Usha Rao-Monari (keynote)
Blackstone Infrastructure Group
Usha Rao-Monari is a seasoned investment professional with almost 30 years of experience. She is currently a Senior Advisor to Blackstone’s Infrastructure Group and previously served as CEO of Global Water Development Partners, a Blackstone portfolio company. During her career, Usha held several senior positions at the International Finance Corporation, which is part of the World Bank. Her roles included Director – Sustainable Business Advisory Group, Global Head – Water and Environmental Group and Head – Utilities and Public Partnerships. Usha was instrumental in founding and establishing the 2030 Water Resources Group, a public-private partnership platform which is now part of the World Bank group.
Before working for the World Bank, Usha worked for Prudential Bache (New York and London) in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. She holds a master’s degree in international affairs and an MBA from Columbia University. Usha has also held a number of advisory positions, as a board member of Veolia, WaterHealth International and Global Water Development Partners, co-chair of the steering board of the 2030 Water Resources Group and chair of several World Economic Forum councils, including water, natural capital and environmental and natural resource security.
Director, One Water Planning
EPCOR Water Services Inc.
Susan Ancel is the Director of One Water Planning for EPCOR Water Services Inc., a new role that focuses on the development of strategic plans for the entire water cycle. Previously, she was Director of Stormwater Strategies and was responsible for the development of an Integrated Resource Plan for Stormwater Management that considered capital and operational risk mitigation planning, and built awareness of the interrelationships between utilities, insurance, disaster response agencies and the public in preparing and responding to changing stormwater risks in the community. Prior to taking on this role, Susan was the Director of Water Distribution and Transmission and was responsible for the planning, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of the water distribution and water metering systems for EPCOR in Edmonton. She’s also served on numerous industry committees, including the Board of Directors for the Geospatial Information Technology Association from 2001 to 2007. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Canadian Water Network.
Cathy Bernardino Bailey
Greater Cincinnati Water Works
Cathy Bernardino Bailey is Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works, a utility that serves drinking water to over 1.1 million residents in the Greater Cincinnati region and employs 600 professionals. The utility 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, Cathy transitioned from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Greater Cincinnati Water Works as a chemist in the water quality and treatment division. Cathy was also involved working on special projects such as the lead and copper rule implementation and executing new IT solutions within the laboratories and the division. Significant roles in the organization over the years have allowed Cathy to establish key IT service desk solutions, develop and implement multiple strategic business plans, establish performance metrics for work units, manage the water district’s research and development efforts and streamline operations.
Cathy became the first female director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works in 2015. During her short span in this role, she quickly led the utility out of the joint utility structure back to 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 lead service lines in the water system. She also worked with Council to re-establish an appropriate capital program to properly maintain water utility infrastructure, resulting in a newly established $500 million six-year capital plan. Cathy also worked to restructure debt and amend the budget, and received approval from City Council for multi-year rate increases over 5 years.
Cathy 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.
Cathy holds 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 community organizations.
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Water Network
Bernadette Conant 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 was appointed to a national expert panel on climate change adaptation by the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. Bernadette also serves on the boards of Hydrogeologists without Borders and the Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network. Bernadette holds a Master of Science in hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo.
Michael Fenn has built an extensive career in public service. He was Deputy Minister under three Ontario premiers, Municipal Chief Administrator for the cities of Hamilton and Burlington, founding CEO of the Greater Toronto transportation authority Metrolinx, and CEO of the Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network. He’s published reports and journal articles for think tanks, trade journals and industry organizations on the future of rural infrastructure in Ontario, water, wastewater and stormwater policy in Ontario, megatrends and the future of Canada’s infrastructure.
In 2018, Michael was appointed Visiting Fellow (Infrastructure) at Ivey Business School’s Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management, complementing his work as a senior advisor with the consulting firm StrategyCorp. He served on McMaster University’s Board of Governors and is currently a Board Director with the $100 billion OMERS pension fund and the Toronto District School Board’s realty and property redevelopment arm, the Toronto Lands Corporation. Since 2011, Michael has also served as a facilitator of confidential discussions on policing issues, jointly appointed by the Grand Chief of Mushkegowuk Cree First Nations and Ontario’s Solicitor General.
Michael has been recognized for his work with the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Distinction in Public Administration in Ontario, AMCTO’s prestige awards and the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association Robert Baldwin Award. In 2010, he was added to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s honour roll.
Michael holds an MA in political science and diploma in public administration, both from Western University. He also completed the program for senior executives in state and local government from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Infrastructure and Communities (Canada)
Kelly Gillis was appointed Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Communities in September 2017. Prior to this appointment, Kelly served as Associate Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. In this role, Kelly worked with the Deputy Minister in supporting three Ministers for a large department with 5,000 staff. The department played a key role in developing Canada’s Inclusive Innovation Agenda, which helped develop an economy that promotes clean growth, high-quality jobs and increased prosperity.
Kelly was previously Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications (SITT) at Industry Canada. She supported the development and use of world-class information and communications technologies, including management and oversight of Canada’s radio spectrum frequencies, research at the Communications Research Centre, cyber security and connecting Canadians. Kelly also held the position of Assistant Deputy Minister at SITT, where she focused on policies that supported Canada’s ICT industry and advanced the digital economy.
From September 2009 to March 2012, Kelly was Industry Canada’s Chief Financial Officer. In this role, she was responsible for providing financial oversight, advice and corporate services. Prior to joining Industry Canada, Kelly was the Assistant Secretary and CFO at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, where she led the creation of the new Corporate Services Sector. Kelly was also the Executive Director and Deputy CFO at Finance Canada.
Kelly holds a Bachelor of Commerce and graduate diploma in public accounting from McGill University. She is also a qualified chartered accountant.
Director, Hamilton Water
Public Works Department, City of Hamilton
Andrew Grice is the Director of Hamilton Water and oversees the planning, capital and operational programs for the City’s water, wastewater and stormwater assets. Hamilton Water is responsible for an operating budget of $90 million, and has a team of 300 employees who support large capital programs with $10 billion worth of infrastructure providing essential services to the 535,000 residents in the City of Hamilton.
Managing Director of Investments
Canadian Infrastructure Bank
Sashen Guneratna is a Managing Director within the investments group at the Canadian Infrastructure Bank, where he assists the executive team with the organization’s investment strategy. Sashen has more than 20 years of banking and advisory experience encompassing several sectors and jurisdictions. Previously, he was a Partner in the Capital Projects and Infrastructure group at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, with a focus on water and wastewater, First Nations led projects, power and utilities. In 2013, Sashen worked for National Bank Financial as a financial advisor and underwriter of project finance transactions. He holds an MBA and BBA from the Schulich School of Business.
Executive Director and Counsel
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Theresa McClenaghan was appointed as the Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) in 2007. She holds an LLB from Western University and an LLM in constitutional law from Osgoode Hall Law School, as well as a diploma in environmental health from McMaster University. She was called to the Bars of Manitoba and Ontario. Focusing on environmental health and environmental safety in the areas of energy and water, Theresa has practised public interest environmental law for over twenty-five years in private practice and at CELA since 1998. From 2006 – 2007, Theresa was a Senior Water Policy Advisor to the Ontario Minister of the Environment, where she was responsible for overseeing the passage of the Clean Water Act and implementation of the remaining Walkerton Inquiry recommendations.
Theresa has represented clients at the Supreme Court of Canada, Federal Court of Appeal and Trial Division and the Ontario Court of Appeal. She was co-counsel representing Walkerton citizens in both phases of the Walkerton Inquiry, and has appeared on behalf of her clients at a variety of environmental, land use and energy tribunals. Theresa is also a co-author of the recently published 3-volume annotated Ontario Water Law. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Canadian Water Network.
Professor, School of Environment & Sustainability
Royal Roads University
Robert Newell is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Environment & Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia. He teaches courses on critical sustainability issues (particularly climate change and biodiversity loss) and approaches to sustainable community development. Robert’s research focuses on integrated planning, and he explores the use of systems models and visualizations as tools for supporting local planning and decision-making. Much of his work has looked at community climate action in an integrated planning context, and he has explored a number of different analyses and techniques for supporting local climate action efforts, such as decomposition analysis and mapping climate action co-benefits. Robert aims to create tools for facilitating more inclusive, collaborative approaches to planning, and his previous research involved using video game development software to build a realistic visualization to be used as a tool for participatory coastal planning and management.
Cathie O’Toole is the General Manager of Halifax Water. Previously, she was the utility’s Director of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer. Her career has spanned 20 years and included a number of senior leadership positions, including CFO and Director of Infrastructure and Asset Management for the City of Halifax. Cathie currently serves on the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation Board, the AWWA Finance Committee and chairs an investigative panel for the Chartered Accountants Association of Nova Scotia. She holds an undergraduate degree from Dalhousie University, MBA from Laurentian University, FCPA and FCGA designations, and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Professor, Civil, Geological & Mining Engineering
Michèle Prevost has more than 25 years of experience in research and technology in the areas of drinking water treatment and distribution. She is an NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Drinking Water at Polytechnique Montréal and founded the CREDEAU laboratory to advance water treatment technologies and processes. Recently, Michèle directed a major initiative to reduce lead in Canadians’ drinking water through a suite of laboratory, field and epidemiological studies. She is also leading a Canadian-based collaborative research project with water utilities on cyanobacteria and toxin treatment. In 2016, Michèle received the American Water Works Association’s A.P. Black Award for outstanding research contributions to water science and water supply over an appreciable period of time. She is the author of more than 300 publications and is widely recognized for her skill in producing high-quality research results and transferring them to research users.
Mark R. Servos
Canada Research Chair in Water Quality Protection
University of Waterloo
Mark Servos is the Canada Research Chair in Water Quality Protection at the University of Waterloo, where his research and teaching program is related to the science underlying risk assessment and the management of emerging threats to water quality in watersheds. Mark previously worked as a research scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 1988-1996) and as a Project Chief with Environment Canada (National Water Research Institute, 1996-2003) before joining the University of Waterloo as a Professor of Biology in 2003. He also served as Scientific Director of Canadian Water Network until 2011. He plays an active role in international scientific societies, serving as President of the International Association of Great Lakes Research and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). He is a SETAC Fellow and was recently recognized with the Stephen J. Klaine Environmental Education Award for his commitment to innovative interdisciplinary teaching.
Mark is a world leading researcher in the area of environmental assessment and risk of emerging contaminants of concern, including endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals and personal care products. He’s participated in many national and international projects, committees and panels, including the European Union’s project on pharmaceuticals (ERAPharm), the SETAC expert panel on wastewater in Victoria and the CWN-led national expert panel on microcontaminants in wastewater. He recently served as a Synthesis Visitor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, where he worked on a review of microcontaminant risks. The Servos Group have been leaders in conducting detailed studies looking at the fate and effects of contaminants in wastewater effluents on responses in fish, from genes to communities. Their recent work documented the recovery of fish in receiving environments in response to major infrastructure upgrades in wastewater plants discharging to Canadian rivers.
Director, Strategy and Innovation
Environmental Services Department, York Region
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. He leads cross-functional teams that focus on regulatory compliance, continuous improvement, policy, energy conservation and leadership development. David oversees a number of innovation projects that include data analytics and water reuse. He regularly engages with the Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks, neighbouring regional governments and local municipalities to advance municipal government priorities.
Canadian Water Network
Carl Yates recently retired following a long career with Halifax Water. He 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. In 2019, he retired from Halifax Water, a body corporate municipal utility that generates approximately $140 million 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, Chair of Canadian Water Network and a member of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Nova Scotia.
Alberta Environment and Parks
Bev Yee was appointed Deputy Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks on September 18, 2018. She has spent more than 20 years with the Government of Alberta, most recently as Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Relations. Prior to that, she served as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. Much of Bev’s time with government has been dedicated to the Environment portfolio, where she was previously 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. She holds a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Science.
Director, Integrated Strategy and Utility Planning
City of Vancouver
Jimmy Zammar is the Director of Integrated Strategy and Utility Planning in the engineering department at the City of Vancouver. He leads the integrated water resource planning group, One Water, which aims to integrate the city’s planning for water, sewer and drainage while incorporating climate adaptation, green infrastructure and data driven, multi-criteria decision-making to inform policy, programs, capital investments and land-use planning. Jimmy also leads the city’s innovative, low-carbon district heating utility, Neighbourhood Energy Utility, as well as the Engineering Project Management Office.
Prior to his work at the City of Vancouver, Jimmy held various roles for consulting firms KPMG, AECOM and DAI, where his responsibilities included major project advisory, capital program management and strategic asset management for public agencies in the water, wastewater, green building and clean energy sectors. Jimmy holds multiple master’s degrees in architecture and building engineering, infrastructure project management and sustainable development.
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