Water Quality Association member Jeffrey J. Ake, 47, of LaPorte, Ind., was taken hostage in Iraq April 11 where he worked as a contractor at a water treatment facility near Baghdad. His kidnapping was reported by al-Jazeera, the Arabic language broadcast station.

Ake is president and founder of Equipment Express, started in his garage in 1998, according to the WQA. The company created an integrated system that provides water bottles sold in Baghdad, and also constructed a machine to fill containers with edible oil for Iraqi residents.

The White House has said that authorities were monitoring the situation but would not negotiate for Ake's release.

Equipment Express had no comment for the WQA, but the organization and all its members “extend condolences to the family and company and hope for Mr. Ake's speedy release.”