The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) celebrated its annual Dinner of Distinction, an event that recognizes outstanding alumni, friends, and organizations that champion the land-grant mission. This prestigious occasion also serves as a platform to honor individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to advancing communities, the state, nation, and the world through their generosity and expertise. Among this year’s distinguished awardees, Dana Eller, President of MWI Pumps, was named the Volunteer of the Year by the UF/IFAS Advancement Council.
Dana Eller’s remarkable journey with MWI Pumps is a testament to his deep-rooted connection to the company. He fondly reminisces, “The whole factory at MWI that we’re in is full of a lot of memories. I started here when I was eight years old, learning how to run all the different machinery, the name of all the parts.” These cherished memories of family and craftsmanship have been central to his life.
MWI Pumps, a fourth-generation family-owned and operated company founded in 1926, has been instrumental in providing essential water management solutions in South Florida, particularly in flood-prone areas. Dana Eller’s father, David, followed in the footsteps of his ancestors, passing down the values of hard work and dedication to Dana. Dana’s aspiration to emulate his father led him to pursue an agricultural engineering degree, following in his father’s legacy.
A significant source of pride for Dana Eller is his involvement in supporting the construction of a new building for the University of Florida’s Agricultural Engineering Department. He stated, “One of the things I’m proud of being able to do is help support the building program for the new building at the University of Florida Agricultural Engineering Department because it has a lot of memories for myself going there and my dad as well.”
Kati Migliaccio, Chair of the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, praised Dana Eller’s contributions, emphasizing their impact on experiential learning for students. “Dana Eller has supported the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department most recently through his matching gifts on Gator Nation Giving Day. Those contributions are going to a very special purpose, a teaching building to help expand our innovation with our students in experiential learning,” she said.
Eller also shared his perspective on the critical role of investment in students’ education. “One of the things that go into attracting these students and maintaining their standards is the investment and the equipment and the spaces that the students have to spend time, socialize, as well as work on projects. There’s no shortage of projects in the Ag. Engineering Department. And I just think that the space that they’re trying to do and the investments they’re trying to make is going to help encourage the next generation,” he noted.
Volunteers like Dana Eller play a vital role in furthering UF/IFAS’s mission. Their passion and dedication breathe life into initiatives that push the organization into new and innovative directions. For Eller, supporting UF/IFAS is not only a way to honor his father’s memory but also a means of acknowledging the education he received from the University of Florida, which greatly contributed to the success of their family business.
UF/IFAS proudly honors Dana Eller as the Volunteer of the Year, recognizing his unwavering commitment to the land-grant mission and the invaluable contributions he has made to his community, the state, and beyond.
The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is dedicated to advancing knowledge in agriculture, natural resources, and the life sciences while making this knowledge accessible to improve the quality of human life. With programs spanning every county and research centers and Extension offices throughout the state, UF/IFAS is the foremost source for expertise related to agriculture, natural resources, and the life sciences.
About MWI Pumps:
MWI Pumps is a renowned, family-owned manufacturer of high-quality pumps, specializing in solutions for irrigation / agriculture, construction dewatering, sewer bypass, and flood control. Founded in 1926, the company has a rich history of serving South Florida’s water management needs. Dana Eller, the current President of MWI Pumps, continues the tradition of excellence and innovation established by his family.