NEWEA Success Story: Jeff Kalmes

We set out to develop a collection of stories based on asking members a simple question: “How has NEWEA helped your education, career or community?” This is one of those stories.

Name: Jeff Kalmes

Title: Water Resource Recovery Facility Superintendent, Billerica, Massachusetts

NEWEA member since 2005

How has NEWEA helped your education, career and community? “NEWEA has allowed me to meet and share experiences with other like-minded people from our industry. I like being part of different conferences, whether it is speaking at one or just being part of the audience. There have been many training seminars that I have attended and again, interacting with my colleagues. I feel that with these new connections I can always get information on any type of problem and not feel weird about reaching out for help. Overall it is an amazing group of professionals.”

Jeff puts this knowledge and training to good use, both at his plant and in the community, where he is a leader in public and school education.

According to The Lowell Sun, “Superintendent Jeff Kalmes is a tried and true instructor, having visited Billerica schools for decades to educate students K-12 about the miles of sewer pipes, pump stations, and the facility where our used tap water gets cleaned with the help of bacteria till it meets the pristine standards required to be returned to the Concord River — purer than the water quality at our intake.”

Jeff and the Billerica plant have received several awards:

  • 2008 NEWEA Public Educator Award
  • 2011 WEF National Public Educator Award
  • 2015 NEWEA Operator of the Year Award
  • 2018 E. Sherman Chase Award
  • 2019 William D. Hatfield Award

Jeff also has participated in NEWEA’s Operator Exchange Program, and he makes sure his staff benefits from the program. After visiting facilities in Vermont in 2017, he wrote “I must say I was impressed with the professionalism from the operators I met during those three days. It’s really nice that we could all immediately relate to each other because of our jobs. I instantly felt at home with all of my fellow operators, even though we had just met. That is one of the things I love about this career. You feel instantly connected to people who love what they do, and it shows in the way they care for their plants and the environment. As a plant supervisor, now I will definitely have my newer operators take part in this program. There is so much to learn from seeing other plants and talking with other operators.”

If you would like to support the efforts of NEWEA members like Jeff and programs like those of the Operator Exchange, Public Awareness and Youth Education committees, please visit our Donations page today. By making a contribution to NEWEA, you are investing in our region’s water quality and supporting essential water workers.

What’s your story? If you have a story to share, please fill out a brief form on  or contact Jordan Gosselin, Communications/PR Coordinator

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