Keynote Address: Kishia L. Powell

Commissioner, Department of Watershed Management, City of Atlanta

With expertise in sustainable water infrastructure management Kishia Powell has leveraged 19 years of experience in both the public and private sectors to serve municipalities across the United States and London, England. As commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management, she has led efforts to ramp up a five-year capital program estimated at over $1.2 billion, including the $350 million Water Supply Program which will expand the City of Atlanta’s water reserves from less than a week to 30 days or more.  Her watershed management team is managing continued investments in the separate sanitary sewer system improvements under an extended consent decree, major investments in the R.M. Clayton wastewater reclamation facility, and implementation of a water distribution system asset management program.  Leveraging experience in the Chesapeake Bay region as well as local partnerships, she will support her team in executing measures under the city’s Green Infrastructure Action Plan.

She previously served as director of public works for the City of Jackson, Mississippi, where she led the effort to develop a comprehensive capital improvement program and get a 20-year infrastructure improvement program under way, including using a municipal special option sales tax to fund efforts to restore city streets under an initiative called Operation Orange Cone and assisting in the process of securing $16.5 million in TIGER grant funds under an initiative called Greening the Gateways. Additionally, she provided oversight for implementation of wastewater consent decree program requirements and the city’s $90 million water infrastructure improvement program.  Commissioner Powell is a professional engineer and collection system operator.


Nathaly Agosto Filión

Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Newark

In  her role, Nathaly Agosto Filión serves as the City of Newark’s leading sustainability strategist, convening interdepartmental teams to make Newark a healthier and greener city. She also serves as a bridge connecting a diverse network of community, nonprofit, academic, institutional, philanthropic and governmental partners advancing a variety of sustainability, greening, environmental health, and quality of life initiatives across Newark.

Prior to staffing Newark’s Office of Sustainability, Agosto Filión worked as a resiliency manager with Sustainable Jersey, connecting post-Sandy communities with recovery and resiliency resources. Before relocating to New Jersey, she worked as a program officer with the Institute for Sustainable Communities, helping to develop, design and deliver national and regional capacity-building programs for local government climate and sustainability practitioners.

She has also worked as a municipal climate action planning consultant, community organizer, and environmental educator. She was a founding member of 350Vermont, 350Dominicana, and Justicia Migrante’s Junta de Apoyo. She co-chairs the Urban Sustainability Directors Network Peer Learning Group on Sustainability Indicators, is outgoing chair of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals Projects & Evaluation Affinity Group, and a 2015 Environmental Leadership Fellow.

David Church, AICP

Commissioner, Department of Planning, Orange County, New York

David Church is Commissioner of Planning for Orange County, New York. Appointed to this position in 2002, he oversees land use, planning, agriculture, tourism, and grant units of County government as well as the County Water Authority, and the County Transportation Council (or MPO). Previously he was Executive Director of the Albany-based New York Planning Federation. He has also held positions with The Catskill Center and the Conservation Foundation/World Wildlife Fund. Early in his career he was a partner in Landscape Studies specializing in environmental impact assessment.

He is a member of the advisory board of both the Hudson River Estuary Program and the NYS DOT Scenic Byways Program. He serves as Chair of the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation as well as co-chair of the NYS Region 3 Open Space Committee. David has written several books on land use and zoning, including The Short Course: A Basic Guide for Members of Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Appeals, and The Shawangunk Ridge Conservation and Design Guidebook. A member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, he is a graduate of Hamilton College (Geology) and has studied at Empire State College.

Raised in northern Berkshire County, Massachusetts, he lives with his wife in the Town of Shawangunk, New York where they raised two children. He served four terms as a member of the Shawangunk Planning Board, as well as two previous terms as member and then chair of the Town of Warwick Conservation Board.

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Christopher J. Daggett

President and Chief Executive Officer, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

Chris Daggett has been a respected leader in New Jersey’s nonprofit world for nearly 20 years, serving on a number of boards, including the Schumann Fund for New Jersey, Regional Plan Association, and The Trust for Public Land.

As the independent candidate for governor in 2009, he was the first independent candidate to raise the threshold amount of money to qualify for public matching funds and to participate in public debates with the major party candidates. He was also endorsed by The Star-Ledger, the state’s leading newspaper.

Previously, Mr. Daggett served as deputy chief of staff to the governor of New Jersey (1982-83), regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1984-88), and commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (1988-89). In addition, for six years he was a managing director of William E. Simon & Sons, a private investment firm, and since 1996 has operated a brownfields development company, acquiring, remediating and redeveloping environmentally impaired real estate. Just prior to coming to the Dodge Foundation, he was a principal with JM Sorge, Inc., an environmental consulting and management firm providing assessment, investigation and remediation services to the public and private sectors.

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Mike Elmendorf

President and Chief Executive Officer, Associated General Contractors of New York State

Mike Elmendorf was named president and chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of New York State, New York’s leading construction industry association, in February 2011.

Mr. Elmendorf also serves as president of Rebuild NY Now, a broad-based coalition of business, labor, local government and environmental organizations advocating for increased investment in transportation and environmental infrastructure. In the 2016-17 budget cycle, Rebuild NY Now ran a successful campaign to restore parity between the New York State Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Transit Authority capital plans that resulted in record investment in both systems. In the 2017-18 budget cycle, Rebuild NY Now led a campaign that helped secure $2.5 billion for environmental infrastructure across New York State.

Previously, Mr. Elmendorf had served as New York State director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, New York’s largest small business advocacy association, where he lead a resurgence of NFIB/NY.

Prior to joining NFIB, Mr. Elmendorf spent 11 years in the administration of New York Gov. George E. Pataki, including as special assistant to the governor and director of intergovernmental affairs. Mr. Elmendorf was also the lead negotiator for New York State on the historic Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, which was approved by all eight Great Lakes states’ governors and legislatures, the United States Congress and the president, protecting the water resources of the Great Lakes region while balancing the need for economic development and growth.

A longtime community leader, Mr. Elmendorf serves on a number of boards and is a founder of the nationally recognized Colonie Youth Court program.

Photo of HendryAndrew D. Hendry

President and Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey Utilities Association

Andrew D. Hendry is president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Utilities Association, the statewide trade association for investor-owned utilities that provide essential water, wastewater, electric, natural gas and telecommunications services to New Jersey residents and businesses.

Prior to joining NJUA in 2012, Hendry served as the executive director of the New Jersey Senate Majority Office where he oversaw a staff of 30 attorneys, researchers and communications experts. He worked closely with legislative leaders and with Gov. Chris Christie and his senior staff to craft major pieces of legislation, including pension and health benefits reform, restructuring New Jersey’s higher education system and the annual Appropriations Act.

Hendry has also held legislative and government positions for Comcast, the Office of Legislative Services, the Department of Education and the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office.

Currently, Hendry is chairman of the board for the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, and he is a trustee of New Jersey Future.

Jane M. Kenny

Owner and Managing Partner, The Whitman Strategy Group LLC

Jane Kenny is a founder and the managing partner for The Whitman Strategy Group LLC, an all-women firm specializing in environmental and energy issues and government relations. Previously, she has served as a regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she oversaw the agency’s work in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Ms. Kenny has been a top advisor to three governors of New Jersey, and served as New Jersey’s commissioner for the Department of Community Affairs under then-Governor Christie Whitman, where her initiatives included creating new urban redevelopment programs, establishing the nation’s first building rehabilitation code, broadening neighborhood revitalization programs, promoting shared local services, and financing a record number of affordable housing units. She is a visiting associate of the Eagleton Institute of Politics. She serves on the Board of Directors for New Jersey Resources, where she chairs or is a member of several of its committees including its executive committee. She also serves on the executive committees of New Jersey Future and Sustainable Jersey.

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Andrew‎ Kricun

Executive Director and Chief Engineer, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority

Mr. Kricun oversees the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, which operates an 80-million-gallon per day wastewater treatment system in Camden. He has over 30 years of wastewater and biosolids management experience.

Mr. Kricun serves on the board of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and chairs its Clean Water Utility of the Future and Community Service committees. He also serves on the New Jersey Environmental Justice Advisory Committee.

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Photo by Inna Spivakova

Diana Lind

Managing Director, Fels Policy Research Initiative, University of Pennsylvania

Prior to joining the Fels Policy Research Initiative, Diana Lind was the director of digital audience development for Philadelphia Media Network, which owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com. From 2008 to 2014, she served as editor in chief and executive director of Next City, an independent online urban policy website. She began her career as a freelance architecture critic for Architectural Record, authored the book Brooklyn Modern: Architecture, Interiors & Design (Rizzoli, 2008) and received a fellowship from the Van Alen Institute in 2011.

Richard J. Lyons

Executive Director (retired), Albany County, N.Y., Water Purification District

Mr. Lyons worked for the Albany County Water Purification District for more than 42 years and retired in 2015 as the district’s executive director. He now works part time for the district as a project manager. He has been a certified wastewater operator since 1979. He also is the president of the Local Development Corporation that governs the Albany Pool Combined Sewer Overflow/Long Term Control Plan program and in 2016 was appointed by Gov. Cuomo as a non-agency commissioner for New York State to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. He has been an active member of the New York Water Environment Association and Water Environment Federation for over 27 years and is a past president of NYWEA. He continues to volunteer with NYWEA as the senior policy legislative liaison.

Debbie Mans

Baykeeper and Executive Director, NY/NJ Baykeeper

Debbie Mans has been NY/NJ Baykeeper’s baykeeper and executive director since April 2008. Prior to joining the organization, Debbie was the environmental and energy policy advisor for Gov. Jon S. Corzine. She was also appointed by Gov. Corzine to the New Jersey State Planning Commission. Prior to working for the governor, Ms. Mans was the policy director at Baykeeper, a position she held from 2002 through 2006. She is the chair of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters and on the board of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

Mark Mauriello

Director of Environmental Affairs and Planning, Edgewood Properties

Mark Mauriello began his career with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in May 1980 as a project specialist for the New Jersey Geological Survey. He rose through the ranks of the Division of Coastal Resources and Land Use Regulation Division, and was appointed as division director in 2002. In 2006, he was selected by then-DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson to be DEP’s assistant commissioner for land use management. In November 2008 he became DEP commissioner, replacing newly confirmed EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Upon his retirement from DEP in January 2010 he formed his own consulting firm, specializing in coastal zone management, floodplain management, land use regulation and regulatory compliance. In March 2010 he accepted a position as director of environmental affairs and planning with Edgewood Properties, where he is responsible for overseeing the company’s environmental programs and serving as an advisor on regulatory issues and property acquisitions.

Hon. John F. McKeon

Member, New Jersey General Assembly; Attorney and Partner, Hardin, Kundla, McKeon, Poletto

Assemblyman John F. McKeon was first elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 2001 and has recently been elected to his ninth term. He serves as co-chair of the Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and vice-chairman of the Environment and Solid Waste Committee, and is a member of the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. Assemblyman McKeon authored the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act to safeguard thousands of acres of land in the Highlands Region — the source of drinking water for half the state’s residents.

Lisa J. Plevin

Former Chief of Staff. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2

Lisa J. Plevin has played a leadership role in working to protect New Jersey’s environment for over 35 years. Her unique background includes working with environmental nonprofit organizations, serving as an advisor to a U.S. senator who championed numerous landmark environmental laws, and continuing her government service as chief of staff for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2 (comprising New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Throughout her career, Ms. Plevin has continued to advance her expertise in diverse areas of environmental policy making.

Ms. Plevin began her career with Clean Water Action. Over the next six years, her organizing and advocacy efforts helped pass New Jersey’s landmark Clean Water Enforcement Act — the first state law to call for criminal penalties for violations of the Water Pollution Act. She accomplished this by bringing together a powerful coalition of 85 organizations, including labor unions, local chambers of commerce, and business organizations, to push for this important legislation.

In 1990, Ms. Plevin began her 16-year career with U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, first as director of constituent services then as director of projects. From 1999 to 2003 she served as deputy executive director of Elizabeth Development Corporation, where she assisted in managing the non-profit economic development agency, including budget and project development and implementation.

Ms. Plevin returned to Sen. Lautenberg’s staff as deputy state director, where she remained until 2010. In this role she served as his senior advisor and liaison on New Jersey and regional environmental issues, projects and organizations.

Ms. Plevin served as chief of staff for Region 2 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as an appointee of President Obama, from 2010 until January 2017. She functioned as the liaison between the regional administrator and senior leadership of a 900-person regional office, working on a wide variety of environmental programs and projects affecting New Jersey and the entire Region.

Dan Shapley

Water Quality Program Director, Riverkeeper

As water quality program director, Dan Shapley coordinates the largest community science water quality sampling project of its kind, sampling hundreds of locations throughout the Hudson River watershed, primarily to show when and where water is safe for swimming. The data gathered is the basis for advocacy to stop water pollution, by catalyzing needed investments in water infrastructure, enforcing the Clean Water Act, prioritizing the waters that need restoration, and other initiatives. The Water Quality Program is also focused on drinking source water protection, and Riverkeeper’s response to the drinking water contamination crisis in Newburgh, N.Y.

A lifelong Hudson Valley resident, Mr. Shapley joined Riverkeeper as membership and events manager in October 2011, and started as water quality program manager in July 2014. As membership and events manager, Dan helped to create the Riverkeeper Sweep, an annual day of service for the Hudson River, and focused on engaging Riverkeeper’s members in activism and volunteerism.

Mr. Shapley started his career as a reporter, columnist and editor for the Poughkeepsie Journal, where he won numerous awards for writing about the Hudson Valley environment. From 2007 to 2011, he edited TheDailyGreen.com, an award-winning website devoted to green living.

Donald C. Shields P.E.

Vice President and Director of Engineering, New Jersey American Water

New Jersey American Water is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater to approximately 2.7 million people. In his role as vice president and director, Mr. Shields oversees a staff of more than 50 professionals including construction managers, engineers, planners and geographic information systems specialists. He is responsible for delivering the company’s capital investment program of more than $350 million per year.

Mr. Shields has more than 25 years of industry experience, joining American Water in 2001. Prior to his current role, he served as engineering director of new business development for American Water’s Corporate Engineering Group. While there, he supported American Water’s regulated and market-based businesses, offering technical guidance and expertise for project development and execution, including large water, wastewater and solids digestion/management/handling/energy production.

He also spent 10 years at American Water’s former subsidiary, Applied Water Management, where he managed a team of 30 construction managers and engineers. He has significant experience with designing, building and commissioning membrane bio reactors, a key technology used in water reclamation and reuse.

Prior to joining American Water, Mr. Shields spent ten years working for Bergen County Utilities Authority in northern New Jersey, where he worked on capital improvement projects ranging from automated meter systems and force main rehabilitation to wastewater treatment plant upgrades.


Randall Solomon

Executive Director, Sustainable Jersey

Randall Solomon has 20 years of experience working in government, academia, and the non-profit sector. He is one of the principals who founded and directs the Sustainable Jersey certification program. Prior to his current position he was the founder and executive director of the New Jersey Sustainable State Institute at Rutgers University, where he worked to expand the capacity of public decision making to address sustainability. Mr. Solomon’s experience includes positions as a policy advisor on sustainable development for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, integrating land use and energy policy; director of the States Campaign for the Resource Renewal Institute in San Francisco; and policy director for the non-profit New Jersey Future. Other positions include a stint as a national park ranger and serving in the inaugural class of AmeriCorps volunteers. He has participated on advisory boards for federal and state government, civic organizations, and has advised major corporations. He writes and speaks frequently on sustainable development, energy, land use policy, using indicators in public decision making, and governance issues.

Van Abs photoDaniel Van Abs Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Practice for Water, Society & Environment, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University,

Dan Van Abs is an associate professor of practice for water, society & environment in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, where he has worked since 2012. He is a licensed professional planner in New Jersey, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He has served as a gubernatorial appointee to the New Jersey Clean Water Council since 2005 and was its chairman in 2014-2015. He serves on the boards of trustees for the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and the Passaic River Coalition.

Dr. Van Abs was senior director for planning and science with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council from 2007 to 2012. He managed council staff efforts regarding implementation of the Highlands Regional Master Plan. Prior to joining the council, he served as director of watershed protection programs for the New Jersey Water Supply Authority for more than eight years, creating and managing an extensive source water protection program for the Raritan and Manasquan River watersheds. He previously worked with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for over 12 years, with six of those in coastal planning and ground water planning. For six years, he was assistant administrator of the Office of Environmental Planning, with responsibilities for statewide water resources planning along with administrative management. During that time he was responsible for the New Jersey Ground Water Quality Standards, the New Jersey Well Head Protection Program Plan, and the New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan. Dr. Van Abs was technical director of the Passaic River Coalition, a non-profit watershed association, for four years prior to joining NJDEP. He has published many peer-reviewed and conference papers in the watershed management field, and is co-editor with Karen O’Neill of the Rutgers University Press book Taking Chances: The Coast After Sandy (June 2016). He received the 2017 Sustainable Raritan Award for his leadership in water resources management for the Raritan River Basin.

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