Dr. Janet E. Stout, directs the SPL leadership team: 


William (Bill) Pearson II, CWT
Sr. VP, Business Development

William (Bill) Pearson II, CWT is responsible for expanding SPL’s Legionella services, including training, ASHRAE 188 risk management resources and the ZEROutbreak Affiliate program. Pearson comes with a wealth of experience in industrial water treatment and business development having spent the last 40 years at Southeastern Laboratories, Inc., where he served as executive vice president and director of sales, consulting and technical services since 1989. As a biologist, biochemist, and certified water treatment professional, Pearson brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in professional and trade organizations, in which he specializes in bridging the gap between water treatment and Legionella management programs. He is  an approved instructor for the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)  ALI course on ANSI/ASHRAE 188-2015: Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems. Pearson also serves on the the ASHRAE SSPC-188 (Legionellosis) committee and the Cooling Technology Institute Legionellosis committee.


Jackie Lesjak, BS
Chief Operating Officer

Jackie Lesjak oversees all operations including client services, laboratory services, administers grants and oversees special projects. With more than 12 years experience in culture and identification of Legionella and other waterborne bacteria, Jackie also conducts product evaluation. Jackie has presented findings of a biotech product that used immunomagnetic separation to isolate Legionella from cooling tower water samples at the General Meeting of the American Society of Microbiologists.


Jack Rihs, BS
VP, Laboratory Services

Jack Rihs  is vice president of Laboratory Services where he supervises all aspects of the laboratory and mentors staff and students in Legionella and waterborne pathogens testing and detection. Jack joined SPL after retiring from the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System where served as clinical microbiology supervisor for 26 years. In that role, he provided professional guidance in the areas of diagnostic bacteriology, mycobacteriology, mycology, parasitology and environmental microbiology. Jack was the first to isolate Legionella pneumophila from blood, and is recognized for discovering new and unusual microorganisms as pathogens, and finding new or alternative approaches for the recovery of waterborne pathogens. In addition to authoring 47 papers appearing in numerous peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals, Jack has also written chapters in Antimicrobial Therapy and Vaccines and co-authored chapters on Legionnaires' disease for the Manual of Clinical Microbiology and Laboratory Diagnosis of Bacterial Infections.

Selected publications include:

  • Isolation of Legionella pneumophila from blood using the Bactec: a prospective study yielding positive resultsRihs JD, Yu VL, Zuravleff JJ, Goetz A, Muder RR.  J Clin Microbiol 1985; 22:422‑424.
  • Roseomonas: a new genus associated with bacteremia and other human infections. Rihs JD, Brenner DJ, Weaver RE, Steigerwalt AG, Hollis DG, Yu VL.  J Clin Microbiol 1993; 31:3275-3283

Sue Mietzner, MS
VP, Quality Assurance and Research & Development

Sue Mietzner  is vice president of Quality Assurance and Research & Development. She also serves as the quality manager for the laboratory and is responsible for implementing the quality management system and maintaining accreditation requirements. With nearly 40 years of diverse experience including working in clinical microbiology for 8 years, at an EPA station in Florida, and then for the CDC in the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Laboratory Program, Sue is experienced in performing identifications, antimicrobial susceptibility, tissue culture and immunologic procedures. She has specialized in Legionella detection in water for more than 18 years. In addition to routine testing of samples for Legionella and other bacteria, Sue participates in research studies of culture and non-culture detection methods and is involved in product evaluations of disinfection modalities.

Selected publications include: 

  • Role of environmental surveillance in determining risk for hospital-acquired Legionnaires’ disease: a national survey with clinical correlations. Stout JE, Muder RR, Mietzner S, Wagener MM, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidiol. 2007.
  • Efficacy of thermal treatment and copper-silver ionization for controlling Legionella pneumophila in high-volume, hot-water plumbing systems in hospitals. Mietzner, S.M., Schwille, R.C., Farley, A., Wald, E.R., Ge, J.H., States, S.J., Liebert, T., and Wadowsky, R.M.  1997.   Am. J. Infect. Control. 25: 452-457.

Kevin E. Merritt, MSE
Director, SPL Consulting Services

Kevin E. Merritt, MSE, director of SPL Consulting Services, brings a wealth of experience in project management, team leadership, water management programs, and Legionella control in premise plumbing. Prior to joining SPL, Merritt successfully developed and managed the first potable water program for the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System. This multi-million-dollar project included permitting and compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, administering the VA directive 1061 regarding Legionella control. The latter included implementing Legionella  testing protocols and engineering controls as well as planning and supervising corrective actions. A decorated aviator, Merritt served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves (11 year’s active duty service) retiring after 22 years of dedicated service. Merritt, a member of the American Water Works Association and the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, was the recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, to study the effects of climate warming on glaciers as part of Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS), a project designed to monitor the world's glaciers from optical satellite instruments.

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Janet Horsch, MLS, MFA
VP, Marketing and Communication

Janet Horsch, as vice president of Marketing and Communication, spearheads SPL's strategic communications and outreach efforts, including public relations and crisis communications. With more than 15 years of combined experience in integrated marketing communications, media and public relations, public health and crisis communications, and technology, Janet has held leadership positions in marketing, communications and university relations in higher education and software start-up companies. Her media experience includes national news coverage in Washington, DC, on Capitol Hill, and as a member of the White House press corp, she covered the White House and Presidential trips.