Panel 4: How Did COVID-19 Change the Perspective on Filtration? How Prepared is the Industry for the Next Pandemic?

A compelling exchange on:

  • Latest research on aerosol transmission and capture
  • Future vulnerabilities: airborne, waterborne, indoor/outdoor
  • Standards & Regulations: Facemasks, HVAC filters, test methods
  • Is the US supply chain for critical filtration materials ready for the next pandemic?

Wednesday, March 30
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Mike Clark, Division President, Filtration Solutions, Hollingsworth & Vose Company

What to Expect

The filtration industry continues to be on the “front line” providing critical PPE and IAQ to minimize the spread of the virus, as well as advanced filtration solutions for medical equipment, hospitals, and the biopharma production processes to develop and produce the vaccines at tremendous scale.

Almost overnight, spurred by the fear and uncertainty of COVID-19, terms like ‘N95’ , ‘NIOSH’, ‘MERV 13’, and ‘HEPA’ have become common, and ‘filtration’ has become mainstream.  This new public awareness will likely have a profound and lasting impact on the industry.”

– Mike Clark

About Mike Clark, Division President, Filtration Solutions, Hollingsworth & Vose Company

Mike Clark is the President of the Filtration Solutions Division at Hollingsworth & Vose Company. He joined H&V in 2003 and has held a number of leadership positions in the US and Europe. Prior to his current role, Mike served as the President of the High Efficiency and Specialty Filtration Division from 2009 to 2020. Before joining H&V, Mike was a strategy management consultant working with Fortune 100 manufacturing companies. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.



Wade Conlan Video

Wade Conlan, PE, CxA
Commissioning and Energy Discipline Manager, Hanson Professional Services, Inc.


Jonathan Szalajda
Deputy Director, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) NIOSH


Thad Ptak, Ph.D.
Principal, Ptak Consulting


Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D.
William A. Klopman Distinguished Professor, and Executive Director, The Nonwovens Institute, North Carolina State University

With a diverse engineering and project management background, Wade is an expert in the design, troubleshooting, and optimization of HVAC systems. He is responsible for design review, submittal review, developing commissioning plans, functional tests, and performance tests for project commissioning. For over 15 years of his career, he has provided energy audits, retro-commissioning, and re-commissioning services for existing buildings, including energy modeling, life cycle costs analysis, and economic analysis.

Wade has been the Project Manager and Commissioning Engineer for over 60 million square feet of facilities around the world.


Jonathan Szalajda became the Deputy Director for the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) division of The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in September 2015. Since joining NPPTL in 2001, Jon has held various leadership roles in the organization. Some of his duties included being responsible for developing and promulgating new approval Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) related standards and regulations, including NIOSH's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) respirator standards. Prior to coming to NIOSH, Jon was a proposal manager for Bombardier Transportation and was the systems manager for the M40 Mask program with the Department of the Army.He holds a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Penn State and MS degrees in engineering from the George Washington University and the University of Pittsburgh. He has worked in the fields of respiratory protection and PPE for over 35 y. Jon is currently a member of the National Fire Protection Association Respiratory Protection Technical Committees, the Vice-Chairman of the American Society for Testing Material-American National Standards Institute F23.65 committee on Respiratory Protection, and a past president of the American Industrial Hygiene Association Respiratory Protection Committee.


Dr. Thad Ptak has over 30 years of experience in filtration technologies, aerosol science and indoor air quality. He has conducted extensive research in the areas of development of filter media and filters, portable air cleaners, indoor air quality, sensors for IAQ and instrumentation for particle generation and measurement. Currently Thad has his own consulting company specializing in providing solutions in the areas described above. He was involved in the research, development and manufacturing products and technologies in consumer products, HVAC, portable air cleaner and automotive filtration applications for several different organizations including AO Smith, Columbus Industries, StrionAir, ArvinMeritor, and others. Dr. Ptak has presented more than 50 technical papers related to the particle technology and filtration field, chaired and organized several sessions and co-chaired a filtration conference. He actively participates in technical societies and numerous standard committees.


Dr. Behnam Pourdeyhimi joined NC State immediately after completing his PhD at the University of Leeds in 1982. Soon, he left for other opportunities, Cornell (2 years), University of Maryland (11 years) and Georgia Tech (4 years) before returning to NC State in 1998-199 Academic year.

Behnam is the William A. Klopman Distinguished Professor of Materials in the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State University and is also an affiliated professor in the departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and the Biomedical Engineering. He also serves as Associate Dean in the Wilson College of Textiles and is the Executive Director of The Nonwovens Institute.

Early in his career, he focused on the development of tools for characterizing various materials including nonwovens, medical devices, composite materials, etc. For this body of work, he received the ASTM D-13 Dewitt Smith Medal. In particular, his work on image analysis won him the Fiber Society Distinguished Scientist award in 1994. He also was selected as the Fiber Society Lecturer where he travelled broadly to present his work to industry and academia. He later served also as the vice president, and the president of the Fiber Society.

He is best known for his contributions to nonwovens and establishment and the growth of nonwovens at NC State. His work in the area of filtration won him the O’ Max Gardner award in 2015 (The Highest award by the University of North Carolina System), and in 2018, he received The Holladay Medal for Excellence (The highest faculty award bestowed by NC State University). In 2020, Behnam was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors as a Fellow.

He joined NC State in part to lead the establishment of the Nonwovens Institute (NWI). NWI is the largest university-based research institute in the US across all disciplines. Today, NWI is the world’s first and only accredited academic program for the interdisciplinary field of engineered fabrics. Operating on an “Open Innovation” platform, the Nonwovens Institute engages experts from industry and higher education in building next-generation nonwoven applications while also providing training and guidance to the field’s future leaders.

Pourdeyhimi has published over 450 publications and 3 books, has presented over 250 conference presentations, holds 28 US patents and 65 international patents, and has founded or co-founded several spin-outs.  



How do we better achieve better Indoor Air Quality?

Josh Ayer, President & COO, Hollingsworth & Vose Company



What is the single-use filtration industry doing to improve its environmental footprint?

Philip Whitaker, CEO, BFC Solutions



How can Filtration/Separation ensure clean water supply?

Mark Siebert, General Manager, Healthcare & Specialties, US & Canada, Berry Global, Inc.



How did COVID-19 change the perspective on filtration?

Mike Clark, Division President, Filtration Solutions, Hollingsworth & Vose Company



Filter Standards: Friend or Foe? Help or Hindrance?

Tom Justice, President, Zene, LLC


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