Dr. Mirka Wilderer
Chief Executive Officer
De Nora Water Technologies
Location: Centennial, CO
Industry: Water industry
*Second Year Honoree*
The CEO may be the highest-ranking person in the room most of the time, but it doesn’t mean they have all the answers, Dr. Mirka Wilderer said.
“Most people look at CEOs and think they are in their position because they ‘know it all.’ That’s a myth,” said Wilderer, the CEO of De Nora Water Technologies. “Nobody knows it all. For me to be effective, I don’t need to be the smartest person in the room. I need to be aware of my strengths as a leader and how to use them effectively. In addition, I need to surround myself with a diverse, resourceful team rich in talent. A successful business is not successful because of one person or leader, it is successful because there are many smart people working together toward the same goals.”
As leader of De Nora Water Technologies, Wilderer is well aware of the importance of the company’s work, and it goes far beyond revenues and other data points. Consider: The UN estimates that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living under water-stressed conditions, and one out of nine people worldwide use drinking water from unsafe sources. Water pollution causes globally more than 1.5 million deaths per year and continues to sicken more than 1 billion people annually.
“Given those sobering numbers, it’s past time to accelerate innovation in the water business,” Wilderer said. “It’s time for a shake-up and a wake-up in our conservative, historically risk-averse industry,” she said. “We need to harness our potential to improve the way we address these issues and serve our markets — especially with regards to digital technologies that can provide enhanced value to modern-day customers.”
De Nora Water Technologies had a record-breaking year in 2021, reaching double digit growth in profitability. The company successfully completed two acquisitions, a UV water disinfection business based in Pittsburgh and a chlorine dioxide water disinfection business based in Venice, Italy. Both companies were successfully integrated and exceeded the financial expectations for the year, Wilderer said.
De Nora also pivoted beyond its core business in water to surface disinfection. More than 500 million people use water treated by De Nora technology globally. In 2021, the company received EPA approval for De Nora to produce hard-surface disinfectant to address the challenges of continuously cleaning surfaces in hospitals, senior care facilities, offices, factories, schools and other critical locations.
Wilderer has made DEI a priority at the company and taken time to connect with and mentor female business leaders and entrepreneurs. She was named one of 2021’s Most Admired CEOs by the Philadelphia Business Journal as well as one of 2021’s Top 100 Innovation CEOs by World Biz Magazine.
Wilderer was named a titan for the first time in 2021 as well, which as a recent Colorado resident allowed her to make connections in the region more quickly and learn from other leaders. “I believe peer-to-peer coaching is a unique opportunity to identify blind spots, gain clarity about vision and dreams,” she said.
"A successful business is not successful because of one person or leader, it is successful because there are many smart people working together toward the same goals."