AFS Announces Annual Award Winners at FiltCon 2024

The American Filtration and Separations Society is pleased to announce the winners of our 2024 Honorific, New Product and Student Poster Awards. Bestowed on April 8, 2024, at Filtcon, the society’s annual technical conference and networking event, these winners represent true leadership and innovation in the filtration and separations industry.

Frank Tiller Award – Dr. Tinoush Dinn

Named in honor of Dr. Frank Tiller, the internationally acclaimed “Father of Modern Filtration Theory” and key founding member of the AFS, this award highlights scientific merit. The Frank Tiller Award recognizes individuals for outstanding lifetime scientific and engineering achievements in the Technology of Fluid-Particle Separation.

Dr. Tinoush Dinn has been with BASF Corporation since 2015 as a Senior Global Process and Chemical Engineering Research Engineer. As a member of the solids processing group, Dr. Dinn supports BASF North America and global operations and performs R&D, process development, scale-up (lab to pilot and plant) process design, and optimization for solid-liquid and membrane separation processes. Before this position, he worked as a research engineer and project manager in multiple industries, such as mining and minerals, oil and gas, and water and wastewater treatment, for over 12 years with backgrounds in operation, design, research, modeling and simulation of separation processes.

Dr. Dinn earned his MSc and PhD in Chemical Engineering from The University of Manchester (UMIST), England. His PhD focused on innovative design and analysis of solid-liquid separation processes. He served multiple times as AFS conference moderator and on the organizing committee of the 13th World Filtration Congress (WFC13); he also served as co-chair of the health track, poster judge, and moderator of multiple sessions in WFC13 in 2022. He is currently a member of the AFS board of directors and scientific committee and serves as co-chair of FiltCon 2024. He has published and presented 12+ papers (one in WFC13) and has 6+ patent applications.

Wells Shoemaker Award – Mr. Chris Wallace

The Wells Shoemaker Award was established in 1989 and named in honor of Mr. Wells Shoemaker, a key founding member of the AFS, who epitomizes leadership and service. This award recognizes individuals for a lifetime of outstanding leadership and exceptional service to the American Filtration & Separations Society, resulting in significant and demonstrable benefits to the Society’s members.

Mr. Chris Wallace is the VP of Technology and Sr. 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. He holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University.

Mr. Wallace served as chairman of AFS from 2014 to 2015. He was President of the Southwest Chapter in 2010-2012 and was on the board of directors in 2016-2018. He currently serves on the board of directors for the 2019-2021 and 2021-2023 terms. He is also vice chair of the education committee, a member of the corporate sponsors committee and co-instructor of the Introduction to Liquid Filtration AFS short course. He serves on the advisory committee for the Southwest Chapter.

Senior Scientist – Dr. Ashish Bandekar

The Senior Scientist Award was established in 1999 to honor individuals in the middle of their careers who are significantly contributing to the technology of filtration and separation.

Dr. Ashish Bandekar is a Senior R&D Engineer Manager at Gessner. A published author and patent-holding engineer, he has worked in developing meltblowns and designing filters for various industrial sectors for the past seven years. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Akron under the guidance of Professor George Chase. Before joining Gessner, he held positions with FTC, Lydall and Entegris.

Dr. Bandekar has been an active member of the AFS since 2013 and is currently a member of the Publication Committee, the President of the New England Chapter and on the board of directors. In 2019, he received the AFS Young Scientist Award.

Young Scientist – Dr. Harshal Gade and Dr. Jianyu “Jerry” Zhou

The Young Scientist Award was established in 1999 to honor individuals at the beginning of their careers who have made important contributions to the technology of filtration and separation. This year we are delighted to recognize two scientists with this award.

Dr. Harshal Gade works for Intel, where his focus is on using filters to reduce defects on silicon wafers and fab devices.

During his Ph.D. program, he focused his research efforts across disciplines of physics, chemistry, and polymer science to study the charge-polarization of polymeric nanofibers. He recognized that the practical use of charged fibers (also known as electrets) had two main challenges: accurate and sensitive charge measurement and proper handling and storage of the fiber materials did not adversely affect the charge. To address the first challenge, Dr. Gade fabricated a custom-made Faraday Bucket sensitive enough to detect less than one-volt changes on fiber mats. He applied a source-free resistance-capacitance circuit model to evaluate the voltage-time data to calculate the amount of charge carried by the fiber samples.

Dr. Jianyu "Jerry" Zhou holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron, where he systemically studied filtration theories, material, characterization and applications with Professor George Chase.

Currently, Dr. Zhou works as a Senior Project Engineer for Parker Hannifin. He is based in the Parker Filtration Innovation Center and focuses on filter media applications and filtration material development to connect with Parker's diversified needs in applications in filtration industry. Dr. Zhou has been an active member in AFS since 2015. He is co-chair of FiltCon 2024 and serves on the AFS Education Committee.

Professor George Chase Award – Dr. Pratik Gotad and Professor Sadhan Jana

The Professor George Chase Award, established in 2021, was named in honor of Professor George Chase for his and his students’ many contributions to AFS and to the filtration and separations profession. It was created to honor academic researchers and their students who contribute significantly to the filtration and separations profession.

Dr. Pratik Gotad is a 5th year Ph. D. student in the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron. He completed his B. Tech in Polymer and Surface Coating Technology at the Institute of Chemical Technology; he was a Gold medalist for his undergraduate batch. His Ph.D. thesis focused on developing novel functional polymer aerogel media for applications in liquid-liquid filtration and separation of small organic molecules such as PFAS and surfactants from liquids.

Dr. Gotad has received the Society of Plastic Engineers Polymer Modifiers and Additives Division Scholarship and Indian Academy of Sciences Summer Research Fellowship, among several other awards and scholarships. He has published three research papers in high-impact factor peer-reviewed research journals and has filed two provisional patents for the technologies developed during his Ph.D. work. Prior to his Ph.D., he worked as a research executive at Pidilite Industries and has industrial research experience working for companies such as Henkel Adhesive Technologies and Auxilium Health Inc.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Wu Chen

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the premier award given by AFS and was created to honor those who have had an exceptional career and have made valuable contributions to the filtration and separations industry.

Dr. Wu Chen recently retired as an R&D Fellow at Dow. He has over 30 years of industrial experience in solid/liquid separation and air/gas filtration in technologies and filtration markets. He also has expertise in project management, process design and plant startup.

With 40 years of experience in solid/liquid separation, Dr. Chen has served AFS with great passion since the Society was founded, as a pillar in the acceleration of the Society's development. He is currently the chair of the AFS Education Committee and the coordinator of AFS short courses. He has been the chair of AFS, the board of directors, conference chairs, local chapter officers and served on various committees. He has received the AFS Frank Tiller Award for outstanding technical achievement, the AFS Well Shoemaker Award for leadership and service to the filtration industry, and the Fellow Member Award for sustained significant contributions to filtration technologies and industry.

New Product Award – GKD-USA – VORTEX Separation Unit

Vortex is a biomimetic solution adapted from the same natural processes that enable basking sharks and manta-rays to filter their food without clogging their gills. Instead of attracting particles to a filter surface, Vortex forms fluid patterns that suspend and isolate the particles into a continuous vortex—separating them from fluids and channeling them into a capture unit for removal.

The spiral forms a continuous vortex within inflowing fluids, separating unwanted particles into a concentrated stream that can be channeled into a capture unit for removal. This design vastly outperforms conventional filtering systems.

Engineering Merit Award – MayAir – Constant-Efficient Intelligent HEPA Box and Return Air Inlet

The Intelligent HEPA Box and Return Air Inlet can adjusted remotely and quickly through the built-in air volume control valve. The air volume can be fed back to the central control room at the same time, realizing the rapid intelligent switching of working mode. Meanwhile, the rational structure of the product and no wearing fittings make it easy to overhaul and maintain.

Student Poster Winners

1st Place: Isabella Kotsol, University of Hawaii
2nd Place: Tong Zhang, East China University of Science and Technology
3rd Place: Rana Bachnak, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Honorable Mention: Michal Stor, Warsaw University of Technology

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