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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.