, where he presented a paper on water supplied in a complex industrial plant. He also traveled throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, giving seminars on cross-connection backflow problems and methods of correction.

In 1985, he was elected Life Member No.1 of the American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA) and an annual award was established in his name, The Gustave J. Angele Meritorious Service Award and is awarded to a member who has made an outstanding contribution to the industry. "I have never received any recognition for my work in the field of cross-connection control To be recognized by such a young organization is indeed an honor," Mr. Angele said as he received the award from ABPA in 1985. The award was later renamed The Meritorious Service Award.

When the city of Oak Ridge was chartered in 1947, Mr. Angele served one term as a member of the Board of Plumbing Examiners and two terms as chairman of the board. During this period he wrote and administered the first examination for both master and journeyman plumbers. He resigned in March 1994 due to cataract surgery on both eyes.

Mr. Angele's hard work and dedicated leadership for backflow prevention helped propel the industry to the high standard we have today.





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