Virginia Tech - Invent the Future Virginia Tech SWIM Center

Conference - Speakers

photo Sunil Sinha, Professor and Director, SWIM Center

Dr. Sinha is a tenured professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. He is also director of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management Center (SWIM) Center. Dr. Sinha's research, teaching, and consulting are in the areas of infrastructure management, sustainability, pattern recognition, sensor informatics, and resilience, especially water systems. He has a total of seven years of practical experience in the infrastructure industry. His dual doctoral degree in Civil Engineering and System Design Engineering and work experience in the industry enables him to participate in interdisciplinary research opportunities, and to utilize his practical knowledge to teach students how to solve real-world problems using fundamental and practical approaches.  

Dr. Sinha serves as Vice-chair of NIST Community Resilience Panel for Water and Wastewater Systems Sector, and Chair of ASCE Utility Infrastructure Asset Management Division.   

He was the seed behind a PBS documentary titled "Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure," that throws light on a long-buried problem ~~ America's aging water systems. The film is a startling look at water services that Americans use every day, but rarely consider. He has given many NPR interviews and featured as a water infrastructure expert in a History Channel documentary titled "The Crumbling of America".


photo Stephen Cauffman, Community Resiliencce Program, NIST

Stephen Cauffman, Community Resilience Program, NIST. He currently lead NIST's new initiative on Disaster Resilience. The goal of the program is to convene the diverse body of stakeholders to develop a community-centric Disaster Resilience Framework and Model Resilience Guidelines to enhance the ability of the nation's communities to resist, respond to, and recover from the hazards to which they are exposed. The disaster resilience framework will be developed with stakeholder input through a series of regional workshops and will focus on the role of buildings and infrastructure lifelines to community disaster resilience. The program will also establish a Disaster Resilience Standards Panel composed of stakeholders, to further refine the Disaster Resilience Framework and develop model resilience guidelines, initially for critical buildings and lifelines.


photo David Goldbloom-Helzner, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water

David Goldbloom-Helzner has 31 years of experience in helping critical infrastructures prepare for and respond to disasters. For the last 8 years, he has been with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water, Water Security Division developing tools to help water and wastewater utilities become more resilient to flooding and other natural disasters, to apply for federal disaster funding, and to be trained in the incident command system.


photo Marilee Orr, Management and Program Analyst, US Department of Homeland Security

Ms. Marilee Orr is Management and Program Analyst at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Prior to that, she has worked as a consultant with Stopso and IBM Global Business Services. She has her Bachelors in Biology from Duke University.


photo U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Representative TBD


photo Ms. Sheri Moore, Program Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Resilience Initiative


photo Mary-Anna Holden, Commissioner, New Jersey

Mary-Anna Holden was confirmed as a commissioner of the Board of Public Utilities on January 9, 2012. Prior to her nomination, Ms. Holden served as Mayor of the Borough of Madison, NJ for four years and Councilwoman for ten years.

Ms. Holden is Chair of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC) Water Committee, a member of the NARUC Critical Infrastructure Committee and member of the NARUC Sub-committee on Nuclear Issues – Waste Disposal.

Ms. Holden is also immediate Past President of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC). Ms. Holden is also an Advisory Board Member of the University of Missouri's Financial Research Institute (FRI) and the Center for Public Utilities (CPU) at New Mexico State, and a member of the NJ Clean Water Council and Jersey Water Works' Green Infrastructure committee.

As Mayor and Councilwoman of Madison, Ms. Holden chaired and co-chaired every committee and department in the Borough, including electric and water utilities, public works, engineering, transportation and public safety. Ms. Holden was also chair of the Madison-Chatham Joint Meeting wastewater facility, and served for 11 years as a trustee of the New Jersey Historic Trust and serves as an advisor to the Morris County (NJ) Preservation Trust Fund.


photo James Anspach, Director, Utility Market & Practice Development, ASCE UESI President 2018

Jim Anspach is the current President of ASCE's Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute. He also serves as an ASCE EJCDC Delegate, and currently is Chair of that Committee. He is the Technical Practice Leader for Cardno Inc.'s Utility Engineering and Survey Practice. He chairs ASCE 38, serves on the Codes and Standards Committee, Committee for Technical Advancement, Committee on Claims Reduction and Management, Construction Standards Council, and 4 National Academy Expert Panels.


photo Kevin Morley, Security & Preparedness, AWWA

Kevin M. Morley, PhD is Manager, Federal Relations for the American Water Works Association (AWWA). He works closely with multiple organizations to advance the security and preparedness of the water sector. This includes the development of a cybersecurity resource guide and a supporting use-case tool that facilitates the voluntary application of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

Dr. Morley received his PhD from George Mason University for research assessing water sector resilience by creating the Utility Resilience Index (URI). He holds a MS from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a BA from Syracuse University.


photo Alison Witheridge, Research Manager, WaterRF

Ms. Witheridge has over 15 years of experience in environmental regulatory compliance and project management within the private and public sector. As a Research Manager for Water Research Foundation, Ms. Witheridge creates and manages research projects focusing on increasing resilience in water utilities and communities. Such projects include incentivizing green infrastructure, promoting best practices and innovative solutions for emergency preparedness and response, and developing research needs for resilient water infrastructure.


photo Walter Graf, Program Director, WE&RF, Alexandria, VA

Mr. Walter Graf is working as Program Director - Strategic Asset Management & Sensors Guidance and Implementation at WERF. He has directed the WERF Strategic Asset Management (SAM) and Sensors Research Challenges, and directed the recently completed the USEPA Aging Water Infrastructure cooperative agreement. He is knowledgeable of industry-standards related to asset management for both linear infrastructure and facility management including WERF SIMPLE and SAM tools, USEPA Advanced Asset Management, ISO 55001, and IIMM. He also has knowledge of strategies related to: system inventories, condition assessment, remaining life, gap analysis, field techniques/equipment, defining level of service, business risk exposure, prioritizing capital improvement projects, business case evaluations, and economic decision making. He has lead Collection Systems and Intelligent Water Systems focus area groups for the WERF Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT). He has also been a WERF representative to the Water Sector Coordinating Council (WSCC) and Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) for water sector security issues.


photo Michael Stuhr, P.E., Director, Portland Water Bureau

Currently, Director of the Portland Water Bureau, Mr. Stuhr served previously as the Bureau's Chief Engineer for 10 years and Group Director of the Construction and Maintenance Group for two years. Combined, Mr. Stuhr has more than 40 years experience leading and managing a wide variety of engineering activities including twenty-two years of distinguished service as a military officer in the United States Army Corps of Engineers including tours as Director of Public Works, Deputy District Engineer, and Deputy Division Engineer. He has been involved in a variety of emergency response activities in the United States including flood fights on the Missouri, Snake and Sacramento-San Joaquin River systems, and Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in Louisiana. Mr. Stuhr graduated from the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Engineering. He has an MSCE in geotechnical engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from University of California, Davis. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Oregon and California. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association, and is a Fellow in the Society of American Military Engineers.


photo Jian Zhang, Manager, Water Research Foundation

Mr. Jian Zhang is a Research Manager at the Water Research Foundation. He has a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Engineering and extensive experience as a civil engineer on construction sites. He has been working with the Foundation for nearly 14 years. Most of his projects fall in the field of water utility infrastructure, ranging from pipe materials, pressure management, and distribution systems.


photo Lee Sears, Project Director, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Lee Sears was born and raised in Tulsa, OK.  He graduated from Dartmouth College in 2003 with a B.E. in Materials Engineering and also earned a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2009 with an emphasis on thin film semiconductors.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer who currently works for the Bureau of Reclamation in Denver as one of their leading materials engineers.  He specializes in mitigating corrosion using a technique called cathodic protection throughout Reclamation's extensive dam, canal, and waterway infrastructure.  He is well respected throughout Reclamation and has traveled extensively to test cathodic protection systems, solve construction issues, repair systems, and perform corrosion inspections.  Dr. Sears is also nationally recognized for his contribution to the field of corrosion science and cathodic protection engineering.  He has presented at workshops for national corrosion associations including the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) and has represented his organization and its interests on various NACE committees at national conferences. 

Dr. Sears has taken the lead in helping his organization increase diversity among the engineers via minority recruiting.  He has traveled to several National Society of Black Engineers conferences to recruit for Reclamation and has spearheaded a partnership with a historically black college in Georgia named Fort Valley State University in an effort to bring interns to work as engineers in Denver during the summer. This program has grown from one student in the summer of 2011 to 30 students that will be interning in Denver in the summer of 2015. Dr. Sears was recognized for his efforts when he was awarded Reclamation's 2013 John Keys Award for Building Partnerships.

Lee joined CABPES in the fall of 2012 as a math tutor for the ACT/SAT and College Prep program and joined the CABPES board in December 2012. He is currently an advisor for the ACT/SAT program.


photo Houston Water

Representative TBD


photo Douglas Yoder, Deputy Director, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department

Douglas Yoder is Deputy Director of Miami-Dade's Water and Sewer Department, the largest utility in the state of Florida and one of the 10 largest utilities in the United States. Prior to moving to the Water and Sewer Department, he worked for more than 30 years with the County's Environmental Resources Management Department with responsibilities for oversight of utility operations, water resource management, and water quality protection. He has served two terms on the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, served on the Climate Ready Utilities Working Group, is past chair of the association of Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies, past president of the South Florida Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration, and past chair of the Sustainability Council of the Public Technology Institute. He currently serves on the Water Resources Advisory Council, advising the South Florida Water Management District on Everglades's restoration and other water management issues, chairs the wastewater sub-committee of the NIST Resiliency Panel, and serves on the board of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and the Water Research Foundation. He holds a bachelor's degree in government from Cornell University and masters and doctoral degrees in public administration from Nova Southeastern University and has lived in south Florida since 1970.


photo Raj Bhattarai, Division Manager, Austin Water

Raj Bhattarai has nearly four decades of public sector experience in water quality management, and water resource recovery. He manages Austin Water's Environmental and Regulatory Services Division. Raj was the 2007-2008 president of the Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT), and president of the Texas Association of Clean Water Agencies in 2001, 2013 and 2014. He served as a board member of the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation, where he also chaired the Research Council. Raj is a current board member of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. Raj received the Gascoigne Medal and the Bedell Award from the Water Environment Federation, and the Mahlie Award from WEAT for "significant contributions to the art and science of wastewater treatment and water pollution control." He has a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and a Master's in Environmental Health Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a registered professional engineer and a board certified environmental engineer. Raj is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department of the University of Texas at Austin. He has more than 130 presentations and publications to his credit.


photo Craig Davis, Resilience Manager, LADWP

Craig A. Davis, Ph.D., PE, GE is the Water System Resilience Program Manager and the Seismic Manager for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Water System. Formerly he held the positions of Geotechnical Engineering and Trunk Line Design Manager and oversaw nearly a billion dollars in the dam and reservoir development, large diameter pipeline installations, and Water System seismic improvement programs. Dr. Davis is currently developing a comprehensive LA Water System seismic resilience and sustainability program. He is a California licensed Civil and Geotechnical Engineer and received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the California Polytechnic State University in San Louis Obispo, CA, an M.S. in Civil Engineering with emphasis in structural earthquake engineering from the University of Southern California in 1991, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with emphasis in geotechnical earthquake engineering from the University of Southern California in 2000. He has worked for the LADWP since 1987 where he has investigated and evaluated numerous dams, managed several multimillion dollar projects, and implemented unique and innovative designs. Dr. Davis is appointed to the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR). He is the founding Executive Committee chairperson for the ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division. Dr. Davis participates in many other national and international professional committees involved in geotechnical engineering and lifeline system resilience and is the founding vice president of the International Society of Lifeline and Infrastructure Earthquake Engineering. He is involved in the utilization of seismic pipes and instigating development of a resilient pipe industry. He was honored with the ASCE 2016 Le Val Lund Award for Practicing Lifeline Risk Reduction. Dr. Davis has published over 100 technical papers and also organized and coordinated numerous international workshops and symposiums on geotechnical engineering and lifeline system resilience.


photo Charles Scott, Maintenance Manager, LVVWD, Nevada

Charles Scott has been a maintenance/asset-management professional for over 35 years in both the private and public sectors. He is currently the Maintenance Division Manager for the Las Vegas Valley Water District. He is a registered professional mechanical engineer in the state of Nevada and a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP).


photo Gregory Hottinger, P.E., Program Director, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

I have worked the last 12 years for the MMSD with positions in project management, construction management and the last 5+ years as the Asset Management Program Director. Prior to joining MMSD I worked for several consultants and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago focused primarily on structural design in the power, industrial and water industries.


photo Maureen M. Holman, Esq., Sustainability Chief, DC Water and Sewer Authority

Maureen Holman is sustainability chief for 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. Holman 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 in critical facilities.

Maureen represents DC Water on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Chesapeake Bay Water Resources Policy Committee, MWCOG Climate, Energy, and Environmental Policy Committee, MWCOG Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership Steering Committee, and the DC Green Building Advisory Council. She also serves a Mayoral appointee to the DC Urban Forestry Advisory Committee and the DC Commission on Climate Change and Resiliency. Prior to joining DC Water, Maureen served as interim director of the District Department of Energy and the Environment and as a program analyst in the DC Office of the City Administrator. Holman holds a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from the University of Southern California, a juris doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law, and a graduate environmental ethics certificate from the UGA College of Environment and Design.


photo Bill Suchodolski, Manager, OCUA, New Jersey

Bill Suchodolski is Manager, Engineering and Construction for the Ocean County Utilities Authority. He has over thirty five (35) years of experience in engineering; with the last twenty-seven (27) years being focused on water and wastewater treatment design, construction, and operations. He is a Professional Engineer and a Licensed Wastewater Treatment Operator. Accomplishments at the OCUA include responsibility for the planning, design and bidding of over $200 mil in capital projects. Bill is an active member and Co-Chairman of the NJWEA Collection System Sub-Committee, active member of the WEF, has been a presenter at numerous national and regional conferences, and assisted the SWIM Center in the development of the WateriD effort.


photo Jim Wollbrinck, Manager, San Jose Water Co.

Jim Wollbrinck is the Manager of Security and Business Resiliency for San Jose Water Company.   He is responsible for all aspects of Emergency Management, developing Security Policies/Procedures; and Business Continuity Management for San Jose Water Company. He has 30 years of operational and management experience in the water industry.

Mr. Wollbrinck is a graduate of USF with a B.S. in Applied Economics and holds a Grade 3 Water Treatment Operator Certification through the California Department of Public Health and is a Senior Member of the American Society for Quality.


photo Fred Pfeifer, Asset Strategy Manager – Water Network, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)

Fred is the Water Network Asset Strategy Manager at Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). His responsibilities include developing comprehensive AM plans to manage capital investment priorities for over 500,000 water and communications network assets including water transmission and distribution system, facilities, pumping stations, dams, reservoirs, storage tanks, SCADA, microwave and security systems

He plays a major role in developing the Enterprise Asset Management Plan which incorporates all assets in four networks including wastewater, communications building and grounds.

Related efforts include creating a system to monetize asset risk and establish performance standards for water assets for use in making renewal decisions. He has MBA from Central Michigan University and B.Sc. (Biochemistry / Mathematics) from University of Maryland. Fred had over 35 years of experience in the water and wastewater industry in a variety of technical and management positions.


photo Jim J Chelius, P.E., Director - Engineering Asset Planning, American Water

Mr. Chelius is Director of Engineering Asset Planning for American Water, the largest investor-owned water/wastewater utility in the U.S. He directs American Water’s comprehensive planning program that delivers strategic engineering master plans for the Company's 1600 communities served. These plans assess supply, treatment and distribution/collection system needs that identify infrastructure improvement projects which provide the foundation of the Company’s $1 billion/year capital investment program. He also is responsible for the development of the company’s asset investment strategy which provides direction on prioritizing annual capital investment. He leads several initiatives in the development of asset management and risk management practices, with the overall objectives of optimizing and protecting asset lifecycle and investment, assessing vulnerability and adaptation solutions for system reliability/resiliency, and implementing strategies and tools for analyzing and optimizing asset performance. He is also responsible for development and integration of the Company’s Climate Resilience Strategy that includes both mitigation and adaptation programs for addressing climate variability.

Mr. Chelius has 33 years experience in the water utility field. He holds a B.S. in General Sciences and an M.S. in Water Resources Engineering from Villanova University. He is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania and an active member in AWWA.


photo Kevin Slaven, Associate Vice President, ARCADIS

Mr. Slaven is an Associate Vice President with ARCADIS. Mr. Slaven specializes in asset management services and brings over thirteen years of experience across the water, wastewater, and electric utility industries. Mr. Slaven has assisted clients with the development of asset management programs that include initiatives on service levels, performance management, business case evaluations, CMMS development, maintenance management, and capital improvement planning. Mr. Slaven is the chair of Ohio AWWA's Asset Management Committee. Finally, Mr. Slaven is a Certified Reliability Leader and RCM Analyst Level I.


photo Celine Hyer, SWIM Industry Board, ARCADIS

Ms. Celine Hyer has 25 years of diverse environmental engineering experience including solid waste, environmental clean-ups, and water & wastewater facilities. Currently she is the U.S. Conveyance Market Sector Leader for ARCADIS in Client Development specializing in Utility Asset Management Programs and Buried Infrastructure programs including planning, implementations of CMMS programs, and condition and risk assessments. Her specialties include Asset Management systems, and water and wastewater asset condition assessments, pipe replacement planning including condition, and risk assessments.


photo Perry Gayle, NC Water Business Unit Leader, AECOM

Perry Gayle is the NC Water Business Unit Leader for AECOM and has conducted more than 60 water and wastewater security and preparedness projects for utilities such as Chicago, Nashville, Louisville, and DC Water. He has a PhD in Civil Engineering from VA Tech, and is a licensed professional engineer, a LEED accredited professional, and a licensed general contractor. During his 40-year professional career, he has performed water and wastewater engineering work at locations across the Continental US, Europe, Asia, and Africa.


photo Devan Thomas, Vice President, AECOM, Ontario, Canada

Over his career as a Professional Engineer, Mr. Devan Thomas has assumed increasing levels of responsibility from on-site inspection/administration of infrastructure projects, through project design and management, to the overall leadership of corporate programs. Devan currently leads the Infrastructure Services Technical Practice in AECOM comprising approximately 1100 staff globally. Devan has previously acted as National Practice Leader (North America) for Wastewater Collection Systems, National Lead (Canada) for Asset Management and leader of AECOM's Water Infrastructure Technical Practice Group. He brings extensive experience in municipal engineering and information technology combining experience in the detailed design, analysis and construction of water and wastewater systems.


photo John Marciszewski, Director of Business Development, Echologics

John Marciszewski, Director of Business Development for Echologics, is focused on innovative practices for buried infrastructure, including: capital efficiency, system resiliency, and water loss management. He has 25 years of commercialization experience in high-tech, focusing on the water-energy nexus since 2005. He is also a founding Industrial Advisory Board member for the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management Center, and a board member for the Financial Research Institute. John has a Master of Engineering from the University of California Berkeley and Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University.


photo Greg Baird, Director of Enterprise Strategies, Cityworks, Utah

Mr. Greg Baird is a Financial Management and Infrastructure Asset Management Specialist for Municipalities. Mr. Baird has experience as a municipal finance officer, utility CFO, financial and infrastructure consultant with MWH and GHD. He is focused on helping governments and utilities improve the cost effectiveness of their operations through the use of technology and asset management practices. Mr. Baird is a leader in the efforts to address the Aging Water Infrastructure Funding.


photo Peter Kraft, Asset Management Practice Lead, Confluence Group, Colorado

Mr. Peter Kraft has 13 years of experience working in the asset management and water utility space. He spent over a decade helping Denver Water develop their enterprise asset management strategy and program. As Confluence Group's AM Practice Lead, he helps utilities operationalize asset management through better alignment of business processes and technology solutions. Peter holds a Master's degree in Urban Planning and GIS from the University of Colorado with an emphasis in urban water systems and spatial analysis.


photo Timothy A. Mitchell, P.E. & SWIM WATERiD Committee Chair

Tim Mitchell is the Director of Water Resources for the City of Lynchburg, Virginia. The Department provides water, sewer, and stormwater services for 80,000 citizens in Lynchburg as well as wholesale services to the counties of Amherst, Bedford, and Campbell. Tim is currently a Wet Weather Partnership Board Member, Chair-Elect of the Virginia Section of American Water Works Association, Virginia Municipal Stormwater Association (VAMSA) Vice President and Founding Member, on the Board of Directors for Virginia Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies, on the Virginia Nutrient Credit Exchange Association Board of Governors, and is on Virginia Tech's WATERiD Industry Advisory Board. Tim has obtained his engineering degree from Old Dominion University, a Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management from Virginia Tech, and attended the Harvard Kennedy School for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. He is a licensed professional engineer and has 30 years of experience in the water and wastewater field. 


photo Matt Stolte, PE & SWIM PIPEiD Committee Chair

Matt Stolte is an Assistant Director for Management of the Public Works Department in the Town of Blacksburg, VA.  His current management position has been built upon over 25 years of experience in delivering engineering solutions for a variety of infrastructure and facility programs in the private and public sectors. He is a founding member of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) Center at Virginia Tech and a Committee Member on the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Testing) Water and Wastewater Standing Committee for Community Resilience Planning.  Matt has a Graduate Certificate in Government Financial Management and a Master of Engineering from Virginia Tech and a Bachelors of Chemistry from Berea College.   



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