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2017 Speakers

Newsha Ajami

Director of Urban Water Policy
Stanford University

Newsha K. Ajami is the director of Urban Water Policy with Stanford University’s Water in the West program. She specializes in sustainable water resource management, water policy, innovation and financing, and the water-energy-food nexus. Her research throughout the years has been interdisciplinary and impact driven, focusing on the improvement of the science-policy-stakeholder interface by incorporating social and economic measures and effective communication.

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Dr. Ajami is a gubernatorial appointee to the Bay Area Regional Water Quality Control Board. Before joining Stanford, she worked as a senior research associate at the Pacific Institute, and served as a Science and Technology fellow at the California State Senate’s Natural Resources and Water Committee, where she worked on various water- and energy-related legislation. She has published many highly cited peer-reviewed articles, coauthored two books, and contributed opinion pieces to the New York Times and the Sacramento Bee.

Dr. Ajami was the recipient of the 2005 National Science Foundation award for AMS Science and Policy Colloquium and ICSC-World Laboratory Hydrologic Science and Water Resources Fellowship from 2000 to 2003. She received her PhD in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Irvine and an MS in hydrology and water resources from the University of Arizona.


Susan Ancel

Director of Water Distribution and Transmission
EPCOR Water Services, Inc.

Susan Ancel is the director of water distribution and transmission for EPCOR Water Services, Inc. (EWSI) in Edmonton. Her group is responsible for the planning, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of the water distribution and metering systems owned and operated by EWSI in Edmonton, serving a population base of one million residents. Her group is also responsible for the development of the GIS systems within the utility and provides analytical support in consumption and revenue forecasting for the overall utility.

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Susan, a mechanical engineer, has been with the utility since 1992. She is also the past chair of the AWWA Engineering Computer Applications Committee and served on the board of directors for the Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA) from 2001 to 2007 and in 2011, and served as president of GITA in 2006.


Susheel Arora

Director of Wastewater and Stormwater Services
Halifax Water

Susheel Arora, MASc, P.Eng, is the director of wastewater & stormwater services for Halifax Water, where he is responsible for the overall operations of wastewater collection, treatment and biosolids management for the region. He leads several strategic programs, including wet weather management, biosolids management, treatment plant optimization, operations maintenance management and national benchmarking. As a senior utility executive, Susheel also actively participates in other utility initiatives such as integrated resource planning, IT master planning, rate making, asset management and capital planning.

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Susheel is an active member of Engineers Nova Scotia and has two master’s degrees; one in environmental engineering and the other in applied sciences. He is also a graduate of the general management program from Harvard Business School.

Susheel has been involved in water and wastewater treatment for over 20 years. He is a member of Water Environment Federation, American Water Works Association and the International Water Association. He has also actively participated in various committees and expert panels at a national level, including InfraGuide Best Practices for Wastewater Treatment Plant Optimization.

Susheel strives for effective and sustainable management of wastewater and biosolids in an environmentally friendly manner.


Cathy Bernardino Bailey

Greater Cincinnati Water Works

Cathy B. Bailey is director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works, a utility that serves high quality drinking water to over 1.1 million residents in the Greater Cincinnati region and employs 600 professionals. Greater Cincinnati Water Works has an annual operating budget of $80 million and has invested $487 million in capital improvements in the last 10 years, with a key focus each year on replacing 1% of water mains in the system. The utility is known for innovation and creativity in the water utility industry, and received a platinum award for utility excellence in 2011 from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies.

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In 1992, Ms. Bailey transitioned from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Greater Cincinnati Water Works as a chemist in the water quality and treatment division, working in the granular activated carbon facility. Ms. Bailey’s early days also involved working on special projects such as the lead and copper rule implementation team and executing new IT solutions within the laboratories and the division. Significant roles in the organization over the years have allowed Ms. Bailey to establish key IT service desk solutions, develop and implement multiple strategic business plans, establish performance metrics for work units, lead the water district research and development efforts, and streamline operations within the utilities during the joint utility era.

Ms. Bailey was named director in September, 2015 and is the first female director of the water utility. In her short span as director, she quickly led the utility out of the joint utility structure back into an independent water utility. She has implemented a robust lead testing and outreach program that helps residents, city facilities, schools, daycares and other key groups fully understand their water quality within their facilities.

She successfully led the way to City Council approval of a 15-year enhanced lead program to remove the remaining lead service lines in the water system. She also worked with City leaders to re-establish the appropriate capital program to properly maintain the water utility infrastructure, resulting in a newly established, $500 million 6-year capital plan. In addition to this, in an unprecedented vote for the City of Cincinnati, Ms. Bailey worked to restructure the debt, amend the budget and presented and received approval for multi-year rate increases (5 years) by City Council.

Ms. Bailey remains passionate about strategic planning, performance metrics and data analytics. She continues to serve as a national and local speaker on water issues, particularly strategic planning, employee engagement, optimizing operations and recently on lead issues and solutions in Cincinnati.

Ms. Bailey has a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. She lives in the City of Cincinnati with her husband, has two adult children, and is active in the public school system, her church and other organizations in the community.


Christine Boyle

Founder and CEO
Valor Water Analytics

Christine Boyle is the founder and CEO of Valor Water Analytics. Her work at Valor Water focuses on developing decision support software that achieves both resource and financial sustainability goals for utilities.

Dr. Boyle is currently the chair of the Cal-Nevada American Water Works Association Financial Management Committee and a water policy advisor for the World Bank. She received her doctorate in water resource planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011.

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In her free time, she enjoys traveling to new islands, playing tennis, reading historic literature and playing with her nieces.


Roy Brouwer

Professor, Economics, University of Waterloo
Executive Director, The Water Institute

Roy Brouwer is a professor of economics and the executive director of The Water Institute at the University of Waterloo since 2016. Previously, he was a professor and the chair of environmental economics at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam for almost 10 years. Roy also worked for several years for the Dutch Water Ministry on the economics of climate change and climate proofing the Netherlands in its Space for Water program. In addition to carrying out cost-benefit analyses of major flood control policies in the Netherlands, he also worked on the design of flood insurance in flood-prone developing countries such as Bangladesh (Ganges), Pakistan (Indus) and Vietnam (Mekong).

Michelle Brownlee

Director of Policy
Smart Prosperity Institute

Michelle Brownlee has been with Smart Prosperity Institute (previously Sustainable Prosperity) since 2013. Immediately before joining SPI, Michelle taught Economics at Mount Royal University in Calgary. Prior to that, she spent over 10 years in the federal government advising senior decision makers on energy, resource and climate change policy and programs, mostly at Natural Resources Canada and the Privy Council Office.

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Michelle holds degrees in Economics from Mount Allison University and Queens University and has published peer-reviewed journal articles on climate change. She is a lifelong believer that individual consumer and voter actions make a meaningful difference.


Bernadette Conant

Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Water Network

Bernadette is the Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Water Network and a trusted broker of water knowledge. Together with her team, she works to improve the application of water research to decisions for water management. Five years ago, she founded the Canadian Municipal Water Consortium, whose members collaborate on critical water, wastewater and stormwater challenges. The Consortium includes leaders from progressive municipalities, as well as industry and academic partners.

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Bernadette serves as a director on the boards of the Global Water Research Coalition, Hydrogeologists without Borders and the Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network. She also sits on the Honorary Advisory Board for the Global Water Institute at Carleton University and is a member of the Water Partner Advisory Committee to the Water Stewardship Council of the Council of the Federation. Bernadette holds an MSc in Hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo.


Debra Coy

XPV Water Partners

Debra Coy is a partner with XPV Water Partners, the largest water-focused growth equity fund in North America, where her primary responsibility is managing the firm’s external strategic relationships. She has been an advisor to XPV since 2010 and joined the firm full-time as partner in 2015.
From 2010 to 2015, she was a principal with Svanda & Coy Consulting, providing strategic advisory services for water sector investors, corporations and municipal utilities from a capital markets perspective. She was also non-executive director for Headworks International Inc., a wastewater treatment technology firm, from 2013 until 2016.

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Previously, Debra worked on Wall Street as an equity research analyst for more than 20 years, developing a unique leadership franchise and expertise in covering the global water sector for investors. She was managing director for Janney Montgomery Scott’s Capital Markets group, and also held senior equity research roles with the Stanford Washington Research Group, Schwab Capital Markets, HSBC Securities and National Westminster Bank.

Debra was named a Financial Times/Starmine “Best Brokerage Analyst” in 2008 and 2009 and a Forbes “Best Brokerage Analyst” in 2010 for water utilities coverage. She was responsible for running the leading water conference on Wall Street for more than a decade and helped launch and co-organize Global Water Intelligence’s American Water Summit in 2010-2013.

Debra is a frequent speaker at industry events, has appeared on CNBC and other investment broadcasts, and is a regular columnist on water finance and policy matters for Global Water Intelligence. She has testified on Capitol Hill on water infrastructure financing, and previously served as co-chair of the Water Environment Federation’s Global Water Strategies Council. Debra has also participated in national dialogues on water policy hosted by leading think tanks such as the Aspen Institute. She received an MA in Journalism from the University of Maryland.


Nicola Crawhall

Westbrook Public Affairs

Nicola Crawhall is principal of Westbrook Public Affairs, a consultancy offering government relations, policy and project management services primarily to local government. She is the past deputy director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a coalition of 125 municipalities representing 17 million people in Canada and the U.S.  Nicola has also served as a senior advisor to the Ontario Minister of the Environment, where she was responsible for the delivery of The Clean Water Act to protect sources of drinking water.

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Nicola has also served as senior environmental policy advisor for the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, where she led their participation in Part II of the Walkerton contaminated water public inquiry. Nicola holds a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Toronto and a masters of philosophy in development studies from the Institute of Development Studies in the UK.


Kealy Dedman

General Manager
Engineering & Capital Infrastructure, 
City of Guelph

Kealy Dedman leads dynamic teams and significant projects that create sustainable infrastructure for communities. With over 20 years of professional experience, Kealy’s career includes a progression of increasingly visible leadership roles in engineering and infrastructure excellence at public agencies. Kealy is currently the general manager of engineering and capital infrastructure with the City of Guelph, where she oversees the management of corporate assets from planning through construction, transportation services, and development and environmental engineering.  A champion of innovation, she has led several initiatives focused on addressing the city’s infrastructure funding gap.

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As a passionate advocate for municipal infrastructure investment, Kealy served as president of the Canadian Public Works Association from 2014 -2016 and is a past president of the Ontario Public Works Association (2011).  She has also been a member of several federal stakeholder groups to inform infrastructure-related government policy matters, including the Municipal Infrastructure Forum and the Canadian Report Card Advisory Committee.

Kealy holds Bachelor of Science degrees in both civil Engineering and biology from Queen’s University, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario.  She is a registered Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario.


Lou Di Gironimo

General Manager
Toronto Water

Lou Di Gironimo is general manager of Toronto Water, a division of the City of Toronto. The division serves 3.4 million residents and businesses in Toronto and portions of York and Peel, and has more than $28.2 billion in infrastructure. Under Lou’s leadership, 1 700 staff focus on providing quality water services —  supplying drinking water, treating wastewater and managing stormwater — essential for protecting public health, property and the environment.

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Lou has a diverse background in both the private and public sectors at the municipal and provincial levels of government. Some of the organizations he has been associated with include the City of Hamilton, Ontario Clean Water Agency and the Ontario Development Corporation. He has also worked for private engineering and land development companies. During his career, Lou has had extensive experience managing municipal infrastructure and urban development issues.


Monica Emelko

Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Waterloo

Monica Emelko is an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Waterloo. Her research interests are focused on drinking water supply and treatment, particularly as related to sustainable technology design and optimization, risk analysis, integrated resource management, climate change impacts on water, groundwater under the influence of surface water and quantitative microbial risk assessment. Dr. Emelko is the co-principal investigator of the Southern Rockies Watershed Project, which focuses on evaluating the effects of wildfire and forest harvesting disturbance on hydrology, water quality, aquatic ecology and treatability.

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Her ongoing work involves active participation from over a dozen utilities and conservation authorities. She has advised federal and provincial/state agencies in Canada, the United States and Australia on drinking water treatment, source water protection and integrated resource management policy. She is the lead author of the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change revisions to the Terms of Reference on groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI). In 2014, the Southern Rockies Watershed Project team was awarded an Alberta Emerald Foundation Award and the Canadian Council of the Federation Excellence in Water Stewardship Award — this is the highest environmental honour of its kind given out by the Canadian government.


Arash Farajian

Business Operations Consultant
Distribution and Collection Section, Toronto Water

Arash Farajian is the business operations consultant to the director of the Distribution and Collection Section within Toronto Water, a division of the City of Toronto. This section inspects, maintains, operates and rehabilitates the water distribution, wastewater collection system and storm water management facilities across the City of Toronto.

Arash is responsible for providing senior management with advice and support related to strategic planning, customer service improvements, emergency management planning and technology investments in the areas of GIS and water/wastewater system management and monitoring.

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Arash has played a key role in leading Toronto Water’s responses to numerous emergency related weather events, including city-wide basement flooding in 2013 and frozen services in 2015 that resulted in over 5000 service requests. Utilizing the information gathered during these two events, Arash was instrumental in re-establishing the emergency management plan and the development of a temporary water protocol.

He has also led ambitious initiatives to gather real-time operational data using remote sensors in existing water services. The use real-time data and existing and emerging GIS technologies will allow Toronto Water to plan work more strategically and efficiently by utilizing a geometric network for better incident management handling going forward.


Michael Fenn

President, Fenn Advisory Services Inc.
Senior Advisor, StrategyCorp

Over the course of an extensive career in public service, Michael Fenn has been an Ontario Deputy Minister under three Premiers, municipal chief administrator in Hamilton and Burlington, and the founding CEO of both Toronto/Hamilton region transportation authority Metrolinx and regional health authority Mississauga Halton LHIN (serving over a million residents).

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Michael is a management consultant specializing in the public sector and healthcare services delivery. He is president of Fenn Advisory Services Inc. and a senior advisor with the consulting firm StrategyCorp. He is also a board director with both the C$78+ billion OMERS AC pension fund and the Toronto Board of Education’s realty arm, the Toronto Lands Corporation. He is a certified board director, having attained the C.Dir. designation in 2014.

His recent major research publications have addressed ‘megatrends’ and the future of Canada’s infrastructure; creative approaches to infrastructure finance; municipal asset management; and municipal government “at an inflection point.”  In 2016, with Professor Harry Kitchen, he co-­authored a research report on water, wastewater and stormwater policy in Ontario, ”Bringing sustainability to Ontario’s water systems: A quarter-­‐century of progress, with much left to do.”

Michael’s career achievements have been acknowledged by a number of professional awards, including the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Distinction in Public Administration for Ontario, and the highest award for career achievement from Ontario’s two largest municipal administrators’ associations, the AMCTO’s Prestige Award and the OMAA’s Robert Baldwin Award. In 2010, he was one of two Ontarians added to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s Honour Roll. Michael’s municipal management career was recently profiled with a chapter in the book, Leaders in the Shadows: The Leadership Qualities of Municipal Chief Administrative Officers, by Professor David Siegel.


Peter Gallant

President and CEO

Peter Gallant is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in the global water technology sector. As the founding president and CEO of Pathogen Detection Systems Inc., he led the development of a novel automated microbial detection system. In 2009, the company was acquired by Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies and became ENDETEC, the global water quality sensor platform for Veolia Water. Dr. Gallant served as vice president of business development and regulatory affairs at ENDETEC until 2015, leading the team that secured the first-ever U.S. EPA approval for an automated microbiological testing system for regulatory compliance testing of drinking water samples under the Total Coliform Rule.

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Over his career, Dr. Gallant founded and led a start-up in the software industry and served in several advisory roles for government agencies and start-up companies. He has authored or co-authored numerous technical publications, is a co-inventor on several patents on innovative water quality sensor technologies, and is a frequent speaker at industry events worldwide. He currently serves as co-chair of the steering committee of the American Water Works Association’s committee on barriers to innovation in the water sector, and is also an adjunct faculty member at Queen’s School of Business, where he lectures on entrepreneurship, strategy, innovation and new venture finance at the undergraduate and MBA level. Dr. Gallant holds a BSc, MSc and PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Queen’s University.

Prior to joining the WaterTAP management team, Dr. Gallant served as a director of WaterTAP from its inception until March 2015, and recently as vice chair of the board. Previously, he was appointed by the provincial government to serve on the Ontario Council on University Affairs.


Linda Gowman

Chief Technology Officer
Trojan Technologies

Linda Gowman, PhD, P.Eng, is chief technology officer at Trojan Technologies in London, Ontario. She has degrees in engineering (University of Toronto) and biophysics (University of Western Ontario). Linda has been with Trojan in various senior roles leading research and engineering, including vice-president of science and technology and vice-president of research. Her teams have been engaged in developing product innovations that have won numerous international awards in the water and wastewater treatment sectors.

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Linda enjoys the challenges and opportunities of bringing internal and external cross-functional teams together to provide innovative solutions to issues related to water, and believes that bringing people together with diversity in experience and approaches leads to the best outcomes. She participates in various water-related organizations, and has participated on the board of several, including Canadian Water Network.

Trojan is the recognized leader in ultraviolet light treatment of water, with the world’s largest installed base of municipal UV sites, in more than 80 countries.  Trojan has more recently diversified into new product offerings for several applications, including water, wastewater and ballast water treatment; ultrapurification of water for manufacturing; filtration; and solids separation.


Robert Haller

Executive Director
Canadian Water and Wastewater Association

Robert Haller is the executive director of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, a role he took on after almost 20 years as a senior municipal administrator – most of those years serving as a CAO for small- and medium-sized communities.

Robert leads the CWWA as the national voice for water and wastewater in Ottawa. Most recently, he served as a municipal advisor for the RBC Public Attitudes Survey and the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card. He has also been actively working with water associations across Canada to submit comments to the federal government on its Infrastructure Plan.

Alexander (Alec) H. Hay

Risk, Resilience & Security Planner;
Founding Principal, Southern Harbour

Founding principal of Southern Harbour, based in Toronto, Alec Hay was previously the resilience and security leader at DIALOG, before which he served 25 years in the British Royal Engineers. He specialized over the last 20 years in fortifications and infrastructure development, which he practiced around the World, from the High Arctic to South Atlantic, Europe to Central Asia and much in between. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Resilience of Critical Infrastructure, where he focuses on operational resilience of communities and infrastructure systems. Author of numerous books and papers, he is a director of Rethink Sustainability Initiative, chair of the BOMA Toronto climate change resilience committee, and the international secretary of the Register of Security Engineers and Specialists.

Maureen M. Holman

Sustainability Chief
DC Water and Sewer Authority

Maureen M. Holman, Esq., is sustainability chief for DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water), where she provides expert leadership, guidance, coordination and oversight for planning and implementing vital policies and procedures that promote sustainability and resiliency within DC Water’s operations. She is an expert adviser to the CEO and executive staff and provides recommendations and analysis regarding emerging issues affecting sustainability, resiliency, climate change and environmental compliance. Maureen leads and manages an authority-wide sustainability program by coordinating operations, research and innovations across staff and contractors. Additionally, she provides support in the development and implementation of energy and natural resource conservation projects, including energy redundancy and green building design.

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Maureen represents DC Water on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Chesapeake Bay Water Resources Policy Committee, MWCOG Climate, Energy, and Environmental Policy Committee, MWCOG Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership Steering Committee, DC Green Building Advisory Council and the DC Urban Forestry Advisory Committee.

Prior to joining DC Water, Maureen served as interim director of the District Department of Energy and the Environment and as a program analyst in the DC Office of the City Administrator. She has also worked as an animal keeper and educator at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

Maureen holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Southern California, a juris doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law, and a graduate environmental ethics certificate from the UGA College of Environment and Design.


Tom Kaszas

Environmental Innovations Branch, Environmental Programs Division
Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

As director of the Environmental Innovations Branch, Tom Kaszas, P.Eng, leads a wide variety of initiatives that bridge the gap between regulatory policy development and field implementation. Projects include the development and implementation of programs, new regulations and pilot projects designed to test regulatory concepts and approaches, as well as projects supporting the implementation and deployment of innovative environmental technologies in Ontario.

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Tom joined  the Ministry from McCain Foods, where he was director of Global Environmental Sustainability. He was responsible for developing and implementing McCain’s environmental sustainability strategy, as well as the day to day environmental management of the company’s 50 facilities in 18 countries.

Tom has broad experience and significant technical expertise in the areas of energy and water management, green energy, wastewater treatment and recycling across a wide variety of industries. He is known for his ability to work across organizations and with internal and external stakeholders on a wide variety of environmental projects to develop and achieve mutually beneficial goals and objectives.

Tom holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chemical Engineering) from the University of Ottawa and is a licensed member of Professional Engineers Ontario.


Mark Knight

Executive Director
Centre for the Advancement of Trenchless Technologies

Mark Knight started his journey into municipal water linear infrastructure condition assessment, renewal, renovation and construction using trenchless construction methods in 1997, when he joined the University of Waterloo as a professor in civil and environmental engineering. For the past 16 years he has been the executive director for the Centre for the Advancement of Trenchless Technologies (CATT), also located at the University of Waterloo.

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With his team, which consists of fellow colleagues and talented graduate students, his research focus has been, and continues to be, working with municipalities to solve their aging and deteriorating water infrastructure problems by making sure that research can be translated into best practices. The Centre’s research includes the development of new innovative water renovation methods, industry standards, improved design methods, and new tools for water infrastructure asset management. The research is funded by municipalities, Water Research Foundation, National Science Engineering Research Council, Ontario Centre of Excellence and industry product suppliers. Mark is also a member of the World Bank’s water expert Team and a member of a large Australian Water research grant.


Bu Lam

Manager of Municipal Programs
Canadian Water Network

Bu joined Canadian Water Network in May 2015. He is responsible for the ongoing development, management and implementation of Canadian Water Network’s municipal water programs, including the Canadian Municipal Water Consortium. He oversees the development and management of research programs and activities that collectively support and advance solutions for managing, regulating and supporting municipal drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems.

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Previously, Bu was the director of community infrastructure for the Department of Community and Government Services with the Government of Nunavut. He has an extensive and broad municipal background, including the initiation and delivery of municipal capital programs and community sustainability planning. He led the planning and implementation of water treatment and distribution systems and wastewater systems in Nunavut, and established research initiatives that have supported the ongoing refinement of northern wastewater standards.

Bu holds a PhD in environmental chemistry from the University of Toronto and an Honours Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Bishop’s University.


Erin Mahoney

Commissioner of Environmental Services
York Region

Erin Mahoney is commissioner of environmental services for York Region, overseeing water and wastewater services, waste management, forestry and corporate energy for almost 1.2 million residents and 28,000 businesses. Erin is a board member of the Water Technology Acceleration Project (WaterTAP) and past chair of the Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario. She has over 25 years of public and private sector experience on projects involving water and wastewater treatment, environmental legislation and public engagement. As an active member of the public works community she holds memberships with American Water Works Association, Toronto Board of Trade, Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the American Public Works Association.

Nevin McKeown

President and Chief Executive Officer (Acting)
Vice President, Operations
Ontario Clean Water Agency

Nevin McKeown has been with Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) since its inception in 1993 and has been with the Ontario Public Service for more than 25 years. He began his career in the operations group in the South Peel Facilities and held progressively responsible management and oversight positions with OCWA, including Regional Manager, prior to assuming his current role as vice president of operations in 2015.

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Nevin has led a number of diverse teams and initiatives throughout his career, including the operational integration of $350 million in capital expansion projects at the Peel wastewater facilities. He is a long-time member of the Water Environment Association of Ontario and the Ontario Water Works Association.  He holds an Operating Engineer Certificate (Second Class) and a Class Four Wastewater Treatment Certificate.


Luis Montestruque

President and CTO
EmNet, LLC.

Luis Montestruque is the president and chief technology officer of EmNet, LLC. Luis has a PhD in control systems theory from the electrical engineering department at the University of Notre Dame. He founded EmNet in 2004 to focus on the application of the internet of things, big data and artificial intelligence to dynamically manage the hydraulic performance of stormwater and wastewater sewers. Its first pilot in South Bend, Indiana deployed a wireless sensor network of over 150 sensors, making it the most densely monitored sewer system in the United States. The South Bend project eliminated over a billion gallons of combined sewer overflows per year and decreased E.coli concentrations by half in the Saint Joseph River. Since then, Luis has led the design and implementation of smart sewer systems in over 20 cities across the U.S.

Chantal Morissette

Directrice du Service de l’eau
Ville de Montréal

Chantal Morissette has been the head of City of Montreal’s Water Services since 2011. She manages some $30 billion worth of assets related to drinking water production and distribution for 2 million people, as well as wastewater treatment and storm water management. In recent years, Ms. Morissette’s focus has been on the continuous improvement of operations and maintenance activities, as well as on increasing investment in water infrastructure in order to ensure a sustainable service for future generations.

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Water Services operates on various sites of the island of Montreal, with six drinking water treatment plants and a major wastewater treatment plant, said to be the 3rd largest in the world. Montreal’s three main drinking water plants have recently been upgraded with the addition of UV and ozone disinfection. Ozone disinfection is also being added to the wastewater treatment plant’s operations. Due to size of this plant, the main challenge – and probably a world’s first, is to go about upgrading the systems while maintaining full-time operations.

Ms. Morissette has been in the water business for 22 years, mostly in the municipal sector. Her career began at École Polytechnique de Montréal, then continued at the city of Laval as a water quality improvement program consultant and subsequently manager of distribution system operations. She spent the last 10 years working for the City of Montreal, initially to set up a new business unit responsible for water and wastewater distribution systems. Maintenance and investment programs have more than doubled during her term.

Chantal holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from McGill University and a master of applied science from École Polytechnique de Montréal. She also holds certification as a board of directors administrator from Collège des administrateurs des sociétés and Laval University. She was a board member of the American Water Works Association and currently sits on the board of directors of CERIU (Centre d’expertise et de recherche en infrastructures urbaines).

Chantal Morissette est la directrice du Service de l’eau de la Ville de Montréal depuis 2011. Elle gère des actifs de près de 30 milliards $ liés à la production et la distribution d’eau potable pour environ 2 millions de personnes, ainsi que la gestion et le traitement des eaux usées et pluviales. Au cours des dernières années, son accent a été mis sur l’amélioration continue des opérations et des activités de maintenance, ainsi que sur l’augmentation des investissements dans les infrastructures d’eau afin d’assurer un service durable pour les générations futures.

Le service fonctionne sur différents sites de l’île de Montréal, avec notamment six usines de traitement d’eau potable, et une station de traitement des eaux usées, parmi la plus grande dans le monde. Récemment, trois principales usines d’eau potable de Montréal ont été modernisées par l’ajout de procédés de désinfection par UV et à l’ozone. La désinfection à l’ozone est également en cours d’installation à la station de traitement des eaux usées. En raison de la taille de la station, cela représente tout un défi et probablement une première mondiale car il faut maintenir toutes les opérations de traitement à temps plein tout en effectuant ces travaux d’amélioration.

Chantal Morissette travaille dans le secteur de l’eau depuis 22 ans, principalement dans le domaine municipal. Sa carrière a débuté à l’École Polytechnique de Montréal ; elle s’est poursuivie à la Ville de Laval, en tant que responsable du programme d’amélioration de la qualité de l’eau et puis comme superviseure aux opérations du réseau de distribution. Depuis les 10 dernières années elle travaille pour la Ville de Montréal. Elle a mis en place une nouvelle unité responsable de la gestion des réseaux d’eau potable et d’eaux usées. Les programmes d’entretien et d’investissement ont plus que doublé au cours de son mandat.

Chantal Morissette est titulaire d’un baccalauréat en biochimie de l’Université Mc Gill et d’une maîtrise en sciences appliquées de l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. Elle détient également une certification universitaire en gouvernance des sociétés au Collège des administrateurs des sociétés de l’Université Laval.
Elle est impliquée dans diverses associations, notamment comme membre du conseil de l’American Water Works Association, et elle siège actuellement au conseil d’administration du CERIU (Centre d’expertise et de recherche en infrastructures urbaines).



The Honourable Glen Murray 

Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

Glen Murray has had a lifetime of activism in urban planning, sustainable development and community health, and is a founding member of the Canadian AIDS Society.  Murray served as mayor of Winnipeg from 1998 to 2004.  He has also served as a Visiting Fellow at the Faculty of Architecture and Landscape Design at the University of Toronto, was appointed Chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in 2005, and was named president and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute in 2007.  Murray was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2010, and currently serves as Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

Scott Potter

Director of Metro Water Services
Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County

Scott Potter is the director of Metro Water Services in Nashville, Tennessee. Metro Water Services produces an average of 100 million gallons of drinking water and collects and processes 166 million gallons of wastewater each day.  The utility is also responsible for stormwater and watershed management for Nashville and Davidson County.

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Scott served for 12 years in the United States Navy as a surface warfare officer. While stationed at the United States Naval Academy he served as a master instructor, teaching courses in statics, materials science, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. He was an adjunct member of the faculty at the University of Louisville teaching solid mechanics and thermodynamics, and has taught water and wastewater policy at Vanderbilt University.

Scott is currently an adjunct instructor of mathematics at Belmont University. He is a member of Vanderbilt University’s mechanical engineering department’s external advisory committee and is president of the Board of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies.  Scott is also on the board of the Water Research Foundation.

Scott graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Engineering in electrical engineering and earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia.


Kishia Powell

Commissioner of Watershed Management
City of Atlanta

Kishia L. Powell was appointed commissioner of the City of Atlanta’s department of watershed management by Mayor Kasim Reed in June 2016. She possesses more than 19 years of experience in sustainable infrastructure management and utility operations.  As Commissioner, she is responsible for oversight of the department’s $546M annual operating budget, a five-year capital improvement plan of $1.2B including the Water Supply Program, and the Clean Water Atlanta consent decree program.  Since her appointment she has worked to set the strategic direction of watershed management, with a focus on improving service delivery to 1.8 million customers, workforce development and infrastructure investment.

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Prior to joining the City of Atlanta, Commissioner Powell served as the public works director for the City of Jackson, Mississippi, where she was responsible for developing a program strategy and master plan for Jackson’s municipal special sales tax-funded infrastructure improvements program, including the Greening the Gateways initiative, which led to the City’s award of a $16.5M TIGER Grant in October 2015.  Most notably, Powell developed revenue recovery strategies for the water and sewer enterprise and developed a plan to tackle water theft, resulting in the elimination of more than 1,700 illegal water connections.

Commissioner Powell has held a number of leadership positions in cities across the United States including Gary, Indiana; Richmond, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland. She also served as lead engineer on a major wastewater infrastructure program in London, England. Previously, she served as bureau head for the City of Baltimore’s regional water and wastewater utility.

Commissioner Powell holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Morgan State University.



John Presta

Director of Environmental Services
Regional Municipality of Durham

John Presta, P.Eng, MPA, is the director of environmental services for the Regional Municipality of Durham, where he is responsible for water supply and sanitary sewerage services. This includes 25 systems and a service population of over 600,000. The value of the Durham’s water and sanitary sewerage assets is currently $8.1 billion.  John is responsible for an operating budget of $118 million and a capital budget of $135 million. He leads a branch staff of 330, and has been on the senior management team for over 13 years.

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John is a fellow of Engineers Canada and has served as chair of the Professional Engineers of Ontario-Lake Ontario Chapter. He is currently vice-president of the Water Environment Association of Ontario for 2016. John has been a practicing professional engineer for over 25 years in municipal and water engineering, and has worked in both consulting and municipal government.


Ted Robbins

General Manager, Integrated Water Services
Capital Regional District

Capital Regional District (CRD) is the regional government for 13 municipalities and three electoral areas, centered around the greater Victoria area on southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Ted Robbins is the general manager of Integrated Water Services at the CRD. The department is responsible for the delivery of 22 water and wastewater utility services, which include larger regional services and smaller local services in the outlying electoral areas. Under Ted’s leadership, the Integrated Water Services team provides water and wastewater system operation and maintenance, infrastructure planning, engineering and capital project delivery, and management of 20,000 hectares of protected watershed lands for the region.

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Ted has over 20 years of experience in the water and wastewater engineering and operations sectors in both private and local government organizations. He holds a Bachelor of Science in geography and is registered with the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia. Ted is currently the BC Director on the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association Board and is a member of Canadian Water Network’s Municipal Water Consortium Leadership Group.


Atif Sheikh

Senior Managing Consultant and EAM Strategy Lead
IBM Canada

Atif Sheikh is an enterprise asset management (EAM) practitioner and leader who possesses a unique combination of plant maintenance leadership experience in petrochemical environments, functional expertise in information technology-based EAM platforms like Maximo, and management insight into physical asset management principles and practices.

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Atif holds a BSc in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in management sciences. He also holds certification in asset management from The Institute in Asset Management.  Atif currently works as a Senior Managing Consultant and EAM Strategy Lead in IBM Canada’s Global Business Solutions Division.

Atif lives with his wife and three sons in Calgary. His interests include travelling, history and photography.


Rob Spackman

Director of Water Resources
City of Calgary

Rob Spackman has been the director of water resources for the City of Calgary since January 2013 and has been with the City’s integrated water, wastewater and stormwater utility for almost 10 years. He has 25 years of experience in the water industry, including 15 years with consulting engineers in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. As director of water resources, Rob is responsible for customer strategy and billing, employee engagement and development, financial sustainability, water resource management, asset management, and capital improvement planning and delivery for the City’s integrated water, wastewater and stormwater utility.

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His focus is to prepare the City’s water utilities for the future, whether due to evolving customer expectations, a changing workforce, economic cycles or extreme weather. Rob played a key role in leading the City of Calgary’s response to the 2013 flood, and subsequent recovery and flood mitigation planning. He is currently co-chair of the Province of Alberta’s Bow River Advisory Committee, advising the Minister of Environment and Parks on the development of a strategy to reduce flood damage and improve water supply management, while protecting the long term health of the Bow River watershed, the most densely populated watershed in Alberta.


Jason Speers

Director, Information and Information Technology
Ontario Clean Water Agency

Jason Speers is the director of information and information technology at the Ontario Clean Water Agency. He has contributed to and led a number of strategic projects, predominantly for water, wastewater and solid waste service providers in Ontario.

Jason has experience developing strategic plans, information architecture and models, performance management programs, business transformation, and in applying principles of asset management and life cycle analysis. His current focus is on assisting water and wastewater utilities navigate the evolving realm of information technology/operations technology information, strategy and solutions.

Jason has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from York University.

Peter Steblin

City Manager
City of Coquitlam

Peter Steblin received his degree in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1977 and attained his Professional Engineer’s designation in 1979.

Mr. Steblin joined the City of Coquitlam in February 2008 as the City Manager and oversees the broad requirements of the organization.  Mr. Steblin is responsible for the execution of Council’s decisions and the work of City departments comprised of more than 1200 employees with a total Capital and Operating budget of over $300 million.

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Prior to joining Coquitlam, Mr. Steblin was the General Manager of Environmental Services & City Engineer for the Corporation of the City of London from December 2002 until February 2008.  He was responsible for the overall planning, organizing and administration of 21 divisions of the Department comprised of more than 800 staff with total Capital and Operating budgets of over $300 million.  Mr. Steblin was also the Chief Administrative Officer for the Joint Boards of Management for the Elgin Area Primary Water Supply System and the Lake Huron Water Supply System.

Mr. Steblin’s municipal government experience is complemented by his experience in the private sector as a consultant specializing in management and engineering services.  With over 30 years of progressively responsible management experience in Municipal Government, Mr. Steblin began his career with the City of Vancouver where he remained until 1995.  He then joined the City of Delta as Director of Engineering and was later promoted to Chief Administrative Officer.  He was also a member of Connaught Toastmasters in the early 1980’s and a long-time supporter of Toastmasters.


David Szeptycki

David Szeptycki

Director of Strategy and Innovation
Regional Municipality of York

David Szeptycki is the director of strategy and innovation, and provides strategic policy advice on a broad range of issues within York Region’s environmental services department. David leads cross-functional teams that focus on regulatory compliance, continuous improvement, policy and energy conservation. He oversees a number of innovation projects that include data analytics and water reuse. David regularly engages with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Infrastructure, neighbouring regional governments and local municipalities to advance municipal government priorities.

John F. Thompson

Director of Environmental Services
City of Barrie

John Thompson attained his degree in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo, and has practised as a professional engineer for 37 plus years. He is the director of environmental services for the City of Barrie and is responsible for the municipality’s drinking water and wastewater systems, solid waste and environmental compliance.

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As a professional engineer, certified municipal manager, infrastructure professional, project management professional and certified water treatment operator, John has been intimately involved in numerous municipal drinking water and wastewater systems and projects in Ontario and beyond, from the perspectives of concept, design, funding acquisition, project management, commissioning, operations and maintenance.

Along with Barrie’s talented environmental services team, John is proud to have received a number of service recognition awards, including:

  • Metering International’s Smart Water Utility of the Year (2012)
  • CWWA’s Implementation of Innovative Technologies (2012)
  • WEAO’s Biosolids Management Award (2016)
  • OWWA’s Norman J. Howard Award for dedication and leadership in the industry (2014)

John played an integral role in the introduction of membrane technology in Ontario, and was instrumental in both the first municipal membrane water treatment facility and the first municipal wastewater membrane bioreactor facility in the province. He has since provided engineering and project management input on eight water/wastewater projects employing membrane technology, from California, to British Columbia, to Ontario.

John serves on the Board of Directors of the Municipal Engineers’ Association as Vice-President, the Ontario Municipal Water Association and the Ontario Region Common Ground Alliance. He is also a member of Walkerton Clean Water Centre’s Training Advisory Committee. John also serves on the MOECC MEA Liaison Committee and the Georgian Bay Waterworks Association Executive.


Kyle Toffan

Vice President
Ernst & Young Orenda Corporate Finance Inc.

Kyle Toffan is a vice president in the government and public sector advisory group of Ernst & Young Orenda, with 10 previous years of experience working for the Government of Saskatchewan, most notably as executive director of capital planning and infrastructure and as director responsible for approximately $400 million in annual funding to municipalities. Since joining Ernst & Young Orenda in October 2015, Kyle has had the pleasure of working with various federal, provincial and municipal clients across Canada on infrastructure advisory engagements, primarily related to business case analysis, procurement and financial advisory services on major infrastructure initiatives and enterprise-wide capital planning.

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Throughout his career, Kyle has led various high-profile public sector assignments. This includes implementation and management of various provincial and federal-provincial financial assistance programs for municipal infrastructure, development and implementation of the province of Saskatchewan’s first comprehensive capital planning framework, manual and 10-year Integrated Capital Plan and also directing the detailed planning and procurement of the Regina Bypass Project, which is a design, build, finance, operate and maintain P3, and the largest single transportation project in the province’s history.

Kyle lives in Regina, Saskatchewan with his wife Allison and three children. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master’s of Public Administration from Queen’s University.


Edgar Westerhof

Flood Risk and Resiliency Lead – North America
Arcadis U.S., Inc.

Edgar Westerhof is the flood risk and resiliency lead for North America for Arcadis Design and Consultancy. He has 18 years of experience in integrated urban water management. Edgar has a deep understanding of urban and industrial flood proofing concepts, infrastructure planning and design, sustainable urban water management and waterfront development and international water management concepts. He led Arcadis’ participation in the international HUD Rebuild by Design competition, including the winning BIG U – Waterfront Resiliency Plan of Manhattan.

Patricia Wilson

Director of Water Works
City of Regina

Patricia Wilson, MA (Engl), CPA-CMA is the director of Water Works for the City of Regina. Pat leads 200 staff in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of sustainable water, wastewater and drainage services for 220,000 residents and businesses in Regina, protecting public health and property. She is responsible for approximately $2 billion in infrastructure assets and $132 million of annual revenue.

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Pat came to the utility from the finance department, where she was responsible for rates and billing, as well as managing the City’s long-term utility financial model. She has successfully led numerous rate reviews, helping to place the City’s utility on a strong financial footing for the challenges of the future. Since coming to the Water Works department, she has focused on leading the culture shift to data-driven prioritization and asset management.


Carl D. Yates

General Manager
Halifax Water

Carl Yates has extensive experience in the water utility profession, having served as project engineer, chief engineer and general manager of the Halifax Water Commission from 1988 to 1996. In 1996, he was appointed general manager of the Halifax Regional Water Commission, which assumed a regional mandate after the municipal amalgamation of the greater Halifax area. In 2007, Carl oversaw the formation of the first regulated water, wastewater and stormwater utility in Canada, with the transfer of wastewater and stormwater assets from Halifax Municipality. Halifax Water is a body corporate municipal utility, generating approximately 130 million dollars in annual revenue with assets of over $2 Billion.

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Carl is chair of the Focus Area Council of the Water Research Foundation, and a board member for Canadian Water Network. He is also a board member for Special Olympics Nova Scotia.


Bev Yee

Deputy Minister
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Bev Yee was appointed deputy minister of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry on October 23, 2015. In this role, Bev is responsible for leading the department in support of the Minister. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s mission is to provide the framework and services necessary for Alberta’s agriculture, food and forestry sectors to maintain, build and expand domestic and international markets for our agriculture, agrifood and forestry products and services through a partnership approach with industry, strategic partners and key stakeholders. Among other things, this includes: promoting appropriate safe food production and processing practices throughout the supply chain; enabling the industry to innovate, create and capture value, and build competitive capacity by meeting consumer and public expectations around the environment; facilitating collaboration to enable resilient rural communities; and managing and protecting Alberta’s forest resources through effective and efficient wildfire management, sustainable forest management, and maintenance of the health of our forests.

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Prior to her appointment as deputy minister of agriculture and forestry, Bev has been with the Government of Alberta for over twenty years and joined Municipal Affairs in January of 2015. Previously, Bev spent the remainder of those twenty years in the Environment portfolio, where she was most recently assistant deputy minister of Integrated Resource Management Planning, as well as Alberta’s Stewardship Commissioner.

Before joining the Government of Alberta, Bev was a high school physics and biology teacher.