2023-24 Board of Trustees -- BACK ROW, left to right: Stephen Sanders, Corey Williams, Diego Rosso, and Pat Nichols. Middle Row, left to right: Christine Volkay-Hilditch, Keith L. Hobson, Howard Carter, and Janet Hurley Cann. FRONT ROW, left to right: Kalpna Solanki, Ifetayo Venner, Aimeé R. Killeen, and Tracy Ekola.

2023-2024 Board of Trustees

The WEF Board of Trustees serves as the governing body of WEF and holds legal authority and fiduciary responsibilities on behalf of the federation and its membership. The Board of Trustees also provide guidance and direction to implement the WEF Strategic Plan.

The Board consists of the president, president-elect, vice president, latest living past president, Treasurer, and six WEF members recommended by the WEF Nominating Committee and confirmed by the House of Delegates – the member advisory body of the Board. The WEF Executive Director serves as Secretary of the Board.

Since 1928, the Water Environment Federation and its members have protected public health and the environment.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization under the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code, §501(c)3 in the State of Illinois.

If you wish to contact a board trustee, please send your request to Renee Kayal at rkayal@wef.org.

Board of Trustees Biographies

Aimeé R. Killeen is the 2023-24 president of the WEF Board of Trustees and a member of the board for the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

Aimeé is currently the COO at Providence Engineering and Environmental Group in Baton Rouge, La. At Providence, Aimeé leads the Air, Water, Waste, Ground Water, Engineering and Remediation teams as their company leader, and is responsible for an awesome team of employee owners.

Aimeé is an active member of the Clean Water Professionals of Louisiana, where she served as president from 2012–13 and currently serves as secretary of the board. She also chairs the MA Public Education Committee, is the MA Stockholm Junior Water Prize representative, and a member of the Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers.

Aimeé spent five years serving WEF in the House of Delegates as a representative of the Louisiana Water Environment Association. During that time, she served as Speaker of the House of Delegates, chaired the Outreach Committee and has been an active member of numerous WEF Committees.

Aimeé has been working in the water profession for more than 25 years, including 10 years as a state regulator. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University.

Updated Feb. 14, 2024

Howard Carter is the president-elect and a member of the 2023-24 Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

Howard is the director of the Water Resource Recovery Department for the cty of Saco, Maine. He is responsible for the daily operations and maintenance, funding, staffing, billing, licensing and construction of the city’s Resource Recovery Facility and 32 pumping stations. He also oversees the implementation of Combined Sewer Overflow Master Plan and any separation or construction projects associated with that.

A WEF member since 1998, Howard spent five years in the WEF House of Delegates as a representative of the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA) and his last year as the speaker of the House. During that time, he has chaired the House Nominating Committee, served on the House Steering Committee, the CLC Steering Committee, along with the WEFMAX, Outreach and Budget committees, and has been a member of most work groups. Additionally, he was a founding member of the New England Operations Challenge team "Pump Fiction" that went on to compete nationally in both Division 1 and 2 for a number of years.

Howard is also an active member of NEWEA, where he served as president in 2010. He is also a past president of the Maine Water Environment Association in 2002.

In addition to receiving numerous WEF Operations Challenge team awards over the years Howard is also a recipient of the William D. Hatfield Award, the Arthur Sidney Bedell Award, A WEF Fellow, a WEF Service Pin Recipient, and a member of the Select Society of Sanitary Shovelers.

Howard is a graduate of both the U.S. Naval Nuclear Piping/Mechanical Apprenticeship program and the Southern Maine Technical College Wastewater Treatment/ Environmental program.

Updated Feb. 14, 2024

Keith L. Hobson is vice president and a member of the WEF Board of Trustees and a member of the 2023-24 Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

Keith is the former president and CEO of Fox Engineering Associates, and currently a Project Manager with FOX Strand in Ames, Iowa, with more than 40 years of experience in environmental engineering as a consultant in the field of environmental engineering for both municipal and industrial clients. He also served with Black & Veatch for more than 13 years and has been involved in design of water and wastewater treatment facilities ranging in capacity from 2 mgd to over 400 mgd.

A WEF member since college, he served as WEF Treasurer from 2019 through 2023 and as speaker of the WEF House of Delegates (HOD) in 2018-2019. He served for two terms on the HOD as a representative of the Iowa Water Environment Association (IAWEA) and as a delegate at large. He has served as chair or vice chair of several workgroups and committees of the HOD, as well as chair of the WEF Audit and Finance committees. He also serves on the WEF Government Affairs Committee.

Keith has been an active member of IAWEA, serving on many committees, chairing the newsletter/publications and financial review committees, and consulting with IDNR on regulatory issues. He also served as chair of the newsletter committee for the Kansas WEA prior to moving to Iowa. He has authored many reports and presented technical papers on various topics in environmental engineering.

Keith holds degrees in civil engineering from Iowa State University (B.S.) and University of Missouri-Columbia (M.S.). He is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) through the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and a member of the Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers. Keith is a registered professional engineer in Iowa and multiple other states. He is a recipient of the Arthur Sidney Bedell Award and the Kenneth J. Miller Founders Award

Updated Feb. 14, 2024

Christine Volkay-Hilditch is the 2023-2026 Treasurer for the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, VA.

Christine is employed as the deputy director of public works/utilities for the city of Lancaster, Pa.  She leads the management and operations of the Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants, and supervises engineering, laboratory, pretreatment, operations, and maintenance staff.

Christine earned her bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Villanova University and her master's in civil engineering from Northeastern University. She also has a master's degree in public administration from Villanova. Christine is a registered Professional Engineer and a Diplomat of the Environmental Engineering Academy.  She holds both a Pennsylvania Sewage Treatment Plant Operator License and a Pennsylvania Waterworks Operator License.

Christine has served in the WEF House of Delegates and has been a member of several workgroups; she chaired the Budget and Operator Outreach committees. She is currently vice chair of the Utility Management Committee.  She is a member of the Pennsylvania Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers, and is a recipient of the Arthur Sidney Bedell Award and the Volunteer Service Award.

Christine is a member of the Pennsylvania Water Environment Association (PWEA) and the Eastern Pennsylvania Water Pollution Control Operators Association (EPWPCOA), and has served as president of both organizations.  She has also chaired the EPWPCOA and PWEA pretreatment committees, and the PWEA Finance Committees.  Christine is also a member of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network and currently serves as its treasurer.  She is also a member of the Delaware County Professional Engineers Society and assisted with the annual MathCounts competition for several years. 

Christine is an avid supporter of operator certification and is an instructor in the Wastewater Operator Training Program at the Delaware County Community College.

Updated Feb. 14, 2024

Ralph Erik Exton became the executive director of the Water Environment Federation on July 15, 2024. He joined WEF from Grundfos, where he served as the water utility vice president and chief marketing officer. With more than three decades of experience, Exton has held key positions at distinguished companies in the water sector, including Suez, Veolia, and GE Water & Process Technologies.

Exton's dedication to WEF extends beyond his professional role. Prior to his appointment as executive director, he had been a committed volunteer for more than a decade, serving on WEF’s Board of Trustees for five years.

During his tenure as a WEF trustee, Exton held the position of Treasurer/Officer for three consecutive years and chaired the Audit Committee. He was also a member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Board Committee and was nominated to the WEF Circular Water Economy Summit Advisory Committee. In recognition of his significant contributions, Exton was honored with the prestigious WEF Fellow Award in October 2023 for his commitment to advancing the global water environment.

In January 2024, Exton joined the Board of The Water Tower, a global water innovation center focused on reimagining the future of water through applied research, technology innovation, workforce development, and industry engagement. He is also the co-founder and board director of Partnering for Impact, a not-for-profit platform that inspires influencers in the water sector to achieve sustainability and resiliency goals, drive equitable economic prosperity, encourage the next generation of professionals, create innovations, and build research and development capacity. Additionally, Exton was the founding co-chair of the AIChE International Society for Water Solutions from 2012-2014. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for BlueTech Research and the Accelerator Judging Team of Imagine H2O.

Exton earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1987. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to protecting the environment and ensuring the sustainability of water, our most precious natural resource.

Last updated July 17, 2024

Ifetayo Venner, P.E., is the immediate past president of, and a member of the 2023-24 Board of Trustees for, the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

Ifetayo is a Professional Engineer and Envision Sustainability professional with Arcadis, a global design and consultancy firm for natural and built assets. She is the North America Wastewater and Water Sustainability Leader.

Ifetayo has been an active member of WEF since joining after college, participating in committees and task forces related to water resource recovery facility design, sustainability and WEF governance. She is a member of the Florida Water Environment Association and the Water Environment Association of Texas.

Ifetayo is a licensed professional engineer in Florida and Texas. She has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from McGill University, a master’s degree in environmental engineering and science from Stanford University, and an MBA (with a concentration in management and sustainability) from the University of South Florida.

Updated Feb. 14, 2024

Janet Hurley Cann, P.E., is a member of the 2023-24 Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

Janet began her career in the environmental field more than 40 years ago as a regulator at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and continued her career in public service working for an upstate South Carolina water and sewer service provider. Upon retiring in 2015, Janet continued to work as a consultant for an Upstate engineering firm, until lured back to public service. Throughout the course of her career, she has managed a variety of projects, including collection system expansion, pump station and treatment plant construction upgrades and the development of a collection system hydraulic model. She concluded her career, retiring in 2023, with a focus on the rehabilitation of both distribution and collection systems, asset management, strategic planning, and grant writing.

Janet is in fact a second generation WEF member – her father, Noel Hurley, represented the Water Environment Association of South Carolina (WEASC) as Director, a forerunner to the Delegate, in the late 1980s. She has been a member of the WEASC since 1985 and WEF since 1987.

Janet has held many leadership roles, including service on numerous WEASC committees, the Association Secretary from 1987 to 2003, as President from 2009-2010, and WEF Delegate from 2010-2013. She has participated on several WEF Committees and served WEF as Speaker of the House of Delegates from 2013-2014, Treatment Community of Practice Director from 2015-2017, and Vice Chair and Chair of the Committee Leadership Council from 2017-2021.

Janet is a native of South Carolina, currently residing in Spartanburg, SC, with her husband and two children. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Clemson University and Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of South Carolina. She is a licensed engineer and biological wastewater operator trainee in the state of South Carolina.

Updated Feb. 14, 2024


Tracy Ekola, PE is a member of the 2023-24 Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Va. 

Tracy serves as vice president and Midwest senior director for Brown and Caldwell. As an executive with more than 30 years of experience in environmental engineering and business leadership, Tracy provides clear, effective communication and collaboration to maintain a positive forward-thinking environment. Her leadership experience has focused on organizational strategy, innovation and utility performance, regional and national market analyses, risk management, project management improvement processes, succession planning and leadership training and development.

With an extensive background in planning, design, and construction of wastewater treatment facilities, she has worked in various roles from on-site engineer to key leadership roles in both public-sector and private/employee-owned organizations.  She has worked with industrial clients and public utilities addressing regulatory challenges, technology evaluation, developing innovative utility management approaches, program delivery/implementation, and capital improvement program development.

Tracy has been an active member of WEF and the Central States Water Environment Association (CSWEA), participating in various committees and leadership roles spanning almost three decades. Tracy has served on the WEF House of Delegates as a delegate at large and a second term as a delegate for CSWEA.  She served on the WEF House of Delegates (HOD) Budget Committee and multiple HOD workgroups.  She has served as the conveyance and watershed community director and recently as Director for multiple task forces for the Community Leadership Council.  She has also served on multiple WEF committees, including Government Affairs, Utility Management, and Program communities.

Tracy also has been an active participant in guiding local, state, and national level regulations. In collaboration with utilities and supporting organizations, she has provided input on various topics related to water quality, wastewater treatment, biosolids management, and land application to strive for cost-effective, innovative solutions that are protective of the environment.  Collaboration is key to her success in working alongside utilities and their industry partners to evaluate scenarios that benefit the community, stakeholders, and industry partners.

Tracy graduated with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and Executive Education Vistage International at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She resides in Minnesota with her husband, who works for the state of Minnesota in natural resources and forestry planning. They enjoy working and playing in the great outdoors along with their two sons, who are employed as electrical and mechanical engineers. 

Updated Feb. 14, 2024

Diego Rosso

is a member of the 2023-24 Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

Diego is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and of Chemical Engineering and Material Science at the University of California, Irvine, where he is also Director of the Water-Energy Nexus (WEX) Center. He is Principal Investigator of the Environmental Process Laboratory, which is a process engineering research unit focusing on water reclamation and reuse. Diego is also responsible for coordinating the research activities of the WEX Center, which is the converging point of multiple faculty and industrial partners, working together on fundamental and applied research that involved student research and training. He teaches courses on process design, physical-chemical treatment, carbon and energy footprint analysis of water, and a seminar on bubbles. He has published more than 200 between journal and conference, and has published the book on aeration, mixing, and energy (Bubbles & Sparks).

Since 2000, Diego has been investigating aeration systems and the water-energy-carbon nexus of water reclamation and reuse processes. His research work is centered on wastewater aeration and on the energy requirements for aerating efficiently. Both in research and professional practice, he is engaged in field work and has been testing treatment facilities in four continents. He is a Chemical Engineering Laureate (2002) from the University of Padua in Italy and holds Civil Engineering M.S. (2003) and Ph.D. (2005) from UCLA.

Diego has been an active member of WEF and of the California WEA and has been a member since he was a student. He has participated in various MA conferences and in WEFTEC as student, postdoctoral scholar, and professor. In addition, he has presented at international events supported by WEF, as WEF Ambassador, including several ACODAL conferences in Colombia and IWA WRRmod in France. After joining the WEFTEC Program Committee, he led the Municipal Symposium before taking the Chair of the WEFTEC Program Committee in 2018. During his tenure in the Program Committee, he helped transform the program of WEFTEC and WEFTEC Connect, and has been a champion for new modes of content delivery, such as the mobile sessions, knowledge development forums, or foreign language programming.

When WEF assembled the Academic Engagement Task Force, Diego joined and helped the Federation and its research journal (Water Environment Research) promote the engagement of students, faculty, and researchers from academia and industry. In addition, he participated in other WEF activities, including the Fracking Task Group and the Knowledge Development Forum on Intelligent Water Technology Solutions for Disinfection and Public Health Protection and Water Security.

Updated Feb. 14, 2024

Stephen Sanders is a 2023-24 member of the WEF Board of Trustees and the director and head trainer of the Environmental Training Center at SUNY-Morrisville College in New York.  The center provides pre-certification training for wastewater and drinking water operators, as well as for New York State Department of Conservation regulators. He has been training operators for more than 10 years and has grown the program to the largest of its kind in New York state.  He is a dedicated water professional, certified as a licensed wastewater and drinking water operator and certified instructor for New York state. He has more than 20 years of experience in the field from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Stephen has served on the initial WEF diversity, equity and inclusion task force and subsequent committee, as well as the WEFTEC Advisory Board. He helped establish his member association’s (the New York Water Environment Association) DE&I committee and served as its first chairperson. He also serves on New York state’s Operator Certification Governance Council, New York Section AWWA Board of Governors, and as the chair for NYSAWWA Operators committee.

Updated Feb. 14, 2024

Kalpna Solanki is a 2023-24 member of the WEF Board of Trustees.

Kalpna has a passion for strategy, culture, and purpose, and believes that all organizations have the potential of going from "good" to "great."

In her last role as the president and chief executive of the Environmental Operators Certification Program, she propelled the organization forward to become a "best of class" water/wastewater facility classification and operator certification organization.

She has a proven track record of building high-performance teams, developing innovative solutions, and creating value for stakeholders.

Kalpna has more than 25 years of board experience across multiple organizations and currently sits on her 12th and 13th boards.

Kalpna is a certified water professional, and also holds a certificate in strategy from Harvard Business School, a bachelor's and a master's degree in business administration from Simon Fraser University, as well as a degree in environmental health (magna cum laude) from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

She is a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, Water Professionals International’s Robert C. McAnespie Award, and the BCIT Distinguished Alumni Award for Entrepreneurial Innovation.

Updated June 7, 2024

Corey Williams is a member of the 2023-24 Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Va. 

Corey currently serves as president and CEO of SmartCover Systems, the innovation leader for intelligent, real-time sewer monitoring systems. Prior to his role at SmartCover, Corey served as the CEO of a Suez subsidiary, Optimatics; as vice president and general manager of Inflection Point Solutions, a software development and management consulting firm also serving the water industry; and at Black and Veatch as the director of environmental information systems.  

A WEF member for his over 30-year career, Corey has guided multiple companies, engaged in advisory board positions for startups, and served as project manager or executive in charge of more than 125 projects for water and wastewater utilities throughout the United States, Australia and Europe.  Corey has authored more than 75 papers in IT, OT, IoT, and the smart water and innovation space for the water industry.   

Corey is active in many professional associations and has been the co-principal investigator in research initiatives related to the application of technology to drive business value in utilities.  He is the co-founder and moderator of both the Water and Wastewater CIO and CFO Forums. He founded these forums with the mission of bringing together innovative water and wastewater utility leaders from all over the country and creating a valuable space for knowledge transfer and networking.

Corey earned a B.S in civil engineering from Kansas State University.

Updated Feb. 14, 2024

A history of the leadership of the Water Environment Federation, from its inception in 1928 as the Federation of Sewage Works Association to the present day.

list of WEF Past Officers (pdf)