Rebecca Tallon

2020 STEP Ahead Honoree

Director, Water Treatment Technologies
A. O. Smith Corporation

Manufacturing transforms research into reality.

Becky leads the water treatment technology team at A. O. Smith’s Corporate Technology Center. There, she works with the company’s water treatment groups around the globe, identifying causes and solutions to problems in manufacturing and implementing new processes related to technologies she develops with her team. Becky successfully managed the launch of the company’s water treatment products in North America and helped shepherd three newly acquired water treatment companies into A. O. Smith’s family of businesses. With every acquisition, Becky used her market knowledge to identify the products most likely to add value to A. O. Smith’s portfolio. Through her efforts, Becky has helped make A. O. Smith a burgeoning water filtration leader in North America.

Becky is among the first women to sit on the Water Quality Association’s (WQA) Women in Industry Advisory Council (WIN) and is a formal mentor with the organization. She also serves on the advisory board for the professional graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences, where she connects with female students and offers insights on navigating a male-dominated industry. Through her work on the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Water Equipment and Policy Center (WEP), Becky mentors and provides hands on guidance to graduate and postdoctoral students in their research and product development pursuits.

Becky contributes to her community through her continuing efforts to create water quality standards and technologies for the public and through her commitment to supporting young students, especially girls, interested in science and engineering. Recently she helped educate K-12 teachers in local schools on how to promote STEM in their classrooms and shared engaging STEM and water-related lessons they could use. And every year, Becky judges a three-day regional youth robotics competition that involves working with high school robotics teams on their technical work, business plans, product development and teamwork.