Circular Water Economy Summit 2024 Speakers

The CWE Summit will use a variety of formats – including keynotes, principal speakers, facilitated panel discussions, and World Café roundtable discussions – to provide education, collaboration, and networking opportunities for attendees.

Speakers and sponsors will focus on their stories and the solutions they have found.

Featured Speakers

Rhys Roth, Executive Director of Center for Sustainable Infrastructure

Steve M. Worley, P.E., Public Works Director for the City of Vancouver

Robert Bornhofen, Ph.D., Innovation Leader for DC Water

Tom Birmingham Water Team Manager, Meta Platforms, San Francisco

Angela Fasnacht, Ph.D., Gerhard R. Andlinger Visiting Fellow, Princeton University

Gopi Sandhu, Vice President of Environmental Sustainability, Nestlé Purina PetCare

Matthew Jalbert, Trinity River Authority, Texas

Sally Brown, Ph.D., Research Professor, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington

Rep. Mike Chapman, Washington state Legislature

Morten Siem Lynge, Denmark Ministry - Houston

Betsy Hickman, Anthesis Group

Paul Schrimpf, Ag Gateway

Barry Liner, Aldera Group

Jeff Guild, BlueTech Research

Nidhi Meno, Imagine H2O

Lauren Greenlee, XPrize

Travis Numan, University of Nevada-Reno

Charles Werth, Department of Energy

Vamsi Alla, JP Morgan

Daniel Baker, Manulife Investment

Gigi Karmous-Edwards, BlueTech Research

Rhys Roth, Executive Director of Center for Sustainable Infrastructure

Rhys Roth.pngCSI Logo.pngRhys Roth is the executive director of the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure (CSI) in Olympia, Wash., which is helping to bring innovation, new tools, and sustainability excellence to infrastructure planning and investment in the Pacific Northwest. Rhys authored CSI’s influential inaugural report, Infrastructure Crisis, Sustainable Solutions, and the subsequent three reports in the 5 Big Goals for 2040; Rewiring the Northwest’s Energy Infrastructure, A Northwest Vision for 2040 Water Infrastructure, and From Waste Management to Clean Materials. Prior to founding CSI, Rhys co-founded and helped lead for over 15 years the non-profit group Climate Solutions.

CSI is a nonprofit organization based in the Pacific Northwest focused on catalyzing state-of-the-art sustainable infrastructure solutions that help communities of every kind thrive economically, socially, and environmentally. Through blueprint reports, value planning, and knowledge exchanges, CSI helps bridge the gap between sustainability and community and industry infrastructure needs.

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Steve M. Worley, P.E., Public Works Director for the City of Vancouver

Steve Worley headshot.jpgCity of Vancouver logoSteve has 37 years of experience in the public-works field, including civil, transportation, planning, design, and construction management. He is currently the public works director for the City of Vancouver. 

Prior to his work with Vancouver, Steve was the public-works director for the city of Pasco for nearly six years, where he helped oversee one of the largest capital improvement programs in the city’s history.  This included transportation, water, sewer, municipal and industrial wastewater-treatment plant improvements.

Prior to Pasco, Steve worked a short time with the city of Fife as their deputy public works director, where he managed several major transportation projects for this bustling city adjacent to the third-largest cargo gateway in the United States. 

Steve also worked 14 years for the city of Spokane Valley as manager of the capital improvement program, overseeing the funding, design, and construction of capital projects including roads, bridges, parks and community buildings. 

Steve also spent eight years with Spokane County in the Stormwater Utility, managing the study, design, and construction of regional stormwater facilities. Prior to moving to Spokane, Steve worked for a private engineering consultant in Monroe, WA and with the Corp of Engineers, Alaska District in Anchorage.

Steve has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and is a licensed professional engineer in Washington State.

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Robert Bornhofen, Ph.D., Innovation Leader for DC Water

DC Water logo.jpgRobert Bornhofen headshot.pngAs the innovation leader for DC Water, Dr. Robert Bornhofen is tasked with formulating and executing a comprehensive strategy across the entire organization.

As an academic, he teaches innovation strategy at Cornell University. He also teaches the MBA capstone course at the University of Maryland.  

His past industry experience includes such well-known companies as IBM, Citibank, and Delta Air Lines. He also holds two U.S. Patents for original and patentable technologies.

Experienced in leading change initiatives, Robert embraces the creative spirit that goes into innovation, where smart people come together to address key challenges, where great ideas get transformed into extraordinary outcomes.

His niche is helping organizational leaders formulate and execute strategy.

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Tom Birmingham Water Team Manager, Meta Platforms, San Francisco

Tom Birmingham headshot.jpgMeta logo square.jpgTom Birmingham currently manages the Water Team at Meta Platforms in San Francisco. Tom is a professional engineer with more than 25 years of experience in the water and wastewater industry.

He graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. His experience includes 17 years as a consultant with Brown and Caldwell, where he served as a project manager for multiple master planning and infrastructure improvement projects.

From there, Tom spent five years with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, where he managed the new recycled water facility on Treasure Island.

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Angela Fasnacht, Ph.D., Gerhard R. Andlinger Visiting Fellow, Princeton University

Angela Fasnacht headshot.jpgPrinceton Logo.pngDr. Angela Maria Fasnacht is a distinguished figure in the field of environmental engineering, recognized for her strategic leadership and profound commitment to sustainability and public health.

As a Gerhard R. Andlinger Visiting Fellow at Princeton University, she has made significant contributions to renewable energy research and the decarbonization of the water sector. Her work is particularly noted for addressing the pressing environmental challenges posed by contaminants such as PFAS.

Throughout her illustrious career, Dr. Fasnacht has held several key positions in major organizations. As Vice President for Technical Services at SUEZ, she led customer service initiatives, ensured regulatory compliance, and managed engineering and asset management on a system-wide scale. In her role as Vice President of Transformation at Veolia, she was instrumental in the successful merger with SUEZ, streamlining processes to enhance revenue and profitability.

Her innovative spirit was evident during her tenure as Principal Product Manager at American Water, where she focused on developing digital solutions for water quality monitoring. This role underscored her expertise in environmental compliance, a field in which she has provided leadership for Public Works Divisions, managed environmental programs, and facilitated crucial compliance initiatives.

In her current role with the Environmental Protection Agency's National Advisory Committee, Dr. Fasnacht lends her voice to strategic advisory on matters such as waste reduction, water management, and environmental justice, to name a few.

With an academic background that includes a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Drexel University and an MPH in Global Environmental Health from Emory University, Dr. Fasnacht is also an active participant in technical committees and a board member of multiple associations where her influence extends to global water initiatives and collaborations between industry and academia.

Dr. Fasnacht is not only a dedicated professional but also a passionate advocate for workplace diversity and inclusion, pushing for a positive and efficient work environment through collaborative approaches and agile principles.

Her linguistic proficiency in both Spanish and English, coupled with numerous accolades such as the Water for People: Kenneth J. Miller Founder’s Award, and recognition as NAWC's Living Water Award recipient, further exemplify her exceptional contributions to the sector and communities worldwide.

In recognition of her transformative impact and her drive for excellence, Dr. Fasnacht continues to be a vital voice and leader at the forefront of environmental engineering and public health.

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Gopi Sandhu, Vice President of Environmental Sustainability, Nestlé Purina PetCare

Gopi Sandhu headshot.pngNestlePurina logo.pngGopi Sandhu is the vice president of Environmental Sustainability at Nestlé Purina PetCare (NPPC) at the company’s headquarters in St. Louis.

He began his career in environmental consulting, supporting a wide range of industrial clients, including aviation, petrochemical, energy and consumer products. In 1998, Gopi joined Purina as an environmental engineer. He spent the next 24 years working to promote sustainable manufacturing practices throughout Purina’s North American operations, enabling Purina’s factories to grow responsibly, follow environmental laws and achieve the Company’s sustainability targets for manufacturing. Gopi was promoted to his current role in 2022 and now reports to NPPC’s president and chief growth officer. In this capacity, he partners with top management and functional leaders across NPPC’s entire value chain to develop and drive the Company’s environmental sustainability priorities.

Gopi received his bachelor's degree in civil/environmental engineering from the University of Missouri in 1990, and is a member of the Water Environment Federation. His technical background includes water and effluent management, energy conservation, renewables, and carbon and water benefits accounting. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, which includes his dog Milo, and enhancing biodiversity and water stewardship at home through native gardening.

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Matthew Jalbert, Trinity River Authority of Texas

Matthew Jalbert headshot.jpgTrinity River Authority of Texas.pngMatthew Jalbert has been with the Trinity River Authority (TRA) since January 2015.

In 2006, Matthew received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University. In 2012, he received his master's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington.

He worked with three engineering firms prior to 2015. He worked in the position as the engineering manager at Trinity River Authority's (TRA’s) Central Regional Wastewater System. In April 2019, he moved into the Planning, Design and Construction Administration group for TRA, where he served as the manager, engineering services and managed their capital improvement program. In April 2022, he was appointed the executive manager, Northern Region, in which he oversees the operation and maintenance of five wastewater treatment and one water treatment facilities.

He holds his professional engineering license in the state of Texas as well as a TCEQ Class B Wastewater Operator license. He is actively involved with the Water Environment Association of Texas and served as its president from 2022-23. He currently serves as the WEAT immediate past president, and as a delegate to the Water Environment Federation. He was recently appointed to the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies Board of Directors.

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Sally Brown, Ph.D., Research Professor, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington

Sally Brown headshot.jpgUniversity of Washington logo.pngSally Brown is a research professor at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington.  She has a bachelor’s degree from Williams College, and a master’s and doctorate in soil science from the University of Maryland.

Her research focuses on different aspects of the use of biosolids and composts, including risks associated with contaminants, in situ restoration of contaminated sites, carbon balance for different end use options, and integration of residuals use in green urban infrastructure.

She is a Fellow and former board member in the Soil Science Society of America, a former board member in the U.S. Compost Council, and was a two-term member of the National Academy of Science (NAS) Standing Committee on Soil Science.  She also was a member of the NAS committee on the bioavailability of contaminants in soils and sediments.

She has co-edited two books on urban agriculture and was a member of the USDA Committee on Urban and Innovative agriculture.  She has written a column for Biocycle Connect for close to 20 years.

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Washington State Rep. Mike Chapman

WA House Seal.pngMike Chapman.jpgMike Chapman served for a decade as a local law-enforcement officer and U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector. He then served four terms as a Clallam County commissioner.

He received his master’s degree from Duquesne University, his bachelor’s from Northwest College, and his associates of arts and sciences degree from Shoreline College.

Chapman currently chairs the Washington state House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and also serves on the Transportation and the Consumer Protection & Business committees.

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Morten Siem Lynge, Consul-General of Denmark to Texas
Morten Siem Lynge.jpgConsul General Denmark Houston.pngMorten Siem Lynge is the consul-general of Denmark to Texas and seven other southern U.S. states. Lynge is heading the Danish North American Energy Team working to promote trade between Denmark and the United States, as well as Denmark and Canada. His main focus areas are on-shore and off-shore wind, biogas and energy transition technologies.
Lynge has previously been posted as consul-general of Denmark in Toronto, Canada, and in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He has also worked several years in consulting with the Boston Consulting Group and Monitor Deloitte,  and served as a special Adviser at the Danish Ministry of Finance.