International Ozone Association

Pan American Group (PAG) 

2020-2021 Executive Operating Committee (EOC)


Ben Kuhnel, PE, President

Ben Kuhnel is a consulting engineer working for Arcadis in Dallas, Texas.  He has worked on design, startup, and optimization of ozone projects at municipal water treatment plants for the past 12 years.  He is happy to join the IOA-PAG Executive Operating Committee to advance the external knowledge of “good” ozone and internal resources available to support our ozone community.



Nick Burns, PE, President-Elect

Nick Burns is a consulting engineer with Black & Veatch located in Dallas, TX.  He started his career operating an ozone pilot plant and now is responsible for the testing, design, and commissioning of ozone facilities around the world.  Nick enjoys promoting the technology, continuously learning more about the uses, and conveying that information onto others.  Nick is currently working on ozone for water reuse applications and control of algal toxins.



Eric Wert, PhD, PE, Past-President

Dr. Eric Wert is the Project Manager of Applied Water Research at the Southern Nevada Water Authority.  His work has focused on the use of ozone for drinking water and water reuse applications in bench-scale, pilot-scale, and full-scale systems. He received his BS in Civil Engineering from West Virginia University, M.Eng. in Environmental Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, and PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Nevada.  Dr. Wert has been a member of the IOA since 2002.



Denise Funk, PE, BCEE, Vice President

Denise Funk is the national ozone lead for Brown and Caldwell. She was formerly division director of Operations Technical Services within the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources in Georgia. She led the department’s applied research program focused on water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure improvement and process optimization.  Prior to joining Gwinnett County, Denise worked on municipal ozone design and optimization as an engineering consultant for many years.


Saad Jasim, PhD, P.Eng., International IOA President, PAG Vice President

Manager, Utilities, City of White Rock, BCPresident-International Ozone Association.; Adjunct Professor, University of Windsor; Served as; Director, Great Lakes Regional Office-International Joint Commission, Canada-USA; Founding CEO for the Walkerton Clean Centre, Director, Water Quality & Production, Windsor Utilities Commission; Past President-Ontario Water Works Association; Past President-International Ozone Association-PAG 2010-2012; Recipient of many Awards: 2016 George Warren Fuller Award-AWWA/OWWA, Harvey Rosen Award-International Ozone Association 2009-2010, 2008 Emerald Award-Ontario Ministry of the Environment; 2004 Engineer of the Year-Professional Engineers Ontario, 2001 AWWA/OWWA “Operator’s Meritorious Service Award”, 1998 “Business Professional of the Year” Award-Business Excellence Award-Windsor & District Chamber of Commerce



Jim Klein, Treasurer

Jim Klein is the Regional Sales Manager – North America for AirSep Corporation, A Chart Industries Co., located in Buffalo, NY. Since becoming active in the IOA in the mid-1990s, he’s been involved in promoting the benefits of using oxygen produced by the PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption), as a feed gas for ozone generation. More recently, he’s also started to work with engineering and consulting firms and large scale oxygen (and ozone) users who’re a better candidate for a VPSA (Vacuum Pressure Swing Adsorption) Plant. As a result, Jim has the privilege to interface with engineers, manufacturers, and systems integrators involved in many different industries. He welcomes the challenge of collaborating on new ozone applications and looks forward to the opportunity to share his experience, especially with those that are new to the industry.


Jim Lauria, Vice President

Jim Lauria is Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Mazzei Injector, a fluid design company that manufactures ozone mixing and contacting systems. He is a leader in the water treatment field with a proven track record of revenue growth, profit improvement and new business development. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree from Manhattan College, Jim has traveled extensively benchmarking the world’s best water management practices. As a writer, Jim has published feature and cover articles for most of the leading water industry publications in the U.S. and many top international magazines. His blog posts about global water issues have received accolades from all levels of industry and government. In 2004 he provided peer review for the World Health Organization's publication on drinking water treatment making him a Who's Who of WHO.



Tony Sacco, Vice President

Tony Sacco is the cofounder and Managing Director of Spartan Environmental Technologies, LLC.  Spartan supplies ozone and advanced oxidation systems for water treatment to industrial and commercial customers in North America.  Prior to founding Spartan in 2004, Tony was the General Manager of Business Units for ELTECH Systems Corporation a manufacturer of chemical process equipment.  Before, ELTECH he was the General Manager for RPM Ventures a manufacturer of specialty materials for rechargeable batteries.  He has a degree in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a MBA from Cleveland State University.  Tony has been a member of the IOA since 2004 and looks forward to being a part of the Executive Operating Committee to promote the activities of the IOA.




Daniel W. Smith, OC, FRSC, FCAE, Peng., PhD, Vice President

Having started studies of ozone in cold regions for water (1971) and wastewater treatment (1975), Dan became a member of IOA in 1979.  He has published many papers in IOA documents, served as President of PAG and on the Boards of PAG and IOA Int’l.  He was elected to the Academy of Canadian Engineering (1997), Royal Society of Canada (2004) and Officer of the Order of Canada (2013).

He served in the U.S. Public Health Service, was an Assistant Professor in Environmental Quality Engineering at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Head of the Northern Technology Centre, Environment Canada, Senior Engineer at R & M Consultants, Anchorage, AK, and Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science, University of Alberta.  He graduated 144 students with graduate degrees (39 Ph.D.s) and has published several award winning papers.


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