WSU Alum Recognized for Championing Water Quality

Quincalee Brown, former executive director of the Water Environment Federation (Federation) and a champion of women’s rights and water quality, was inducted into the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame at Wichita State University on October 22, 2021.  Ms. Brown served as the executive director of the Federation from 1986 to 2001, one of the most important time periods in the association’s history. Ms. Brown was at the helm of the Federation as it expanded its focus and changed its name from the Water Pollution Control Federation to its current Water Environment Federation. She also led its relocation within the Washington DC area to the current location in Alexandria, Virginia. 

Quincalee Brown championed women’s rights and diversity in the workplace, as well as water quality issues throughout her career. Brown accepted the role of executive director of the Water Pollution Control Federation in 1986, She helped guide the nonprofit in providing technical education and training for thousands of water quality professionals. During that time, she was also active in the American Society of Association Executives, serving as chairman of the board for the professional organization.  Brown was a founding member of the Water Environment Research Foundation, now part of the Water Research Foundation, with the mission of advancing the science of water to improve the quality of life. She also worked as an independent water quality and association management consultant serving on the boards of directors of Trojan Technologies Inc. in London, Ontario; the Environment and Energy Study Institute in Washington., D.C.; and the New Zealand Water Environment Research Foundation in Wellington, New Zealand.

 Before accepting the executive director position, Brown was renowned for her work on women’s rights and equity issues in the Washington DC area. In the early 1970s she served as the assistant director of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Commission for Women, a new county level agency and multi-service organization for women, offering crisis and emergency counseling, and career preparation. Following that, she went to the U.S. Government Printing Office as a federal women’s program manager. Soon after completing the requirements for her doctorate, she was hired as the executive director of the Commission for Women.  In 1980, she began working for the American Association of University Women, helping lead the fight for fair pay and economic opportunity for women.  

A native Kansan, she completed her bachelor’s degree at Wichita State University. After several years in the workforce, she opted to pursue and complete a PhD at the University of Kansas. After finishing her PhD coursework at KU, she moved to Washington DC area and worked full time while continuing to work on her PhD research. 

Her many awards include Contribution to Public Service Award, Montgomery County Government; Outstanding Contribution to Sex Equity;  Frances E. Willard Award, Alpha Phi Fraternity; American Society of Association Executives Key Award;  and Association Executive of the Year Award. She was also recognized by the Wichita State University Elliott School of Communication with the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2002.

Brown volunteers with several boards and is currently working with southwest American Indian populations at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. She is also active with the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.