NJWEA’s Jack Lagrosa Remains ‘Young at Heart’

November 29, 2017

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John “Jack” Lagrosa, longtime leader of the New Jersey Water Environment Association (NJWEA), has worked to increase the involvement of young professionals in the association and water sector. Photo courtesy of Megan Livak, NJWEA.

John “Jack” Lagrosa, longtime leader of the New Jersey Water Environment Association (NJWEA), has worked to increase the involvement of young professionals in the association and water sector. Photo courtesy of Megan Livak, NJWEA.

John “Jack” Lagrosa stands among those who have made the New Jersey Water Environment Association (NJWEA) what it is today. The longtime leader and tireless champion for the association has worked to promote the roles of younger members. As a measure of thanks for his efforts, the organization’s Young Professionals Committee awarded him their Young at Heart Award during the 2017 NJWEA annual conference.

Lagrosa became a sewer operator upon returning home from the military conflict in Korea during the 1950s. His involvement with NJWEA deepened throughout the years since. He served as 1967–1968 president of the association’s North Jersey Section. Eventually, he would fill all elected offices and serve as chair of most committees. Lagrosa also played a leading role on many committees of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.).

Since 1972, Lagrosa has served on NJWEA’s Executive Committee, which is charged with the management of the association. He helped boost attendance and sponsorships at association events as chair of its Conference Management Committee and as conference manager since 1976. He served as the association’s vice president (1978–1979), president-elect (1980–1981), and president (1982–1983). He served as WEF’s 1984–1987 executive director; and in 1995, Lagrosa became executive director of NJWEA, a position he still holds.

Throughout his involvement with NJWEA, Lagrosa has engaged young professionals by starting programs for them, including the Young Professionals Committee, which is open to members under the age of 35. “We try to get [young professionals] involved in every other committee, too,” Lagrosa said.

During the 2017 NJWEA annual conference, Lagrosa received the NJWEA Young at Heart Award. From left, NJWEA leaders Josh Palombo, Tom Grenci, Lisa Oberreiter, Lagrosa, Megan Livak, and Alyson Lee celebrate the achievement. Photo courtesy of Fran Bonaccorso.

During the 2017 NJWEA annual conference, Lagrosa received the NJWEA Young at Heart Award. From left, NJWEA leaders Josh Palombo, Tom Grenci, Lisa Oberreiter, Lagrosa, Megan Livak, and Alyson Lee celebrate the achievement. Photo courtesy of Fran Bonaccorso.

“Jack embodies the term ‘Young at Heart,’” said Megan Livak, co-chair of the Young Professionals Committee and business development manager for Van Cleef Engineering Associates LLC (Hillsborough, N.J.). “He makes it fun to help and get involved,” she said. Members of the committee presented the award to Lagrosa at the President’s Awards Reception during the association’s conference last May in Atlantic City.

Lagrosa serves as an inspiring example to NJWEA’s younger members, Livak said. “He has shown the young professionals not only how to work hard but to have fun in the process,” she said. “He is always looking for ways to help us make our group, as well as the association, bigger and better. He truly cares about developing the young professionals because he knows that we are the future of the industry.”

Lagrosa also “has the uncanny ability to relate to all ages of people, and especially loves to offer his guidance to the young professionals,” Livak said. “He serves as not only a leader and a mentor, but a friend. In his eyes, as well as ours, he is still a young professional at heart.”

— Jay Landers, WEF Highlights

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