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United Water, in partnership with Stevens, wins Management Innovation Award

HOBOKEN, N.J. The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) held its annual conference, Oct. 8, 2007, during which NAWC President Bob Iacullo presented the 2007 Management Innovation Awards. This annual competition provides member companies the opportunity to share innovative approaches to issues relevant to the water industry. This years second-prize award went to United Water for the entry Senior Design and University Marketing Program, a project developed in conjunction with Stevens Institute of Technology, a renowned engineering university in the United Water New Jersey service area. Robyn Ashmen, Manager for Strategic Marketing at United Water, headed the project.

Stevens and United Water developed a partnership to conduct research in the development of better water quality, led by faculty from the Stevens Center for Environmental Systems and involving an Environmental Engineering Senior Design Team. The Stevens Senior Design Program offers corporate-sponsored projects that allow Stevens Seniors to address current challenges that benefit society. This partnership served as the foundation for United Waters Senior Design and University Marketing Program, which in addition to providing better water quality for customers, also addresses staffing needs, identifying future hires, and fostering community relationships.

Dr. Xiaoguang Meng, Professor for the Center for Environmental Systems, served as faculty advisor for the Stevens Environmental Engineering Senior Design Team, which tested a process of removing radionuclides from watera development that resulted in a savings of $240,000 for United Water.

The Stevens Environmental Engineering Senior Design Team systematically evaluated the operation parameters of the filtration system and the materials used in the water treatment. Based on their experimental results, recommendations were made for optimization of the system to improve its performance. A second phase of research will be conducted to develop novel methods for cleaning the filtration media.

Building on the success of the Stevens-United Water partnership, the companys Marketing and Human Resources departments will embark on a full, national roll-out of the program over the 2007-2008 academic year. The partnership with Stevens has helped United Water engage the minds and talents of tomorrows engineers and draw upon the experience and wisdom of their mentoring professors, notes Robyn Ashmen. As a result of the dedication of Stevens professors and students and key United Water staff, this partnership has grown to be a template for a corporate-wide University Recruiting Program. Taking the honor of second place for the National Association of Water Companies annual Management Innovation Award will allow us to share this successful program with our peers in the water industry.

NAWC represents all aspects of the private water service industry with member businesses ranging from ownership of regulated drinking water and wastewater utilities to the many forms of public-private partnerships and management contract arrangements. For more information on the winning entries, e-mail Mike Horner, NAWC, at


Contact: Patrick A. Berzinski
Stevens Institute of Technology

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