AFS Board Transitions to New Leadership

During the 13th World Filtration Congress, leaders elected in June and returning leaders were installed for the coming AFS membership year.

The AFS Executive Committee for the 2022-2023 year includes the following filtration professionals:

Mr. Kenneth Winston, Chair, is in sales for Midwest Filtration in Houston, TX and is a specialist in filtration and separation for the water, refinery, natural gas, energy and chemical markets.  

Kenneth holds a process engineering degree from Texas A&M Kingsville and an MBA from Ramkhamhaeng University, Thailand. In addition to his new role as Board Chair, he serves AFS as President of the Southwest Chapter and has been active in AFS since 2016. 

Mrs. Mary Jo Surges, 1st Vice Chair, is Vice President, Filtration Division at Eaton in Eden Prairie, MN, where she leads engineering, human resources, finance, operations, sales and marketing in global leadership with accountability for Europe, Asia and Americas with 1,000 employees, seven manufacturing plants and P&L responsibility.

Mr. Leonard Castellano, 2nd Vice Chair,is the Chief Engineer at Parker Hannifin Filtration Innovation Center. He has 40 years of experience in R&D in polymeric membranes, melt blown macro and force spun nanofibers in markets including air, fuel & chemicals, food & beverage, biopharmaceuticals and transfusion medicine. Len has expertise in leading the development of novel materials for filtration, separation and purification in macro, micro, nano and ultrafiltration technologies.

Ms. Jeni Wong, Immediate Past Chair, is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Custom Filter, where she has been since February 2022. She was previously Key Account Manager at Johns Manville.

In addition to being an active AFS member and serving in leadership, Jeni is Secretary of ASHRAE TC 2.4 and Membership Chair of ASHRAE TC 2.4.  She holds a double major in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of San Diego.

Mr. Jim Walker, Treasurer, is President and CEO of CEREX Advanced Fabrics in Pensacola, FL. CEREX produces nylon nonwoven industrial fabrics that are used in a variety of demanding end-use applications for the filtration, automotive, aerospace, fiber reinforced plastics and medical markets. He was responsible for leading a management buy-out of CEREX in 1994 and continues to serve as its leader today.

Jim has served AFS as Treasurer since 2019 and as Chair of the By-Laws Committee since 2016, and previously served on the Board of Directors (2017-2019) and the Finance Committee (2017-2019). He graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. He has held a variety of engineering and management positions in his 40-year career.

We also wish to extend a special thank you to Dr. Shagufta Patel, our outgoing Immediate Past Chair, for her many years of leadership service on the Executive Committee. 

The AFS Board members beginning their two-year terms are:

Dr. Saravanan Andan is currently a Principal Scientist in Berry Global's PD team, based in Old Hickory, TN. Saravanan has over 10 years of experience in R&D and PD with expertise in various nonwoven technologies, filtration and lamination processes. He has developed and commercialized a wide range of nonwoven media for both liquid and air/gas filtration, fiber reinforced plastics, life science, construction and geotextile products.

Saravanan has been actively involved in AFS as a presenter, conference session chair and as a member of the Education and Scientific committees. He also served as a co-chair of AFS Fall Conference 2019. Saravanan earned his Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering from NIT India and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron with a specialization in filtration.

Dr. Tinoush Dinn has been with BASF Corporation since 2015 as Research Engineer and member of Global Process & Chemical Engineering Research team, managing R&D, process development, scale-up (lab to pilot and plant), plant support & process optimization for solid-liquid and membrane separation processes.

Tinoush is a returning AFS board member and will continue to serve on the Users Committee. He earned his MSc and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from The University of Manchester (UMIST), England, focusing on innovative design and analysis of solid-liquid separation processes.

Dr.-Ing. Martin J. Lehmann is Principal Expert Research Network and Public Funding at MANN+HUMMEL, having previously served the company as Vice President Air Filtration and Engineering Air Filter Elements. In this assignment, he has been responsible for the strategic orientation of air filtration and the global R&D of air filter elements in the transportation segment.

Martin is a returning AFS board member. He was a plenary speaker, co-chair of the Energy symposium and chair of the industry poster session at the 13th World Filtration Congress (WFC 13). He is a member of the Scientific Committees of FILTECH, AFS and WFC 13. He is an appointed member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the GSaME at Uni Stuttgart. He was co-chair of AFS FiltCon 2021 and several other AFS conferences. He was an invited keynote speaker at InterPore and FILTECH and has published over 80 technical papers.

Dr. Godwin Severa, Ph.D., MBA, is an Assistant Researcher at the University of Hawaii with over 10 years of experience in materials development for gas capture in the areas of hydrogen storage and air purification for electric vehicles. His research interest is in developing novel regenerable, ionic liquid and metal-based sorbent materials for gaseous contaminants mitigation.

Godwin has been an active member of AFS since 2016. He is currently the Vice-Chair of the AFS Scientific Committee and a member of the Certification Committee. He served as Co-Chair of the Energy Track for the 13th World Filtration Congress. He also teaches a short course on filter media for the AFSCP (AFS Certified Professional) basic certification.

Mr. Steve Westbrook currently leads Johns Manville’s North American filtration and separation business and has 20+ years of manufacturing and commercial leadership experience in building products and extruded plastics. He has deep experience in strategy development and implementation and finance (P&L and budgeting). During his extensive career, Steve has worked with many large industrial companies in the Americas and Europe to align business goals and drive commercial success.

Dr. Lin Zhao is an Associate Research Scientist with the Dow Chemical Company. His work at Dow is focused on solid-liquid separation with practical industrial experience on most filtration and centrifugation operations. Before joining Dow, he obtained his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering at the Ohio State University in Dr. W.S. Winston Ho’s group with the research focus of developing advanced membranes for water desolation and gas separation.

Lin is a returning AFS board member. He joined AFS in 2015 and has been actively involved as a conference presenter, Board member, Chair of the AFS Publication Committee, and Conference Co-Chair for AFS FiltCon 2023. He serves as an instructor for the AFS short course “Basic Solid/Liquid Separation” and is actively engaged in AFS Southwest Chapter activities.

The AFS Board members serving the second year of their two-year terms are:

Mr. Neil Burns is a founder and co-director of Croft Filters Limited and Croft Additive Manufacturing Limited, Warrington, UK, and has more than 36 years of experience developing and delivering high quality filtration solutions to a range of industries in the UK and worldwide.

Neil gained his MBA from the University of Liverpool in 2012 and MSc by Research at Lancaster University in 2019. He regularly presents in Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing as it relates to the filtration and separation industry. Neil is the Past-Chairman of the Filtration Society, UK, a Committee Member of ASTM Standards Board (USA) and a Committee Member, ISS Standards Board (UK). In addition to serving on the AFS Board, he also is a member of the AFS Marketing Committee.

Mr. John Hancock is Filtration Market Manager at CEREX Advanced Fabrics, where he has worked for 11 years. He has been in the filtration industry for more than 35 years, predominantly in hydrocarbon and cabin air filtration applications.

In addition to his role on the Board, John is the current AFS Membership Committee Chair.

Mr. Brian Lane is an independent consultant, having retired from Parker Hannifin Filtration. With more than 30 years of filtration experience, Brian led Parker Hannifin’s global engineering and product development activities.

Brian has been an active member of AFS for more than 10 years, including giving plenary talks at the 2017 Fall Conference and AFS FiltCon 2021.

Dr. Wenping Li is the R&D Director of Agrilectric Research Company, with over 20 years of industrial filtration and separation experience. Before joining Agrilectric, she worked with Prof. Frank M. Tiller, the father of modern filtration theory, at the University of Houston from which she built in-depth understanding of fundamentals in solid/liquid separations. She has two patents and over 40 publications, including contributions to Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook and Albright Chemical Engineering Handbook.

Wenping joined AFS in 1999 and served as AFS Chair in 2012. She has served as a Board member, Chapter Affair Committee Chair, short course instructor and Student Poster Competition Chair for AFS. She received the AFS Frank Tiller Award in 2014, and AFS Fellow Award in 2021. She served as Technical Co-Chair for the 13th World Filtration Congress and is serving as Co-Chair for AFS FiltCon in 2023.

Dr. Jon Rajala is Senior R&D Product Engineer at AAF Flanders in Louisville, KY, where he manages test labs and product development projects. He is active in ASHRAE leadership as chair of the TC 2.4 Programs Subcommittee and the SSPC 52.2 Research Subcommittee, and he leads the standards activity committee among AAF employees.

Jon completed his B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at The University of Akron, advised by Professor George Chase.

Mr. Chris Wallace is the VP of Technology and Senior Corporate VP for Filtration Technology Corporation (FTC) in Houston, TX. Since he joined FTC in 2003, he has been involved in production engineering, application engineering, research and development and technical sales and marketing of filtration and separation products for liquid/solid, gas/solid, liquid/liquid, and gas/liquid applications.

Chris holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University. He is actively involved in AFS, serving as Chair in 2014-2015 and multiple previous Board appointments. He is active with the Southwest Chapter and was President in 2010-2012. He is Vice Chair of the Education Committee, a member of the Corporate Sponsors Committee and instructor of the “Introduction to Liquid Filtration” short course.

The AFS membership is immensely grateful for all these AFS volunteer leaders, who will responsibly and proactively lead AFS into the future, advancing our mission of supporting the filtration and separations industry by providing rich opportunities for networking and the exchange of technical knowledge.

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