Smith & Loveless mourns loss of 60-year employee, industry innovator

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Frank and his wife, Audrey, celebrate his
50th anniversary at S&L. (Photo credit: Smith & Loveless)


LENEXA, KS, Jan. 27, 2014 -- Smith & Loveless Inc. recently announced the passing of senior engineering consultant Frank G. Weis P.E., one of the nation's longest-tenured professional engineers and one of the area's most treasured citizens. Weis, whose distinguished professional career began at Smith & Loveless nearly 60 years ago and lasted through 2014, died on Sunday, Jan. 19, at his home in Kansas City, Kan. He was 93 years old.

Smith & Loveless hired Weis as its first staff engineer in 1954. His career spanned seven different decades at the company, and his considerable technical innovations helped shape the nation's burgeoning water industry in the post-World War II era and well beyond. Among his most noted achievements from more than 40 equipment patents was the development of the first solids handling pump for municipal sewer collection and transfer, as well as the invention of the world's first hydraulic vortex grit removal system.

"The entire Smith & Loveless family is saddened by the loss of Frank Weis, whose dedicated length of service combined with his extensive portfolio of industry patents and product innovation yielded one of our industry's most significant contributors," said Frank Rebori, Smith & Loveless president.

Following graduation from the University of Missouri School of Engineering in 1942, Weis later became an engineering officer in the United States Navy. He served in World War II -- including in the South Pacific -- for two years before returning to Kansas City to work for the KCMO Water Department as superintendent and assistant chief engineer. During the Great Kansas City Flood of 1951, Weis oversaw the crew that prevented the lower concrete pump level of the Primary Lift Station from collapsing, which was responsible for all of the city's water supply at the time. Three years later, founders Alden Smith and Compere Loveless asked Weis to join the company as its chief engineer.

"Frank's innovative spirit, determination and passion drove him to always be learning and striving to make things better, both in his professional career and personal life," said Rodney Mrkvicka, S&L vice president of engineering. "Because he never lowered his level of passion, his influence on our staff of 30-plus engineers and rest of the company was truly profound."

Weis' career was recognized by industry peers and associations with the highest honors. In particular, he received the Henry R. Worthington Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for his career and considerable achievements in pumping machinery, in 1999. He also received the University of Missouri's Distinguished Service in Engineering Award in 2005. Further, his tenure continued into 2014, representing his 60th year at Smith & Loveless -- a milestone that few employees of any company ever reach. In recent years, Weis continued to conduct several important research and development projects for the company. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Audrey, three children, six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Memorials are still pending.

About Smith & Loveless

Founded in 1946, Smith & Loveless Inc. is a global leader in the water and wastewater industry, offering a complete line of pumping, treatment and headworks equipment and boasting installations in more than 70 nations around the world. For more information, visit www.smithandloveless.com.

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