JPS Luncheon: Paul T. Bowen, “Water Sustainability: One Company’s Response”

Joseph Priestley

Portrait of Joseph Priestley, attributed to Ozias Humphrey (British, 1742–1810). The Chemists’ Club Collection, CHF Collections. Photo by Will Brown.

This installment of the Joseph Priestley Society (JPS) lecture series included the symposium “Water Needs and Today’s Technology,” moderated by Karen Meidlinger, managing partner, Meidlinger Partners. The keynote address, “Water Sustainability: One Company’s Response,” was given by Paul T. Bowen, water technology director, environmental and water resources, The Coca-Cola Company.


What is being done to conserve better the limited supply of water in the face of growing worldwide use? We all know the importance of water in sustaining life, but as a society we are faced with issues involving water in almost every aspect of our life—agriculture, human health, energy, and so on—which illustrates why water is one of the major themes of this International Year of Chemistry. The symposium took a broad look at these issues and how today’s technologies address them. The keynote address presented what the Coca-Cola Company, a major user of water, is doing to promote water sustainability.

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About the speakers:

Paul T. Bowen, Keynote Speaker
Water Technology Director, Environmental and Water Resources, The Coca-Cola Company

Paul T. Bowen

Paul T. Bowen joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1999 and currently works in the Environment and Water Resources Department, where he leads water-efficiency and wastewater-compliance efforts for the Global Water Stewardship Team.

He also assists with water- and wastewater-treatment issues and the development of water-treatment technologies for Coca-Cola worldwide. Bowen is Coca-Cola’s representative on the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable, an organization he helped start.

Outside of Coca-Cola, Bowen is a trustee of the Water Environment Federation and serves on the board of directors of Water for People, a nonprofit group that provides sustainable water and sanitation systems in areas of need around the world. He has M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in environmental-systems engineering from Clemson University.

Karen Meidlinger, Moderator
Managing Principal, Meidlinger Partners

Karen Meidlinger

Karen Meidlinger shares responsibility for all major functional operations of Meidlinger Partners, which include transaction sourcing, structuring, negotiating and divesting, working with portfolio companies, and handling relationships with limited partners. Meidlinger earned her B.Sc. in marine biology in 1993 from the University of Liverpool and her Ph.D. in marine ecology in 1997 from the University of Southampton. While pursuing an M.B.A. at the University of Cape Town, she developed a strong interest in entrepreneurship and enjoyed applying her ecological-systems training to develop business strategies for start-up companies. After completing her M.B.A., Meidlinger accepted a visiting fellowship in entrepreneurship at the Wharton School. In 1999 she became the associate director of the Wharton Small Business Development Center and was a project director at Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs.

In 2000 Meidlinger joined the University City Science Center, where she was responsible for finding high-growth, technology-based life-science companies and then negotiating space, service, and equity agreements with them. In 2005 Meidlinger joined Johnson & Johnson, where she led various innovation management projects, identifying new technologies that drive future business growth for the corporation.

Kevin Brophy
Managing Principal, Meidlinger Partners

Kevin Brophy

Kevin Brophy is managing principal of Meidlinger Partners, LLC, a Philadelphia-based private equity-investment firm. The firm's first fund invests in lower- and middle-market clean-technology businesses that solve problems in water and wastewater and at the nexus of water and energy. Before cofounding Meidlinger Partners in November 2008, Brophy held roles in operations as well as director positions with Aqua America, including executive roles in mergers, acquisitions, business development, investor relations, and strategic planning. 

Brophy has a B.S. in business administration from Villanova University and has completed executive programs at London Business School. He is a member of Investors’ Circle, a leading network of private and institutional investors that uses private capital to promote the transition to a sustainable economy. He is also on the executive committee of the Children's Crisis Treatment Center, a Philadelphia nonprofit organization.

Philip J. Rooney
Business Development Manager, Integrated Water Solutions, GE Water & Process Technologies

Philip Rooney headshot

Philip J. Rooney

Phillip J. Rooney is the business development leader for the Integrated Water Solutions business of GE Water & Process Technologies. Rooney is responsible for corporate-level sales and account relationship management with Customer Business Development staff. Acting as the lead commercial point of contact, Rooney ensures contract compliance and customer satisfaction for Integrated Water Solutions customers.

With 30 years of experience in the water treatment industry, Rooney has extensive water-management expertise, including chemical, capital equipment, and value-added engineering-services sales. Rooney provides a focus in the power, steel, and mining industries, extensive corporate-level sales and project-management experience supporting clients that are developing greenfield projects.

Prior to his current role, Rooney spent three years as commercial developer of special projects and three years as platform manager of Contractual Services Group/Global New Construction for GE Water & Process Technologies. He spent five years as project development manager of Global New Construction Group for BetzDearborn, eleven years in field sales and sales management for Betz Laboratories, and two years as an area representative for Chemed Corp. He earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Kentucky.

M. Michael Hightower
Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories

M. Michael Hightower

M. Michael Hightower is a distinguished member of the technical staff in the Energy Security Center at Sandia National Laboratories. He is a civil and environmental engineer with over thirty years experience in research and development. His current efforts include research and evaluation of innovative environmental and energy technologies and the reliability, security, and protection of critical water and energy infrastructures. One of his current activities is as project leader for a Science and Technology Roadmap for the Department of Energy for energy-water research and development. He recently helped write a report to Congress on current and emerging energy and water interdependencies and challenges.  

Another current effort is helping federal facilities improve their ability to meet their critical-mission energy needs safely, securely, and reliably through risk-based design and implementation of energy-surety microgrids. Hightower holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from New Mexico State University. He serves on the board of directors for Citizens for Responsible Energy, is past-chair of the Waste Management Education and Research Consortium Industrial Advisory Board, and is past-chair of ASME’s Environmental Engineering Division.

This event is part of CHF’s year-long celebration of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011), a United Nations–designated initiative celebrating chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind.


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