Davenport Employee Earns National Plant Manager of the Year Award

International Bottled Water Association | NEWS RELEASE | November 14, 2018

Davenport Employee Earns National Plant Manager of the Year Award

New Orleans, LA – The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) has announced today that Davenport, Iowa employee Josh Schlemme has won the prestigious Plant Manager of the Year award for 2018.

Mr. Schlemme, CPO, PCQI, of K&S H2O Inc., dba Culligan of Davenport, was awarded the title during IBWA’s Annual General Meeting as part of the 2018 IBWA Annual Business Conference in New Orleans.

Mr. Schlemme joined Culligan in 2013 after completing two tours of duty with the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq. When making the announcement, IBWA Convention Committee Co-Chair Dan Kelly praised Mr. Schlemme’s leadership.

“The leadership qualities he obtained during his time serving our country has proven to be instrumental in developing a culture of growth through employee empowerment at Culligan,” said Kelly. “Under Josh’s direction, Culligan of Davenport’s bottling business has grown by more than 80 percent since January 2017. The company has also doubled the amount of route drivers—going from 5 to 10.”

Mr. Schlemme, who manages a multigenerational workforce, is also a member of Culligan’s Next Generation Committee.

“His ability to be compassionate for his employees while maintaining high standards in employee safety, food quality, and plant performance is second to none,” said Kelly. “At any given time, you can find Josh relieving a person from the production line, in a delivery van making an emergency delivery, turning a wrench on the line, or in a planning meeting looking at growth targets for his team. Josh truly is a servant-leader. His approach is applauded by all who work ‘with’ him.”

This year, Mr. Schlemme has overseen the renovation of his company’s bottling line by adding three new water softeners, three new automatic carbon filters, and an oxygen generator to aid with ozone generation for their production line.

He has also developed a summer intern program, which involved hiring three high-schoolers to help with ancillary jobs on the bottling line. The three interns completed all the required training, and can effectively perform some of the jobs association with the bottling line. The program seeks to engage individuals who could become future leaders of the company one day.

“Josh’s innovative approach to managing both the bottling line and the route delivery personnel clearly set him apart from his peers,” said Kelly. “His dedication to purpose, exemplary work ethic, and commitment to safety, quality, and productivity certainly earns him this year’s title of Plant Manager of the Year.”

IBWA has been recognizing the efforts of bottled water industry professionals since 1963. As ambassadors of the bottled water industry, plant managers are on the front lines in the critical role of ensuring safe and quality bottled water products are produced for customers.


Media Contact:
Jill Culora
[email protected]

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters, including spring, mineral, purified, artesian, and sparkling. Founded in 1958, IBWA’s membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, to set comprehensive and stringent standards for safe, high-quality bottled water products.  

In addition to FDA regulations, IBWA member bottlers must adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice is a mandatory annual plant inspection by an independent, third-party organization.  

IBWA is proud to be a partner with Keep America Beautiful and a supporter of Drink Up, an initiative of former First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which encourages Americans to drink more water more often – whether from the tap, a filter, or in a bottle. Choosing water is always the healthy choice.