Introducing the WEF Circular Water Economy Summit 2024 Advisory Panel

As we navigate the transformative journey toward a sustainable and resilient future, the Circular Water Economy Summit (CWES) 2024 is proud to highlight its Advisory Panel – a distinguished collective of thought leaders, industry pioneers, and sustainability champions. This esteemed group of 30 members is at the forefront of shaping our summit's vision, ensuring that CWES 2024 not only addresses the pressing challenges within the water sector, but also seizes the opportunities for innovation and growth in the circular water economy.

This advisory panel functions as a dynamic group of experts, comprised of industrial and municipal water thought leaders from globally recognized companies. Their insights and expertise are instrumental in guiding the development and programming of CWES 2024, aligning our strategic focus with the needs of the industry and the planet. From exploring solutions to industrial water challenges to fostering the development of circular water systems and the commercialization of emerging products, their contributions are vital to our mission.

We look forward to welcoming you to an event that promises to be a catalyst for change, innovation, and collaboration.

Brian Arntsen

Brian Arnsten edited.pngArnsten attended the Catholic University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, graduating with an agricultural engineering degree in 1985, and has a postgraduate degree in business management at the I.A..E Buenos Aires in 1994.

Arntsen joined Lockwood & Co. in 1985, holding assignments in engineering, project execution and procurement departments, becoming CEO from 1996-2002. He joined Zenon Environmental Inc. (Canada) in 2002 as director for Latin America. In 2006 as part of the Zenon acquisition, he joined GE Water & Process Technologies, holding several leadership positions.

In 2017 as part of GE Water acquisition, he joined SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions as global domain leader UFMB and, in 2020, he was promoted to global domain sales leader. As part of the SUEZ acquisition, he joined Veolia Water Technologies and Solutions as global domain sales leader. From 2001-2003 he was section director of the Argentine Association of Sanitary Engineering Environmental Sciences. Since 2014 he has been a member of the Industrial Wastewater Committee (IWWC) at the Water Environmental Federation (WEF), and a member of the organizing committee and wastewater session chair at the Food & Beverage Environmental Conference (FBEC).

From 2017-2020, Arntsen was the IWCC Food and Beverage subcommittee chairman. In 2020, he was appointed vice chairman of IWCC and, in October 2022, became chairman.

Arntsen has published more than two dozen papers and has been a speaker in more than 30 conferences and symposiums during his 38-year career.

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Omer Bab edited.pngOmer Bab

Bab is director of trade and regulatory policy at the embassy of Israel in the United States. In his role, Omer leads bilateral collaborations in environment, tech & trade policy; regulatory affairs and export controls. He is a leading partner of the U.S.-Israel Collaboration on Water Reuse.

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Charles Bott edited.pngCharles B. Bott, Ph.D., PE, BCEE

Bott joined HRSD in 2009 and is the Chief Technology Officer.  He manages technology innovation and research and development for HRSD’s wastewater treatment plants and interceptor system. 

Bott also is an adjunct professor in the departments of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and Old Dominion University.  He was formerly an associate professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at the Virginia Military Institute, as well as a consulting engineer with Parsons Engineering Science. 

Bott earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering from Virginia Tech. 

Bott is a fellow of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Bay Program Executive Council, and a member of the National Science Foundation Engineering Directorate Advisory Committee.  He is a professional engineer in Virginia, a board certified Environmental Engineer, and a licensed wastewater treatment plant operator – Virginia Class I. 

Bott is a two-time winner of the WEF Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal for outstanding contribution to wastewater principles/processes research, and he was a previous member of the WEF Board of Trustees. 

His technical interests include municipal and industrial wastewater treatment process engineering, as well as renewable energy generation and resource efficiency.  He has specific expertise in the areas of advanced water treatment technologies, chemical and biological phosphorus removal, nitrification/denitrification, nutrient recovery, deammonification/anammox, biological treatment process modeling and design, and biogas conditioning.  Important areas of focus include mainstream shortcut nitrogen removal, processes for biological treatment intensification, and technologies for potable reuse.

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Rob Eddy edited.pngRob Eddy

Eddy is the technical director for the Resource Innovation Institute, a USDA-funded nonprofit agency that validates resource efficiency benchmarks and educates the controlled environment agriculture industry on best practices for reducing energy, water consumption and agricultural emissions.

Eddy is currently leading a working group of industry and academic experts on water circularity in greenhouses, indoor farms, vertical farms and grow pods. He has more than 30 years of experience in plant growth facility management, plant research and commercial production.

At Purdue University, Eddy brought online and managed a computer-controlled, 40,000-square-foot research facility made up of 25 greenhouses and more than 60 growth chambers and grow rooms. He was responsible for hundreds of CEA studies involving flowering, food and medicinal species. He served on design teams for greenhouse projects and one of the first automated machine-vision phenotyping centers in the country.

In his consulting role, Eddy supported major hydroponic produce growers AeroFarms and Bright Farms; Big Ag companies Dow AgroSciences, Novozymes and Indigo Ag; and several cannabis operations including Clade9. He wrote cultivation plans for cannabis licenses awarded in Missouri and West Virginia.

Eddy's protocols for optimizing greenhouse production have been downloaded over 70,000 times in 104 countries. He participated in the publication, A Practical Guide to Containment: Plant Biosafety in Research Greenhouses, recognized throughout the world as a primary resource for safe production of genetically modified crops. In 2016, he was a member of the International Committee for Controlled Environment Guidelines that published Guidelines for Measuring and Reporting Environmental Parameters for Experiments in Greenhouse Facilities, the seminal document of quality assurance protocols for plant science research.

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Ralph Exton edited.pngRalph Exton

Exton joined Grundfos in November 2022 as VP - Water Utility and Chief Marketing Officer, where he is the global leader for Solutions and Marketing, Product Management, and Business Development.

Prior to Grundfos, Exton was a member of the overall Suez Top Executive (TOPEX) team and was responsible for providing leadership and program direction for SUEZ–Water Technologies & Solutions in the areas of: strategic marketing activities, communications, business development, digital, and business strategy. He also led several integration workstreams for the merger with Veolia.

For 16 years, Exton worked for GE Water & Process Technologies in a Senior Executive capacity and served for six years as CMO. Exton joined the business in 1994 and held numerous roles with increased responsibility for product management, commercial operations, business development, channel strategy, digital marketing, global sales management, global key accounts, digital IoT and M&A projects.

During his time with GE, he was also the business program manager for a renowned leadership development program, which were designed to recruit, develop, and grow future commercial leaders.

Exton was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals, for five years (2012-2017), where he served as Treasurer/Officer for three consecutive years and chaired the Audit committee. He was elected to the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Board Committee in 2020 and is currently serving in this capacity. In 2023 he was nominated to join the WEF Circular Economy Advisory Committee. In October 2023, Ralph was awarded the esteemed WEF Fellow Award for his contributions to the global water environment.

In January 2024, Exton joined the Board of The Water Tower (TWT). TWT is a global water innovation center focused on reimagining the future of water by providing and facilitating solutions in applied research, technology innovation, workforce development, and industry engagement.

Exton is the Co-Founder and Board Director of Partnering for Impact (PFI), a not-for-profit platform for influencers inspiring 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.

Exton was also the founding co-chair of the AIChE International Society for Water Solutions from 2012-14. Additionally, he is currently a member of the Advisory Board for BlueTech Research, and on the Accelerator Judging Team of Imagine H2O.

He has frequently been asked to speak and keynote at industry events and has participated in several think tanks and thought leadership sessions on the importance of global water issues. Exton earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1987. Ralph has 37 years of experience in the water sector and has dedicated his career to the protection of the environment and sustainability of our most precious natural resource: water.

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Haley Falconer

Haley Falconer edited.pngFalconer is the Environmental Division senior manager for the City of Boise, Idaho. In this role, Haley is responsible for the development and implementation of the city’s long term strategic plan and capital improvement plan for water renewal, managing regulations and water quality, and developing the city’s innovative recycled water program.

She earned a B.S. in civil engineering from North Dakota State University and an M.S. in environmental engineering from Washington State University. She practiced wastewater engineering for a private consulting firm in Boise before joining the City of Boise. When not working, Haley enjoys exploring Idaho with her spouse, three young children, and rambunctious rescue pup.

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Max Gangestad

Max Gangstad edited.pngGangestad is the chief operating officer at Gross-Wen Technologies, where he meticulously oversees the day-to-day operations. His dedication is rooted in his fervent pursuit of holistic and sustainable solutions within the water sector, leveraging his profound expertise in nutrient and nutrient recovery.

Max earned his degree in Agricultural Engineering from Iowa State University, with a specialization in addressing non-point source pollution. His upbringing instilled in him a profound passion for the Circular Economy of Water, driving his commitment to making a substantial difference in the industry.

With a keen eye for detail and a strategic approach, Max is at the forefront of innovation, constantly striving to integrate cutting-edge practices into the operations of Gross-Wen Technologies. His leadership is characterized by a blend of vision, technical prowess, and unwavering dedication to environmental stewardship.

Max Gangestad's journey is marked by a relentless pursuit of excellence, guided by his unwavering belief in the transformative power of sustainable practices within the water sector. Through his leadership, Gross-Wen Technologies continues to lead the charge towards a more resilient and environmentally conscious future.

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Jeff Guild

Jeff Guild edited.pngGuild is an internationally recognized expert on water technologies and their markets, with over 25 years’ of commercial and technical experience gained from engagements with start-ups, investors and large corporations in the dynamic global water space. He is globally connected and uniquely positioned to advise companies on their technology portfolios and future innovation strategies. Jeff has worked with global Fortune 500 corporates including P&G, BHP, L’Oréal, Unilever, Samsung and PepsiCo. Jeff has also advised many leading utilities such as Metro Vancouver, DC Water, OCWD, Singapore PUB and Severn Trent Water, helping them create business and asset management plans.

A business strategist and water industry leader who knows how to impact the bottom line, Guild has advised businesses with wastewater treatment technologies, has led technology acquisition and integration projects, and has structured and negotiated strategic alliances, joint ventures and licensing agreements. Jeff has managed technology scale-ups, executed technology commercialization projects, and has held senior process engineering and project management roles in both the municipal and industrial market sectors.

Guild is widely recognized for his expertise in market analysis and ability to identify growth opportunities. He has successfully worked with numerous venture-backed water companies and has assisted a number of Venture Capital and Private Equity funds such as XPV Capital, True North Venture Partners, SKion and Emerald Ventures, helping them identify water sector investment opportunities.

Guild also advises companies on acquisitions, running comprehensive due diligence projects to assess assets, liabilities and evaluate commercial potential. He has supported Morgan Stanley, Baird Capital, Novozymes, Hitachi, DuPont, Siemens, and 25Madison, to name a few.

Guild is currently Vice President at BlueTech Research, the leading global water market intelligence firm and definitive source for insight, data and news on the transformation of the water sector. He leads the client relations and market expansion portfolios, and enjoys providing corporate foresight to support the needs of BlueTech members.

Guild earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Bio-Resource Engineering and a Master of Applied Science in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He has authored several published papers, has delivered numerous presentations at water and wastewater conferences, and is a co-author for the Humana Press “Handbook of Environmental Engineering” series. Jeff is an active member of WEF and volunteers time in a mentoring capacity to a variety of accelerators, funds and SMEs in the water space.

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Matt Howard

Matt Howard edited.pngHoward oversees The Water Council’s stewardship initiatives including WAVE: Water Stewardship Verified, water stewardship advisory services and comprehensive professional water stewardship training. TWC helped establish the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) System globally with specific oversight of North America.

Howard created the world’s first professional credentialing program for water stewardship professionals and made the business case for use of the International Water Stewardship Standard (“AWS Standard”) in the North American marketplace. His 15-plus years in sustainability program development and management include serving as Milwaukee’s sustainability director and leading sustainable manufacturing initiatives during his time in Washington, D.C., where he worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce and as a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has an MA from George Washington University and a BA from Valparaiso University. He is AWS and Lean Six Sigma accredited and serves on the WELL Water Advisory and the Wisconsin Governor’s Wetlands Study Council. He served on the U.S. EPA’s National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology from 2014-19.

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Heather Jennings

Heather Jennings edited.pngJennings is a registered professional Civil Engineer and serves as Director for Probiotic Solutions®, a brand of bioremediation products and services offered by Bio Huma Netics, Inc. Heather has 20 years’ experience in project management, environmental programs, and municipal and industrial facility system analysis. She also has experience in design for both municipal water and wastewater systems and in permitting on both state and federal levels. Heather is responsible for managing sales and the research and development efforts of Probiotic Solutions® wastewater treatment products and services.  She is a published author in industry journals, a frequent conference speaker, and the host of the Water Break Podcast. Heather holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University.

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Robert Kimball

Kimball is a registered professional engineer with 33 years of experience providing industrial water management and treatment solutions to a variety of clients throughout North America, especially in the mining, oil and gas and power generation sectors. He is a Vice President and currently serves as an Industrial Process Water Leader for WSP. Bob has expertise with the application of most physical-chemical treatment technologies and has designed and overseen the installation of numerous water treatment plants during his career, including high recovery reverse osmosis and zero liquid discharge (ZLD) facilities.

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Walt Kozlowski

Walt Kozlowski edited.pngKozlowski currently is the senior director of industrial sustainability Solutions at Xylem, responsible for developing and driving the sustainability culture across the commercial teams as well as providing technical expertise to develop solutions and strategies which support customer sustainability goals. Career spanning over 32 years in water treatment with expertise in developing both chemical and equipment solutions for water and energy challenges in all industrial and commercial markets. Contributing Author to “Industrial Water Reclamation and Reuse to Minimize Liquid Discharge” (Water Environment Federation publication). Author of US Patent - "Methods of Inhibiting Fouling in Liquid Systems". BA - University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Toni McCrory

Toni McCrory Headshot edited.pngToni McCrory is senior director of Walmart Environmental, Health and Safety Compliance. She oversees water and automotive compliance programs for Walmart’s U.S. facilities. McCrory has developed, implemented and refined national programs by generating innovative compliance solutions for performance-based contract management, predictive analytics for asset management, and digital transformation.  She leads the Walmart Environmental Center of Excellence, focused on building relationships across markets to raise awareness of best practices and strengthen Walmart’s environmental compliance programs globally.  McCrory is a Northwest Arkansas native with a bachelor’s degree in biological and agricultural engineering from the University of Arkansas, and a master’s of business administration from John Brown University.

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Nidhi Menon

Nidhi Menon headshot Menon leads the operations of Imagine H2O’s Accelerator program, including startup outreach, communications and the organization’s global judging and mentors network. She is a graduate of the Water Leadership Institute, and presently a steering committee member. Prior to Imagine H2O, she served as a sustainability intern at Olam Spices and a research assistant at the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Menon holds a B.S. in environmental Science and environmental Economics, and a minor in Journalism from Berkeley.

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Brian Moore, Ph.D.

Brian Moore edited.pngMoore is Arcadis’ Industrial Process Solutions Group Lead for North America. He leads Arcadis' Industrial Process Solutions group for the North America region, shaping direction for the group and ensuring responsiveness to market trends, driving value, quality and innovation for our clients, and ensuring continued growth and satisfying careers for the members of the Industrial Water team.

Moore came to Arcadis with more than 12 years of industrial experience at GE where he served as the technical water and wastewater expert for all of GE’s sites globally, with the charter to reduce overall environmental footprint (related to water/wastewater/water risk) through solutions that offer favorable return on investment (ROI). He has been at Arcadis for 10 years, helping a multitude of clients across a range of sectors to solve complex water conservation challenges. All told, over the past 15 years his industrial water efficiency projects have saved roughly 100 billion gallons of water, while also saving over $100MM in OpEx. Dr. Moore is a recognized industrial water efficiency and industrial wastewater treatment and recycle expert, with 19 related presentations at reputable international and national conferences in the past five years.

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Mark Philbrick Ph.D.

Mark Philbrick Headshot.pngPhilbrick received his graduate degree from University of California-Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management in 2010. Since 2011, he has been with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), primarily focused on the intersections between energy and water. He was the lead technology author of the DOE’s 2014 Water-Energy Nexus report, and led the development of a 2017 DOE publication on Biofuels and Bioproducts from Wet and Gaseous Waste Streams. He currently serves the Water-Energy Nexus Technology Manager in the DOE’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office, targeting the provision of water fit for a variety of purposes as well as recovering resources from organic waste waters.

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Caleb Powers

Caleb Powers edited.pngPowers is a principal of Ember Infrastructure, where he sits on the investment committee. Ember is a sustainability-focused private equity firm investing in companies and assets that reduce carbon intensity, increase resource efficiency, and enhance climate resilience.  The fund is active in the low carbon energy, water & wastewater, waste, and agricultural & industrial sectors.  At Ember, Caleb is responsible for all phases of investment activities including origination and structuring, due diligence, deal execution, and portfolio monitoring.  Prior to Ember, Caleb was a Vice President at The Carlyle Group, where he led investment activities in the water & waste sectors, with additional transaction experience in the energy and agriculture sectors, for Carlyle’s Global Infrastructure Opportunity Fund. Until 2018, Caleb was a Vice President with Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in New York as a member of the investment team. Prior to joining GIP in 2012, Caleb worked in the Natural Resources Group at Deutsche Bank in New York, focusing on the power, utilities, and renewable energy sectors.  Caleb received a B.A. from Dartmouth College.

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Lucy Pugh, P.E., BCEE

Lucy Pugh.pngPugh is a technical practice director and market sector leader for industrial water and wastewater treatment at AECOM.  She has developed and applied solutions to water and wastewater challenges in a broad range of industry sectors for more than 35 years.  Lucy's experience includes process troubleshooting, treatability and pilot tests, design, construction, and operations support for removal of both conventional and emerging pollutants through application of biological and physical/chemical technologies.  She is a member of AECOM's team that is developing and demonstrating DE-FLUOROTM electrochemical technology for PFAS destruction, and holds Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Environmental and Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan.

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Rob Simm Ph.D.

Rob Simm edited.JPGSimm is Senior Vice President at Stantec and helps lead Stantec’s industrial water practice. He has been the lead process engineer on water and wastewater treatment projects for multiple industries including mining, power, semiconductor, oil & gas, food & beverage and solar panel manufacturing. He has over 30-years of industrial water and wastewater treatment experience, which includes process studies, bench and pilot scale testing, plant optimization, detailed design, construction oversight, and system commissioning. He is also an adjunct professor in Environmental Engineering at the University of British Columbia and a Visiting Scholar at John Hopkins University.

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Michelle Stockness

Michelle Stockness edited.pngStockness is a professional civil engineer and the Executive Director at Freshwater, a nonprofit based in Minnesota that works cross sector on water education, research and policy. Prior to joining Freshwater, Michelle was an engineering consultant where she guided public and private clients through regulatory and environmental water issues including drinking water, wastewater and stormwater. Michelle is a past AWWA Vice President, a Envision sustainability professional, and also leads the Minnesota Water Workforce team.

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Melanie Tan

Melanie Tan Headshot edited.pngTan currently serves as the West Region Resilience Solutions Director. In this role, she works with and builds integrated teams to address cross-cutting challenges including climate mitigation and adaptation, water and energy security, decarbonization, sea level rise protection, and electrification. Melanie brings a background that includes strategic planning, policy development, operations and risk management in both California and Singapore. Having worked as a consultant and at a public agency, she understands how to implement practical solutions that benefit clients.

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Karri Ving

Karri Ving edited.pngVing serves as Managing Principal at Brown and Caldwell, with more than 25 years leading teams in the public, private and non-profit sectors on utility management, resource recovery and sustainability.

Ving also serves as Chair of WEF’s Residuals and Biosolids Committee and Co-chair of the WEF ESG Accelerator.

Previously, her 14 years at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission began by pioneering San Francisco’s SFGreasecycle Program, a cost-effective, citywide commercial and residential cooking oil collection that converted over one million gallons of used oil into low-carbon biodiesel, helping reduce the carbon intensity of the city’s fleets and diverting grease from sewers.

While forming other public-private partnerships exploring energy and biofuel feedstocks, Ving learned that successful sustainability programs depend on good governance. After championing the Collection System Division’s ISO 14001 Certification, she incorporated Enterprise Risk Management, materiality assessments, maturity modeling and national benchmarking into the organization’s management systems and culture.

Ving is currently co-leading the U.S. Water Alliance’s 12-city GHG Reductions Cohort and is currently contributing to a national effort to develop a climate-aligned planning tool that incorporates climate risk and equity into municipal capital plans.

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Jeff Weido

Jeff Weido.pngWeido is the Senior Director of Marketing, Industrial for Xylem Americas. Jeff has been with Xylem since May 2021, where he has led the go-to market strategy for new products and services for Xylem’s distributors and end customers within the Industrial end markets.

Weido's 25-year career background has primarily been in global product management and marketing leadership with a focus on formalizing go-to-market strategies for new product development and marketing programs in the CPG, industrial machinery & construction sectors.

Tanja Rauch Williams Ph.D.

Williams serves as chief innovation officer for Metro Water Recovery, a provider of wholesale wastewater services to approximately 2.2 million people in the Denver metropolitan area. She brings more tha 20 years of experience in process engineering, modeling, design, and applied research, and strategic planning for water resource recovery facilities. Williams serves on the steering board of the Rocky Mountain Water Environmental Association’s Innovative Water Technologies Committee, and co-chairs WEF’s Municipal Resource Recovery Design Committee.

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April 02, 2024

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