Speakers


Photo of George Hawkinds Keynote Address

George S. Hawkins, Esq. Founder and President, Moonshot LLC and Moonshot Missions

George Hawkins launched his innovation-focused enterprises Moonshot LLC and Moonshot Missions after stepping down as CEO and General Manager of DC Water, where he served for eleven years.  George helps agencies identify and adopt strategies to deliver better service and lower cost.

George transformed DC Water into an innovative enterprise while tripling its investment in clean water.  DC Water’s innovations ranged from Green Infrastructure to a $500 million investment in clean energy.  DC Water issued the first century bond, first environmental impact bond, and spearheaded programs to support low income customers.

George serves on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, which advises the White House.  George is an advisor to Xylem, Inc. and is an Executive in Residence for XPV Water Partners. George serves on the Boards of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and the US Water Alliance.  George also serves as a Professor of Practice for American University.

Mr. Hawkins also served as Director of the DC Department of the Environment and as Director of non-profit organizations and held positions with the US EPA and the firm Ropes & Gray.

George is a popular speaker on water, infrastructure and environmental issues.  He has been the recipient of many awards, including the AWWA’s Fuller Award for Leadership and Innovation, Governing Magazine’s Public Official of the Year in 2015, WEF Public Official of the Year in 2016, and the Water Leader of the Year Prize in 2017.  DC Water was awarded the US Water Prize in 2016.

He graduated from Princeton University (Summa Cum Laude) and from Harvard Law School (Cum Laude). 


photo of Kareem AdeemKareem Adeem Acting Director, City of Newark Department of Water & Sewer Utilities

Acting Director Adeem is a Newark native who began working for the City of Newark in 1991 in the Department of Engineering and has moved up the ladder in his field. In 2013, Acting Director Adeem was promoted to Superintendent of Public Works, where he oversaw daily maintenance operations of the Department of Water & Sewer Utilities. He was appointed to his present position in 2018. Acting Director Adeem will receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management from Thomas Edison University in 2020. In 2018 he received his certification as a Public Works Manager and in 2015 he received his certification as a Public Manager from Rutgers University. Adeem is also a National Certified Storm Sewer Inspector, National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO), Certified Pipeline Assessment & Certification Program (PACP), and Manhole Assessment & Certification Program (MACP) Sewer Inspector, and holds a NJ DEP Water & Waste Water Operators license. He was a key player in various municipal projects, including the Queen Ditch Restoration Project, which helped address chronic flooding along Frelinghuysen Avenue that has plagued the area for more than 30 years. Now, Acting Director Adeem is credited with helping to rebrand the Department of Water & Sewer Utilities and upgrading the City’s infrastructure as the City works to replace every lead service line. He is a dedicated public servant who has, and continues to, give back to his native community.


photo of Ana BaptistaAna Baptista Assistant Professor of Professional Practice & Chair of Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management Program, The New School University

Ana is the Chair of the Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management graduate program and an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School University. She also serves as the Director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School. Prior to The New School she served as the Director of Environmental Justice and Community Development at the community based non-profit, Ironbound Community Corporation, in her hometown of Newark, NJ. Ana’s professional practice is focused on advancing environmental justice through collaborative work with communities on issues ranging from cumulative impacts, air pollution, and waste systems. Her current research includes studies on state-level climate justice policies, municipal zoning and planning measures for environmental justice, and zero waste policies. Ana serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ironbound Community Corporation, the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (NJEJA), the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and the Victoria Foundation.


Gary Brune Policy Manager, New Jersey Future

Gary Brune’s primary focus areas at New Jersey Future are stormwater utilities and lead in drinking water, with ancillary work on energy issues and water financing policy. Prior to joining New Jersey Future, Gary was the chief financial officer at the New Jersey Department of Transportation. He also served as the executive director of the Transportation Trust Fund, developing policy options for program reauthorization. Prior to DOT, Gary worked at the New Jersey Office of Management and Budget, rising to the position of associate director. At OMB, he was responsible for developing budget recommendations for transportation, environmental protection, and capital/infrastructure, among other areas. During this time, Gary also served on the New Jersey Commission on Capital Budgeting and Planning. Gary received a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Dayton in Ohio and Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York.


photo of Rich CalbiRich Calbi Director of Operations, Ridegewood Water

Rich is responsible for the multifaceted management position of water utility (Ridgewood
Water). He is the Director for Ridgewood Water; one of the 25 largest utilities in the state, servicing over 61,000 customers in four municipalities. Rich is a licensed professional engineer and planner, with over 20 years’ experience. The hallmark of his career has been the last four years with Ridgewood, advancing good government policies with sound engineering principles, to provide safe drinking water from a complex groundwater system.


photo of Chris DaggettChris Daggett Former President & CEO, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

Chris Daggett is the former President and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, serving from 2010-2018. Mr. Daggett has been a leader for more than 35 years in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, serving as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Thomas Kean, Regional Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. In addition, he was a managing director of William E. Simon & Sons, a private investment firm, and operated a brownfields development company. He was also a Principal with JM Sorge, Inc., an environmental consulting and management firm. Immediately prior to joining the Foundation, Mr. Daggett ran as an independent candidate for governor of New Jersey. Mr. Daggett has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including Hudson River Foundation, Schumann Fund for New Jersey, President’s Advisory Council of Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, ArtYard, Regional Plan Association, Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Somerset Hills YMCA, and NJ Advisory Committee of the Trust for Public Land. Mr. Daggett holds a Bachelor of Arts with honors in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


photo of Danielle DenkDanielle Denk Program Director, Parks for People Camden, The Trust for Public Land

Danielle started the Parks for People Philadelphia and Camden programs at The Trust for Public Land. The Trust for Public Land is a U.S. nonprofit organization with a mission to create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. The Parks for People program aims to advance community cohesion, climate resiliency and community health through the development of community places such as parks, green schoolyards, green alleys and trails in the public realm. With over 20 years’ experience in public space and green infrastructure design and development, Danielle focuses on creative community empowerment through sustainable design, development and stewardship. Danielle has a degree in architecture and urban design from Kent State University and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from The University of Pennsylvania.


photo of Melissa ElliotMelissa Elliot Director of Strategic Communication Services, Raftelis

Melissa Elliott’s career is focused on helping water and wastewater utilities tell their stories. She is the Director of Strategic Communication Services at Raftelis where she consults with utilities to provide communication planning, stakeholder engagement and risk communications. Prior to joining Raftelis, Melissa directed public relations departments at two large Colorado utilities–Denver Water and Aurora Water. All that utility experience means she’s worked with the public on issues as diverse as drought, water quality, potable reuse, affordability, rate structure change, massive infrastructure projects, and customer assistance programs. Being AWWA President-Elect has given Melissa a new avenue to elevate the conversation about the value of the services utilities provide. As a public relations practitioner working in the highly technical water sector, Melissa makes it her mission to push those around her to stop being so humble about the essential work we do. She says if we want others to understand our challenges and support the infrastructure investments we must make, we need to build relationships with the people and communities we serve and talk about the value we provide.


photo of Amy GoldsmithAmy Goldsmith State Director, Clean Water Action

Amy has been a professional environmental advocate since 1979 starting with nuclear waste and power plant safety issues in the Midwest. She has been with Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund since 1985, first as New England Director and Massachusetts Director and then as NJ State Director starting in 1992 – working on the vanguard of water, waste, energy, environmental justice, diesel, climate, healthy schools and toxics policies, as well as efforts to make democracy work to protect public health and the environment. She has organized and led a wide variety of grassroots and national coalitions, educational programs and public empowerment campaigns. Serves on many boards including NJ Work Environment Council, Coalition for Healthy Ports, and NJDEP’s Clean Water Council. Previously coordinated Public Health Institute’s (PHI) Jobs and Environment Training Consortium bringing union workers, communities and environmentalists together to find common ground. Ms. Goldsmith has a B.S. in Land Use Planning from the University of Minnesota and served for three years as a research scientist with the U of M’s Entomology Department. Received 2004 Environmental Achievement Award from NJ Governor McGreevey.


Jennifer Gonzalez Director of Environmental Services/Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Hoboken

As the Chief Sustainability Officer and a Principal Planner, Gonzalez advances capital projects in areas including rainfall flood mitigation, energy, drinking water, natural resources, and composting. She manages the Northwest Resiliency Park design process and priority upgrades in Hoboken’s aging drinking water system. Before joining the City of Hoboken in 2016, Gonzalez was a Principal Planner with the consulting firm Louis Berger, where she helped to develop the Hoboken Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan and post-Hurricane Sandy resiliency plans for communities throughout New York. She also served as an Environmental Planner with the County of Passaic, New Jersey. Gonzalez earned her M.A. in Environmental Policy from Lehigh University. She is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), a licensed professional planner (PP) in the state of New Jersey, and a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM).


Photo of Andy KricunAndrew Kricun Executive Director and Chief Engineer, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority

Mr. Kricun operates an 80 million gallon per day wastewater treatment facility located in Camden. He has over 30 years of experience in wastewater and biosolids management. Mr Kricun holds a professional engineer’s license in Civil Engineering, and is a board certified member of the American Association of Environmental Engineers. He serves on the board of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and is the chair of its Utility of the Future and its Community Service committees. He was the 2012 recipient of the Praxis award for professional ethics, and has received three environmental quality awards from the U.S. EPA.


Gabriel Mahon Principal Environmental Engineer, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Gabriel Mahon, P.E. graduated from Lafayette College in 2004 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and he is currently a licensed professional engineer in both Pennsylvania and Delaware. He spent the first 12 years of his professional career working in the NJDEP Division of Land Use Regulation as an environmental engineer responsible for reviewing the engineering aspects of Land Use Regulation applications to ensure compliance with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, Coastal Zone Management Rules, Stormwater Management rules, and Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules. For the last 3 years, he has been working in the NJDEP Division of Water Quality, where he is now the Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control (BNPC). As the Bureau Chief of BNPC, he is responsible for managing the NJPDES industrial stormwater permitting program, the NJPDES discharge to ground water program, the onsite wastewater management (septic system) program, and the municipal stormwater regulation program, which includes the Stormwater Management rules (N.J.A.C. 7:8) and the NJPDES municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permitting program.


photo of Meishka MitchellMeishka Mitchell Vice President, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership

Meishka has established herself as a leader in the community, equally respected by government officials, community partners, city residents, and her peers. Drawing on her background as a Camden native, as well as her education and experience, she brings a keen and unique perspective to her work in community planning and neighborhood revitalization at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. Meishka joined the Cooper’s Ferry Partnership staff as a graduate intern in 2003 and took the helm as the Vice President of Neighborhood Initiatives in 2010. Meishka has played a key role in broadening Cooper’s Ferry Partnership ‘s mission to address planning and redevelopment efforts in Camden’s neighborhoods, overseeing the development of plans and implementation of key neighborhood projects with a high level of community input and participation. Meishka has managed the implementation of numerous critical infrastructure and park improvement projects and is instrumental in Camden’s innovative sustainability and placemaking initiatives. Meishka has a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Meishka is also certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners and maintains a Professional Planners license with the State of New Jersey.


photo of Chris ObroptaChris Obropta Extension Specialist in Water Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Christopher C. Obropta, Ph.D., P.E. is the Extension Specialist in Water Resources with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and he is a Professor with the Department of Environmental Sciences at the School of Environmental & Biological Sciences, Rutgers University. He has a doctorate in Civil Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, an M.S. in Civil Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Rutgers, Dr. Obropta was an environmental consultant for 12 years at Omni Environmental Corporation. Dr. Obropta has a background in watershed management, water quality modeling, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, and coastal engineering. His specific experience includes watershed restoration, onsite wastewater treatment system design and management, wasteload allocations and TMDL studies, stormwater management, wetland design, effluent dilution analyses, longshore sediment transport, computer-aided design, and geographic information systems (GIS). He teaches Bioresource Engineering Design I & II, where he directs student design teams to develop solutions to complex real-life engineering problems. With his extensive and impressive background Dr. Obropta leads his highly specialized team of professional staff who are determined to create innovative solutions to water quality issues in New Jersey.


Angel Osorio Chief Executive Officer, Camden District Council Collaborative Board

Ms. Osorio has worked for the last 10 years as a Community Outreach and Crime-Prevention Specialist. In 2004, she was appointed by a Blue Ribbon Commission of policing experts to design, implement and oversee a community-policing model in the City of Camden. The plan resulted in the creation and implementation of the District Council Collaborative Board. The organization works to improve public safety and quality of life through a comprehensive process of community outreach, data collection, data analysis and the use of problem-solving strategies. The District Council Collaborative Board operates using cutting edge interactive mapping technology and communications systems that anonymously transmit intelligence from the community to law enforcement and other information about physical blight that impacts safety to the various city departments and agencies responsible. In addition, Mrs. Osorio has extensive experience in the reduction of juvenile delinquency and has developed several programs, academic and vocational curricula and recreational activities, has worked with several undergraduate and graduate interns in providing many of the city’s youth with the skills and tools necessary to succeed.


photo of Anthony PerryAnthony Perry Mayor, Middletown Township

Anthony S. Perry joined the Township Committee in 2017. He is currently serving as Mayor for 2019. Prior to joining the Township Committee, Mayor Perry was a member of the Middletown Township Planning Board. He was also a trustee of the Middletown Township Library Board. After graduating from Temple University, Committeeman Perry joined the Sandy Recovery Division of the Governor’s Office coordinating recovery efforts with FEMA, the Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. He also served as Chief of Staff to Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos from 2014-2018.


Kandyce Perry Planning and Policy Manager, New Jersey Future

Kandyce manages New Jersey Future’s Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure program, which assists communities, developers, and design professionals in using green stormwater infrastructure. Kandyce also coordinates the Green Infrastructure Committee of the Jersey Water Works collaborative, which is working to upgrade New Jersey’s water infrastructure with cost-effective, sustainable solutions, and she coordinates the City of Trenton’s Municipal Action Team for community engagement and outreach on green infrastructure. Prior to joining New Jersey Future, Kandyce worked on brownfield redevelopment at the City of Camden Redevelopment Agency. Kandyce holds a master’s degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Spelman College.


photo of Tom ShrobaTom Shroba Vice President of Operations, New Jersey American Water

Tom Shroba is Vice President of Operations for New Jersey American Water, 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 this role, he oversees all New Jersey American Water operations including Water and Wastewater Treatment, Transmission and Distribution, Field Services, SCADA, Water Quality and Environmental Compliance, Operational Risk Management, Customer Advocacy and Metering. He also provides strategic input into statewide growth and development opportunities and continue to support the company’s commitment to safety for its employees and customers. With nearly 30 years of experience at American Water, Shroba has served in various operations and engineering leadership roles including Distribution supervisor, Transmission and Distribution superintendent, Network Operations superintendent and Field Operations manager. Most recently, he served as senior director of Operations for the company’s North region, in which he was responsible for maintaining water operating systems serving 32 municipalities and managing a staff of 100 union and non-union employees. Shroba earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, N.J. He holds a Professional Engineer certification and T-2 and W-2 licenses from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.


photo of Troy SingletonTroy Singleton New Jersey State Senator (LD7)

Senator Singleton began his career as Legislative Director for New Jersey Assemblymen Herb Conaway and Jack Conners in the district he would come to represent. He served as Deputy Executive Director of the New Jersey General Assembly Majority Office and Chief of Staff under Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, Jr. In 2011, he was elected to his first term in the New Jersey General Assembly, representing the 7th Legislative District. Elected to the New Jersey Senate in 2017, Troy now serves on the Senate Community & Urban Affairs (Chair), Economic Growth (Vice Chair) and the Budget & Appropriations Committees. His primary focus remains on job creation, economic development and the needs of New Jersey’s working families.


photo of George ValloneGeorge Vallone President, Hoboken Brownstone Company

The Hoboken Brownstone Company renovates brownstones and row houses and builds mid- and hi-rise condominiums in Hoboken and Jersey City. George Vallone’s general contracting company, Inner City Construction, Inc., has built more than 1,000 units of affordable housing for non-profit groups and for-profit housing corporations in Paterson, Newark and Trenton. Mr. Vallone is a past president of the New Jersey Builders’ Association and chairman of NJBA’s Mixed-Use Developers affiliate. He has taught real estate finance and risk management at the Rutgers Graduate School of Business, the New Jersey Redevelopment Agency, the Rutgers Cook College Continuing Education series, and the New Jersey Bar Association’s Institute for Continuing Legal Education. He lectures extensively on real estate topics involving finance, joint venturing, structured seller-financed development, risk management, green building and brownfield redevelopment.


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