Kelly Hon ’99: An Advocate for Safe Water

A training and source water specialist for the Michigan Rural Water Association, Kelly Hon helps local municipalities in the planning and proactive analysis of major water issues.

Kelly Hon ’99 spends her time helping communities take the correct steps toward environmental safety. With 11 years in the water industry, she has a firm grip on what it takes to continue to move in a positive direction.

Hon, a training and source water protection specialist for the Michigan Rural Water Association (MRWA), helps local municipalities in the planning and proactive analysis of major water issues. She has secured tens of thousands of grant dollars for communities with the MRWA and has administered federal and state grants while with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

Keeping Communities Informed and Safe

Throughout her career, Hon has developed strong partnerships with local, county, state and federal agencies as well as non-profit and environmental firms. She trains and educates on key topics facing the water industry, working closely with both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security along with the MDEQ to ensure local compliance with regulatory issues.

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, her work is necessary to keep communities informed and safe from environmental issues. For Hon, this is the fulfillment that keeps her going every day.

Demonstrating Groundwater Contamination

“I enjoy the satisfaction of helping communities achieve new milestones and take pride with them in the accomplishments we achieve together,” says Hon. “As an industry, we face many challenges in the coming years. In order to conquer these challenges, partnerships are essential and a broad vision for policy change is necessary.”

Hon often goes to schools to educate students as young as elementary age on environmental issues. Through a hands-on groundwater model demonstration, schoolchildren are able to grasp how pollutants can make groundwater unsafe to drink. She assists as they put together edible aquifers using products such as Oreos, ice cream, clear soda, sprinkles, food coloring and a straw. These items represent dirt, clay, water, topsoil, contamination and a well, respectfully. The demonstration prompts students to ask questions, allowing Hon to engage with them as they experience groundwater and groundwater contamination.

Mentoring Fellow Scots

As busy as Hon is, she finds time to stay connected with Alma College. She’s participated on the Alma College Alumni Board, mentors at career expos and works with staff on environmental positions that become available in the industry.

“It is humbling to know that I can connect with faculty and staff who are interested in alumni thoughts,” says Hon. “I enjoy having the opportunity to mentor fellow Scots because I have knowledge about a variety of different career paths in the environmental arena.”

Story published on October 04, 2016