Editorial Letter: Generosity, Humility & Imagination

March 4, 2022

This article originally appeared in the March 2022 issue of WQP as "Generosity, Humility & Imagination"

About the author:

Lauren Del Ciello | WQP Managing Editor | [email protected]


I have had the honor of sharing a piece of the story of three legendary Industry Icons in these pages over the last few years — Frank Brigano, Charles “Chubb” Michaud and now our 2022 Icon Richard Mest. I say honor because while we celebrate their professional accomplishments in these pages, they have given myself, and I hope our readers, something invaluable in return — perspective.

RELATED: WQP 2022 Industry Icon: Bridging the Divide

From Brigano, I learned the value of curiousity and the importance of always instilling passion in your work. From Michaud, I learned more than I can count on one hand, but notably to know what you know and know what you don’t know, something I reflect on often. From Mest, I learned that generosity and kindness can give you infinitely more than you imagined.

As I was interviewing Mest, I was struck by his incredible humility. He has held nearly every esteemed position and honor in the water quality industry through his various roles with the Water Quality Association, Water Systems Council, National Groundwater Association and more, and quite literally shaped the direction of the industry and cross-sector partnerships. Yet, as he met my never-ending questions he often pointed to those who worked beside him.

“It almost makes me feel guilty because I don’t feel like I’ve given enough, because I’ve received so much more,” Mest said of how industry engagement has shaped him.

As I went on to speak with several of his peers, it was clear that Mest’s hard work ethic, compassion and drive for change inspire the lives he touches. Generosity, humility and imagination. To me, those three characteristics mark the makings of an Industry Icon.

As the COVID-19 pandemic inches on, we’re all craving a little more joy, a little more celebration of generosity, humility and imagination. Last month in this space, I announced our new platform, One Water Media (onewatermedia.com), and this month I’m excited to share that our annual Faces of the Industry (FOI) issue has moved online to provide year-round coverage and updates on the wonderful individuals driving the industry forward. I invite you to explore the FOI hub at wqpmag.com/faces-industry or subscribe to our monthly people-focused eNewsletter at wqpmag.com/subscribe. And if you have information to highlight there, stories to shout from the rooftops, reasons to rejoice, email me at [email protected] and let’s get brainstorming.

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