The Water Finance Research Foundation
Gregory Baird is President of The Water Finance Research Foundation and a financial management and infrastructure asset management specialist for municipalities and water and sewer districts. He is focused on helping governments and utilities improve the cost effectiveness of their operations and the affordability of water services through the use of technology and asset management practices. Greg is influencing the industry to require infrastructure asset management plans as a prerequisite to local, state and federal funding, as well as an analysis component for credit risk and public/private partnership evaluations.
Greg actively serves as Chair of the sustainable infrastructure committee with the American Water Works Association and is a member of the rates and charges and asset management committees. He is appointed to the American Public Works Association’s engineering & technology committee and is Chair of the underground infrastructure technology subcommittee. Greg participates as a member of the ISO 251 technical committee working on the integration of finance and infrastructure asset management. Greg is also Virginia Tech’s Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management education chair for their new online water asset management certificate training series and is also supporting the development of a U.S. GIS database of pipe inventory data, called PipeID. He is promoting the 2018 release of Utah State University’s “Water Main Break Rates In the USA and Canada: A Comprehensive Study” to increase awareness of the aging water infrastructure crisis and the need for lifecycle cost analysis and a national pipe inventory database.
Greg has served as a municipal finance officer in California and as the CFO of Colorado’s third largest municipal utility. He has worked for some top water engineering firms, including MWH (now Stantec) and GHD, in financial, asset management and affordability engagements. Greg is widely published on municipal utility infrastructure asset management and integrated finance issues for the U.S. and Canadian water and wastewater industry.
Vice President and General Manager
Advanced Infrastructure Analytics, Xylem
Albert Cho is Vice President and General Manager for Advanced Infrastructure Analytics at Xylem, a global water technology company with $4.7B in annual revenue. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s newest business, which focuses on intelligent infrastructure diagnostics and decision support services across water, wastewater and energy infrastructure. Previously, Albert led Xylem’s corporate and business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, market intelligence, and business development activities.
Before joining Xylem, Cho worked as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary at the State Department, where he was a White House Fellow and served on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff. He has also been an executive at Cisco Systems, worked at McKinsey & Company, and served at the United Nations on a global plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Albert serves on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Water Alliance, the editorial advisory board of World Water, and on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Environment Technologies Trade Advisory Committee. He is also an Honorary Research Associate of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Water Network
Bernadette is the Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Water Network and is a trusted broker of water knowledge. Together with her team, she works to improve the application of water research to decisions for water management. In 2009, she founded the Canadian Municipal Water Consortium, whose members collaborate on critical drinking water, wastewater and stormwater challenges. The Consortium includes leaders from progressive municipalities, as well as industry and academic partners.
Bernadette is Vice-Chair of the board of directors for the Global Water Research Coalition. She also serves on the boards of Hydrogeologists without Borders and the Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network. Bernadette holds an MSc in hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo.
Lou Di Gironimo
Lou Di Gironimo is General Manager of Toronto Water, a division of the City of Toronto. Under his leadership, the 1,700 staff in Toronto Water focus on providing quality water services – supplying drinking water, treating wastewater and managing stormwater – essential for protecting public health, property and the environment.
The division serves 3.6 million residents and businesses in Toronto and portions of York and Peel, and has more than $28.2 billion in infrastructure.
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, the 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.
Executive Director, Global Institute for Water Security
University of Saskatchewan
Jay Famiglietti is a professor of hydrology and the Executive Director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, where he holds the Canada 150 Research Chair in Hydrology and Remote Sensing. Before moving to USask, Famiglietti served as the Senior Water Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His research group uses satellites and develops advanced computer models to track how freshwater availability is changing around the globe. A fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America, Famiglietti is a regular advisor to state, provincial and federal government officials on water security issues.
As managing director, Sashen Guneratna is responsible for leading PwC LLP’s Capital Projects and Infrastructure practice in Toronto. He is also responsible for the practice for the Ontario public sector and the Canadian private sector. Sashen has over 15 years of experience in structured and project finance. Having led bid side and public side advisory mandates across a variety of sectors, Sashen has developed broad expertise on capital projects, with a particular focus on optimal and innovative financing. Using his extensive experience, Sashen has established a strong track record of working successfully with clients to guide projects through procurement and financial close.
At PwC, Sashen is responsible for the identification and initiation of transactions, including transactions in the water and wastewater sectors. He advises clients on the appropriate structuring of transactions, manages transactions from their early-stage teaming to financial close, and leads commercial discussions with clients and financiers. Over the past 10 years, Sashen was part of a team that closed 25 transactions and raised more than $20+ billion in debt commitments.
Water Services Association of Australia
Adam Lovell is the Executive Director at the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA). WSAA is the peak body for the urban water industry and its members provide urban water services to over 90% of Australia and New Zealand’s population. Adam provides national leadership in policy positions for the Australian urban water sector and facilitates collaboration within the water utility sector.
Previous to joining WSAA in 2008, Adam was at Sydney Water for 11 years in leadership roles in the Science, Technology and Research area. Adam currently holds a number of non-executive Board member roles including: the Australian WaterSecure Innovation, the Global Water Research Coalition and the Water Environment and Research Foundation (USA).
Adam holds a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and a Masters of Environmental Engineering Science from the University of Sydney.
Commissioner of Environmental Services
Erin Mahoney is Commissioner of Environmental Services for York Region, overseeing water and wastewater services, waste management, forestry, corporate asset management and corporate energy for 1.2 million residents and 28,000 businesses. Erin leads a team of over 400 staff in the Environmental Services department, which was inducted into the Leading Utilities of the World network in 2017. Erin is past Chair of the Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario, and has over 25 years of public and private sector experience on projects involving water and wastewater treatment, waste management, 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 Water Network and American Public Works Association.
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 1996. 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 the Halifax Regional Municipality. Halifax Water is a body corporate municipal utility, generating approximately 140 million dollars in annual revenue with assets of over $2 Billion.
Carl obtained a Bachelor of Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1984 and a Master of Applied Science from the Technical University of Nova Scotia [now Dalhousie University] in 1992. He is past Chair of the Focus Area Council of the Water Research Foundation, Vice Chair of Canadian Water Network, and a member of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Nova Scotia.
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