Director of Urban Water Policy
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.
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.
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.
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.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Ontario Clean Water Agency
Rob Andrews was appointed president and CEO of the Ontario Clean Water Agency on January 6, 2014. Since joining OCWA, Mr. Andrews and the agency’s senior management team have been working to expand the scope of OCWA’s business in the province of Ontario and solidify the agency’s reputation as Canada’s premier provider of total water and wastewater solutions. Prior to joining OCWA, Mr. Andrews was the chief executive of global water at AECOM, the world’s largest water engineering business with annual revenues exceeding $1B USD. Rob’s other previous industry experience includes Earth Tech’s executive vice-president, Global Water Projects and Products Division.
Mr. Andrews’s project experience includes engineering and project management of many of the largest water and wastewater treatment systems in the world, including Toronto, Peel Region, Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Sydney and London.
Director of Wastewater and Stormwater Services
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.
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.
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.
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.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling to new islands, playing tennis, reading historic literature and playing with her nieces.
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.
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.
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Water Network
Bernadette Conant is the chief executive officer of Canadian Water Network (CWN), where she has been working since 2003. Established in 2001 by Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence, CWN plays a vital role in ensuring that Canada benefits from its investments in research to manage its water resources more effectively and becomes a world leader in water management.
Bernadette has a Master of Science in hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo and holds the Faculty of Science Alumni of Honour Award from that institution. She currently serves as a director on the boards of the Global Water Research Coalition, Hydrogeologists Without Borders, and the Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network, and is a member of the Water Partner Advisory Committee to the Water Stewardship Committee of the Canadian Council of the Federation.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Chief Technology Officer
Linda Gowman, PhD, PEng, 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.
She 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.
Linda participates in various water-related organizations, and has participated on the board of several, including Canadian Water Network, some years ago.
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.
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.
XPV Water Partners
As the founder of XPV, David is a thought leader and sought after advisor and speaker in the area of water technology and investing. David combines his marketing and business development knowledge to create new opportunities for his partners. His grasp of market trends and insights help to connect entrepreneurs to invaluable resources that drive or accelerate growth.
David has built an extensive global network in the water sector as a respected investor, speaker and expert contributor. Some of the organizations he has worked with include: Canadian and U.S. water utilities, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Global Water Intelligence, Water Environment Federation, Government of Ontario and Government of Canada, White House Water Initiative, Singapore International Water Week, One Drop, The China Green Technology Initiative, InterAction Council, Confluence, Imagine H2O, Cleantech Group and the Brookings Institute.
David is currently a director of FATHOM Water Management Holdings; Nexom; Newterra Group; Shenandoah Growers; Smart Cover Systems; is a Global Ambassador for One Drop; and is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and Senior Fellow at the Brookfield Institute, Ryerson University.
David attended Ryerson University’s School of Business, where he specialized in Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development and received Ryerson’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Education & Research Award. He is a recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award, the Ontario Premier’s Award of Excellence, the National and Global Enactus Alumni of the Year Award and was given the Global Champion Award for SIFE (now Enactus) for his contribution to its international success.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Commissioner of Environmental Services
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.
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.
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).
Special Envoy for International Water Affairs
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Henk Ovink was appointed by the Dutch cabinet as the first special envoy for international water affairs in 2015. As the ambassador for water, he is responsible for advocating water awareness around the world and building institutional capacity and coalitions among governments, multilateral organizations, NGOs and the private sector to address the world’s priority needs on water and initiate transformative interventions.
Mr. Ovink is also Sherpa to the High Level Panel on Water to catalyze change in water awareness and implementation. This panel was installed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the President of the World Bank Jim Kim, with 10 heads of government, including Prime Minister Rutte from The Netherlands.
Mr. Ovink is also principal of Rebuild by Design, a resilience innovation competition he developed and led for President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, where he was senior advisor to the chair. Previously, he was director general for Planning and Water Affairs and director for National Spatial Planning in the Netherlands.
Mr. Ovink teaches at the London School of Economics and at Harvard Graduate School of Design, and is a member of the International Advisory Board for the City of Rotterdam. He was curator of International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam’s Making City (2012 ) and also curated the debate series, Design and Politics: The Next Phase for Aedes Network Campus Berlin. He initiated a research program on design and politics and is chief editor of a series of publications at NAI010 Publishers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.