A state organization dedicated to clean water has awarded its highest honor to a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) leader.
Brian A. Perkovich, executive director of the MWRD, was recently named the recipient of the 2021 Illinois Award from the Illinois Association of Wastewater Agencies (IAWA) during the IAWA’s annual meeting held virtually.
“We are so proud to learn that the Illinois Association of Wastewater Agencies has recognized MWRD Executive Director Perkovich with the Illinois Award,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “Brian’s positive influence, resolve and constant collaboration with the Board of Commissioners has been instrumental in guiding the MWRD and staff through these incredibly challenging times.”
After a nationwide search, the MWRD Board of Commissioners selected Brian to serve as executive director in December 2018. He leads 1,900 employees who operate around the clock to transform wastewater into clean water for Chicago and 128 surrounding municipalities; manages stormwater for Cook County; and protects area waterways and the region’s drinking water supply in Lake Michigan. In coordination with the MWRD Board of Commissioners, Brian has helped lead the MWRD’s essential services through the pandemic while also facilitating a first-of-its-kind, collaborative strategic planning process. The MWRD recently released its five-year Strategic Plan utilizing public participation, a steering committee and engagement with local government agencies and consultants during the pandemic.
“Brian’s leadership has allowed the MWRD to continue operations in a steadfast manner before and during the pandemic,” said MWRD Vice President Barbara McGowan. “We thank him for his dedication to the MWRD, especially during these trying times.”
The IAWA instituted the Illinois Award in 1977, presenting it to an individual who contributes “the most to the betterment of the environment in Illinois, or to the person, who through personal effort, has elevated our industry’s stature in the eyes of the public.”
DeKalb, Ill.-based Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District Executive Director Mark Eddington nominated Brian for the award, having worked with him on the IAWA’s executive committee over the last decade. In his letter of nomination, Eddington praised Brian for his mentorship and “practical style of leadership.”
“Brian is a tireless advocate for clean water, environmental and economic sustainability, andpractical solutions to our region’s challenges. I can think of no better nominee for the IAWAIllinois Award,” wrote Eddington. “Brian is an industry leader in Illinois and many of us emulate his efforts and applaud the progress he has achieved while managing the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. He has spent a career championing IAWA’s science-based approach to wastewater treatment and resource recovery. Most recently, Brian has been at the forefront of Illinois’ response to COVID-19 and has worked tirelessly with his board of commissioners to adjust to the new realities in our workplaces.”
The IAWA represents more than 80 years of transition and growth of the Illinois Association of Sanitary Districts, today helping meet and address the needs of administrators and managers working across the state to manage wastewater treatment and protect area waterways.
A civil engineer, Brian has more than 28 years of experience working at the MWRD, most of it in the MWRD’s Maintenance and Operations Department, in which he led operations at the Egan Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) in Schaumburg and the Hanover Park WRP before being promoted to lead operations at the Calumet WRP in Chicago in 2005 and then assistant director of Maintenance and Operations. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his Master’s degree in Business Administration in Finance from DePaul University.
Brian is a member of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and represents the MWRD with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). He served as president of the IAWA from 2013 to 2014. IAWA recently announced that MWRD Monitoring and Research Department Assistant Director Jennifer Wasik will serve as the next president of IAWA.