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Cummins CTO John Wall receives California’s premier air quality award

Dr. John Wall, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of diesel engine manufacturer Cummins Inc., is one of the three recipients of the 2014 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards, California’s premier award recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improving air quality.

Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards are given annually to individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions toward improving air quality and climate change science, technology and policy, furthering the protection of public health.

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) cited Dr. Wall for his leadership role in the development and implementation of all the major technology advancements ultimately leading to the near-zero levels of emissions of particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen from engines. The Cummins CTO has consistently taken a proactive environmentally conscious position for the diesel industry throughout his career, ARB said.

The two other recipients are:

  • Dr. Donald Blake, professor of chemistry, University of California Irvine. Dr. Blake has carried out measurements of atmospheric volatile organic compounds that have provided critical insights into their roles in air pollution and climate change. His research has shown how elevated air pollution in some cities, such as Mexico City, can be attributed to propane use and cooking emissions rather than traffic pollution.

  • Dr. Kirk R. Smith, professor of global environmental health, University of California Berkeley. Dr. Smith’s research was critical to the development of a global burden of disease estimate that 4 million people die prematurely from household fuel combustion each year and in helping trigger the first recognition of the importance of air pollution within health ministries.

These three individuals have championed public health with extraordinary contributions to air pollution science, research and technology. The Haagen-Smit Award is our way of honoring these individuals who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to protecting public health throughout their long and distinguished careers.

—ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols

California’s premier air quality award is named for the late Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit—known as the “father” of air pollution science and control. The award recognizes those who continue his legacy through perseverance, leadership and innovation in the areas of research, environmental policy, science and technology, public education and community service. Dr. Haagen-Smit’s breakthrough research, which became the foundation upon which today’s air pollution standards are based, concluded that most of California’s smog is the result of photochemistry—the reaction of sunlight with industrial and motor vehicle exhaust to create ozone. The selection committee is comprised of past award winners.

In light of the global connection between air quality and climate change, the scope of the Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards program is now international, with an added focus on climate change science and mitigation.

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