SIDNEY — Rick Rediske was contemplating a potential summer job before his senior year at Sidney High School when his dad suggested the Sidney Municipal Water Plant.
“It fits your interest in both chemistry and water,” father told son. Rediske applied and was hired. His supervisor had a tie to a University of Michigan professor that would become helpful when he was seeking a graduate school. Little did Rediske know it but his launch was underway toward eventual induction into the Sidney City Schools Hall of Honor.
Richard R. Rediske (SHS 1970) is now a member of the Hall’s class of 2018 along with Raeburn E. Barnes (SHS 1892), Ardiss Willman Luce (SHS 1967), and Mike Herbert (SHS/JVS 1985) to raise membership to 127 over 25 years. The foursome will be inducted in the SHS auditorium at 7pm on Friday, April 20, followed by a gymnasium reception across the hall with both events open to the public.
Rediske was inspired by his overall high school experience including Project 60 college prep, chemistry teacher Mary Leistner, and math mentor Mary Agnes Brandewie (HoH 1994). He gained his initial college degree at Bowling Green followed by a pair of advanced degrees including his doctorate at the University of Michigan. His career began as a chemist working in an environmental lab and he eventually became a supervisor of 200 employees who often worked on the assessment and restoration of hazardous waste accidents and sites. By 1994 he was ready for a major change that would allow for more time at home in a position that didn’t have a rigid corporate profit-driven culture. He took a large pay cut and headed to the academic world at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.
Being in the middle of the Great Lakes region, Rediske seized the opportunity to specialize in the critical piece of the environmental puzzle that happened to be his passion, namely water quality. GVSU’s Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) became his vehicle into a second career phase that has resulted in 49 academic publications, numerous awards and citations, and over $5 million in research grants while experiencing an improved quality in his own home life and opportunities for community service. His current position involves teaching graduate and undergraduate classes, managing environmental research grants, external consulting, and some international travel to work on clean water programs in Haiti and Ghana.
He recently taught a class for the American Water Works Association on toxic algae where he spoke to an Ohio EPA official who underscored that problem by pointing out water supply concerns in one town resulting from algae blooms in Kiser Lake and other tributaries. That town was Rediske’s hometown of Sidney where he’d spent a valuable summer with the water department almost 50 years earlier.
Google “Dr. Richard Rediske water” to see the amazing scope of his work. He’s married to the former Diana Lynn Cargill (SHS 1973), and they have two adult children. TheRediskes reside in Allendale, Michigan.
Rediske becomes the fifth member of the 1970 graduating class to be elected to the Hall of Honor which is the highest recognition bestowed by the Sidney City Schools. Besides Rediske and his nominator Susan L. Russell (HoH 2017), the group includes Retired Lt. Col. Lloyd E. Lutz Jr. (1995), William Hudson Jr. (1996), and Kevin Stayton (2011).