The WEF Fellows Recognition Program underscores WEF’s role as a valuable water quality resource, which is due in large part to the expertise of its diverse membership. WEF Fellows are recognized in various areas of expertise including, but not limited to design, education, operations, regulation, research, utility management, and leadership.

Angela D. Charles 
NC One Water 

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Angela Charles is the Director of Charlotte Water. Ms. Charles has been in the water industry since 1988. 

“Angela is a valuable leader in Charlotte Water. She has been instrumental in affecting change and improving processes for nearly 1 million customers throughout Charlotte and Mecklenburg County,” said City Manager Marcus D. Jones.   

As director, Angela is responsible for the regional, countywide water treatment and distribution, wastewater treatment and collection, utilities planning, and most recently the city’s storm water system along with management activities. She leads a staff of approximately 1,200 with a combined operating budget of over $746 million, and a combined five-year Community Investment Program budget of approximately $3.2 billion. Charlotte Water maintains more than 11,000 miles of water, sewer, and storm water pipelines, with approximately 300,000 water connections countywide. 

Angela holds a Master of Public Administration degree from UNC Charlotte and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University. She was the 2017 chair of the North Carolina American Water Works Association and North Carolina Water Environment Association (NC AWWA-WEA) and is a Grade A water distribution operator. Angela has served on many committees including the WEF Collection Systems Committee and has received many water industry awards, including the WEF Collections Systems Award, the Warren G. Fuller Award, and the prestigious Arthur Sidney Bedell Award. 


Kim Furry 
Ohio Water Environment Association 

WEF Fellow-Kim Furry.jpgKim Furry is currently the Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager for the City of Lima, Ohio.  She holds a Class IV Wastewater Operator and Class II Wastewater Laboratory Analyst license in the State of Ohio.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Toledo and a Master’s in Organizational Management from Bluffton University.  She has over 20 years’ experience in the water and wastewater industry and has given numerous presentations on wastewater operations, membrane filtration in wastewater, ATAD operations, management and laboratory related topics.  She is also a Past President of the Ohio Water Environment Association.  Kim has served as Chair of the WEF and OWEA Plant Operations and Maintenance Committees, is the incoming Vice-Chair of the WEF Operations Challenge Committee and is a past WEF HOD member.  She is a member of the Crystal Crucible and 5S Societies in Ohio and has received awards for laboratory excellence and operator training through OWEA.  Kim served as one of the lead authors on the WEF publication Wastewater Treatment Fundamentals II – Solids Handling and is currently appointed to the Ohio EPA Operator Advisory Council.


Joan Hawley 
Central States Water Environment Association 

WEF Fellow-Joan Hawley1.JPGJoanie Hawley has been a member of WEF for 36years and a member of Central States Water Environment Association. She served many different roles as a volunteer in Central States including Wisconsin Section President, Collections Systems and Management Committees and Conference Planning. She has been a member of WEF Collection Systems Committee since 1992 served on the Steering Committee from 2001 to 2010 and Vice Chair from 2005-2008 and Chair from 2008-2010. She was the Vice Chair of the Committee Leadership Council from 2009-2012 focusing on the volunteers of the future and committee leadership and was Chair of the CLC from 2012-2015. She was nominated to the Board of Trustees in 2015and served to 2019and is on the WEF Bylaws Committee since 2015. She volunteered for various Board committees including the task force on Operators Initiatives which formed the now Operators Advisory Panel (OAP) in 2016. Joanie is currently serving on the OAP steering committee which serves to promote and develop operators throughout North America and is a strong advocate for operators. She is the recipient of Central States Collection Systems Award, 7 S Award and Golden Manhole Award and the recipient of WEF Collection Systems Award and Golden Manhole Award. She is also a lifetime member of Wisconsin Wastewater Operators Association since 1990. Credentials include a B.S. from Marquette University in Civil Engineering and a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from University of Texas at Arlington. She is a professional engineer registered in Wisconsin, Washington, and Michigan. She is a Collection Systems Professional Operator and a Grade IV Wastewater Operator in Wisconsin. She started Superior Engineering, LLC in 2002 as a women owned business focusing on to providing environmental solutions to operate and maintain infrastructure cost-effectively. With her background in operations, she strives for operations excellence. Joanie has presented at many conferences locally and nationally to implement successful Operations and Maintenance Programs and has focused on Operator Training including equipment and process startup.

Personal Notes –my favorite winter sport is alpine skiing. You can typically find me at the “Porkies Ski Hill” at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park skiing in the woods. Favorite summertime activities are walking on the beach and boating on Lake Superior. I have the huge support of my husband Richard SchlugeSchluge and our daughters Erika and Chelsea to support my volunteer efforts as well as our dog Autumn Ale–who is a great sounding board because she doesn’t talk back. I am honored to get this award and thank my colleagues for nominating and supporting me. We are in a great profession where people support each other. 


Zhen (Jason) He, PhD
Missouri Water Environment Association

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Dr. Zhen (Jason) He is a Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU). Prior to that, he was a Professor/Associate Professor at Virginia Tech and an Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He received a BS from Tongji University, a MS from Technical University of Denmark, and a PhD from Washington University in St. Louis, all in Environmental Engineering. Dr. He is directing the Environmental Biotechnology & Bioenergy Laboratory with a focus on resource recovery from wastewater and innovative technologies for wastewater treatment. He has published nearly 250 journal papers, received 3 US patents, and graduated 20 MS students and 14 PhD students. Many of those graduates started their careers in water/wastewater companies and state environmental agencies. Some continued to their PhD studies or found tenure-track faculty positions at universities like University of Wisconsin – Madison, Temple University, Auburn University, and North Dakota State University.  

Dr. He has had a track of collaboration with wastewater utilities in research of innovative technologies for wastewater treatment and resource recovery. In 2021, he led a team consisting of WashU, American Bottoms Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, and Greeley and Hansen won the 2nd place in the Intelligent Water Systems Challenge. Dr. He established Virginia Tech Center for Applied Water Research and Innovation and is currently the Director of Center for Water Innovation at WashU, both of which involve industrial and utility members. He was a faculty adviser of Virginia Tech student chapter of WEF/AWWA and serves the same role at WashU. From 2018 to 2019, Dr. He was the Director of Virginia Tech Water & Wastewater Training Program. In a period of two years, he managed 22 short courses, 24 broadcasts, and 2 summer short schools, which attracted more than 2,000 participants from water and wastewater utilities in Virginia.    

He is the Editor in Chief for both Journal of Hazardous Materials and Water Environment Research (WER). WER is the academic journal of WEF and among the oldest academic publications in the field of water and wastewater. Under his leadership, WER’s impact factor increased by 160%, from 1.24 (2018) to 3.3 (2021), and the journal continues to be an important platform for publishing applied water and wastewater research.  

Dr. He was the Vice Chair of WEF’s Research and Innovation Committee. In 2017, he was elected to be the President of Chinese-American Professors in Environmental Engineering and Science (CAPEES). He is a board member of IWA USA National Committee that is working to build a stronger connection between IWA and WEF. He is the Co-Chair of the 10th IWA Membrane Technology Conference (2023) and a Conference Associate Chair for the 2022 AEESP Research and Education Conference.  

Dr. He was recognized by a Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (ASCE), Green Talent (BMBF, Germany), a 2018 Highly Cited Researcher (Clarivate Analytics), CAPEES Frontier Research Award, and Dean's Award for Research Excellence at Virginia Tech. In 2020, he was named a Fellow of International Water Association (IWA) and in 2022, he was elected a Fellow of Water Environment Federation (WEF). 


Deborah Houdeshell 
Ohio Water Environment Association 

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Deborah Houdeshell has been in the wastewater field for over 34 years and currently is the Superintendent of the City of Canton, OH - Water Reclamation Facility. She holds a Class III Wastewater Operator Certificate and is also a Professional Engineer. The combination of theoretical and practical experience she has gained over her career has proven to be a benefit for the City of Canton. 

The Canton WRF is a 39 MGD membrane process facility. She started at the facility as the Facilities Engineer at the end of the construction of the change from a conventional activated sludge process. Deborah dove in and worked with the supplier’s operations staff to learn the ins and outs of the new process. Using this gained knowledge she works with and trains operations staff to ensure that the process runs as smooth as it can. Working all together as a team has proven to be a success and the system performs much better today than when it was started up. Deborah moved into the role of Superintendent just 3.5 years after she began working at the facility. 

Deborah has worked as a consultant, as a regulator, and in various roles for public entities. Her time working for Ohio EPA has given her a perspective that has proven to be invaluable. In each role she has held she has put the client or customer first, always looking for a complete solution to the situation. She has designed brand new wastewater treatment systems to eliminate septic systems, separated storm and sanitary sewers, upgraded treatment facilities and has written many reports and studies. 

Highlights of her career include the removal of the Munroe Falls Dam on the Cuyahoga River. The partial dam removal project was under construction and it was determined that there was a natural fall. The race was on to receive approvals to entirely remove the dam prior to the completion of the designed improvements. Working on behalf of the Summit County Department of Environmental Services with Ohio EPA, Munroe Falls and US Army Corps of Engineers, the task was accomplished in a three week time period. Four night meetings and 21 conference calls took place. Other accomplishments for this to happen included securing a pro bono wetlands delineation in one week, a US Army Corps permit in less than two weeks, an amended Attorney General Consent Decree signed in four days, scheduling and participating in two emergency city council meetings held in two weeks and reducing the project cost by $0.5 million and diverting the cost savings to financing stormwater projects in the community. 

Deborah spearheaded a pilot study in 2012 for the City of Akron Water Reclamation Facility to evaluate whether the chosen pilot peak-flow high-rate treatment system was capable of achieving prescribed effluent limitations and to compare its performance with that of conventional activated sludge treatment. The study required coordination of plant staff, staff operating the pilot plant, laboratories, courier service and other support staff over an 8 month period. Her ability to schedule 24/7 staffing and respond to all wet weather events, gather and process hundreds of samples was remarkable. Her team-building management style and organizational skills were key to the success of this complex study. 

Deborah used this team building management style through her professional organization experience also. She has served on the board and as President of the Northeast Ohio Section of Ohio WEA, on the board and as President of Ohio WEA and as Ohio’s delegate to WEF. She headed up the committee of delegates to develop the governance of the WEF House of Delegates when it was established along with serving as Chair of the HOD before the governance and as the first Speaker of the HOD. She served on the WEF Board of Trustees 2008-2011. She was involved in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize and WEFTEC Program Committee. 

Deborah has presented in Ohio, New Jersey and also at WEFTEC. She is a member and has been involved with the American Society of Civil Engineers. She has been a member of the Ohio Northern University College of Engineering Advisory Board and served as Chair. She is a member of Tau Beta Pi and has been recognized as an Eminent Engineer. 

Deborah holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from Ohio Northern University and a Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Akron. 

She and her husband John live in Copley, Ohio and have two adult children, Hannah and Nathan. 


Thomas Jenkins, P.E. 
Central States Water Environment Association 

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Tom Jenkins is an engineer, entrepreneur, author, and educator. He founded Jenkins Engineering Inc., now JenTech Inc., in 1982, co-founded Energy Strategies Corporation (ESCOR) in 1984 and Advanced Aeration Controls (A2C) in 2002. Tom is widely recognized for successfully introducing many original aeration, blower, and Dissolved Oxygen (DO) control techniques to the wastewater industry, including several patented devices and systems. He is the author of the book “Aeration Control System Design” and has written dozens of articles for periodicals. Currently the Committee Chairman for ASME PTC 13, he is also an Adjunct Professor (Professor of Practice) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a mentor for the UW student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). 


Debra Leigh 
Nebraska Water Environment Association 

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Debra Leigh is President and owner of Leigh Environmental Equipment, Inc. (A Woman-owned 

Business Enterprise), that was formed in August of 1999. She has over forty years of experience as a manufacturer’s representative in the water and wastewater business in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, and Missouri. The company philosophy is to work closely with consulting engineers, contractors, and owners to help solve environmental problems with high quality products. The company represents a broad range of products including intake screens, filters, material handling equipment, UV disinfection equipment, ozone equipment, on-site sodium hypochlorite generation systems, flat aluminum covers, solar and grid powered circulators, manhole coatings, and couplings. 

Leigh has been active in many technical organizations throughout her career. She has served as President of the Nebraska Water Environment Association and the Nebraska Chapter of the American Public Works Association. She served a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and two terms on the WEF Executive Committee.


Luis Roberto León, PE, BCEE, ENV SP
California Water Environment Association 

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Mr. León has over 37 years of U.S. and international engineering and management experience in the areas of master planning, feasibility studies, asset management, design (plans, specifications, and estimates), permitting, and construction management of public and private infrastructure projects. These projects have included wastewater collection systems, water distribution facilities, storm drainage, transportation systems, and land development. Mr. León has also managed projects for the assessment, rehabilitation, expansion, and reconstruction of numerous utility systems for diverse and complex commercial, residential, and governmental projects. He has expertise in pipeline condition assessment, design and rehabilitation using innovative applications of trenchless technologies, and is recognized as a national leader in sewer collection systems. 

Mr. León’s credentials include a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Northrop University, Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE), and an Envision Sustainability Professional. He is a professional engineer registered in California, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Colombia, South America. Luis has presented at many national and international conferences on condition assessment and rehabilitation of pipelines. He has held leadership positions within the water sector, including WEF Collection Systems Committee Chair, Community of Practice Director for Resource Recovery under WEF’s Committee Leadership Council, NASSCO Board Member, and Chair and Co-Chair of NASSCO’s International Committee. He was the recipient of the WEF Collection Systems Award in 2019, WEF Volunteer Service Recognition Program in 2017, and the Golden Manhole Award in 2016. Highlights of his career have been several important rehabilitation projects in the U.S. and Colombia, where he enjoyed training local engineers in condition assessment and rehabilitation. 

Luis resides in Southern California, where he loves spending time with his wife Lorena, his Children Gabriela and Roberto and their respective spouses David and Courtney, and his pride and joy and first grandson Remy who will turn 4 this October. He is also anxiously looking forward to receiving their first granddaughter to the family in September. Luis loves traveling, enjoying good wine, good friends, watching great soccer, and most of all spending time with his beautiful family, who have loved and supported him throughout his life and professional career. 


Stacy J. Passaro, P.E., BCEE 
Chesapeake Water Environment Association 

WEF Fellow-Stacy Passaro1.jpegStacy Passaro has been working in wastewater collection and water resource recovery for the past 30 years. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. She received her Masters degree in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. She began her career working as a designer for Stearns and Wheler in Cazenovia, NY and then moved to Maryland to work in their new Mid-Atlantic office. Years later she joined the Water Environment Federation staff in Alexandria, Virginia. She was a member of the Technical and Educational Services staff. In 2007, Stacy started her own company, Passaro Engineering, LLC, where she has had the opportunity to partner with utilities on a wide variety of operations and maintenance focused projects. Throughout her career, she has worked on many rewarding volunteer projects through WEF and Chesapeake WEA and formed many lasting friendships with fellow committee members and volunteers.

Stacy lives with her husband in central Maryland. They have an older daughter who works as a nurse in Portland, Maine and a younger daughter who is studying bioengineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Favorite activities include travelling, spending time with family and friends, reading, hiking, kayaking and gardening.


Sarah Reeves 
Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association 

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Sarah Reeves holds a masters in bioresource engineering from Colorado State University and is a Vice President at Brown and Caldwell where she is the Director of Technical Services Systems and Performance. Sarah has over 25 years of experience in the water industry with specific expertise in water quality policy and regulation as well as management consulting. In her work and volunteer activities she engages with passion and humor – focusing on listening and understanding issues, developing and driving stakeholder involvement, and influencing outcomes based on the voice and needs of the whole. Sarah has been significantly engaged in WEF service for nearly all her career, serving for 23 years on WEF’s Program Committee – in Program Leadership for 12 of those years, including Committee Vice Chair and Chair. She continues to represent the Program on the WEFTEC Advisory Committee and also volunteers in reviewing and helping to shape WEF’s Operator Scholarship awards. Sarah is currently a member of WEF’s Utility Management Committee and is a WEF representative on the joint AWWA/WEF Utility Management Conference Planning Committee. 


Susan J. Sullivan 
New England Water Environment Association 

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Susan Sullivan accepted the appointment to serve as NEIWPCC’s executive director in 2017, following twenty-eight years on the Commission staff. She joined NEIWPCC in 1989 as an environmental analyst, and from 1997 to 2017 served as the Commission’s deputy director.  

Ms. Sullivan coordinates and helps implement policies and programs of the highest priority to state and federal agencies and oversees all of NEIWPCC’s operational and programmatic activities, including contracts and grants. Her extensive responsibilities include providing overall supervision of the Commission’s staff and office operations.  

Ms. Sullivan advises NEIWPCC’s Commissioners, state and federal agency staff, and the public on multiple water-related matters. She works with state staff to reach consensus on technical aspects of complex issues and serves as a technical writer on position papers. She also represents NEIWPCC and our member states through leadership roles with various regional and national organizations. This includes serving on the board of directors of the Association of Clean Water Administrators and on the executive and steering committees of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program.  

Ms. Sullivan is a Community of Practice Director for the Committee Leadership Council of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). She is also delegate at large in WEF’s House of Delegates, where she is a member of the body’s Budget Committee.  

Before becoming deputy director, Ms. Sullivan served as NEIWPCC’s assistant director for water quality protection and training. She oversaw the management of all Clean Water Act program activities as well as the operation of the Commission’s Environmental Training Center in South Portland, Maine. Ms. Sullivan was also NEIWPCC’s project officer for environmental education, water quality planning and standards, wetlands protection, nonpoint source pollution, watershed management, resource protection, residuals management, combined sewer overflows, stormwater, and wastewater treatment plant management.  


Duyen Tran 
Arkansas Water Environment Association 

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Duyen Tran retired in January 2022from a 35+ year career in water as an experienced consultant with technical expertise in sustainability, quality assurance, program and portfolio management, and business risk assessment. Before retirement she was the Director of Sustainable Operations at Jacobs (previously CH2M) for more than 7 years. In this position she led changes and empowered broad-based actions on sustainability to improve operations’ efficiency at 200+ Jacobs-operated facilities across North America. She was responsible for: 


  • Developing and implementing an overall sustainability program for Operation and Maintenance (OM) Services
  • Promoting and integrating sustainability in business decision making to meet business performance and enhance the environment
  • Participating in cross-functional teams at the corporate level
  • Tracking key performance indicators
  • Ensuring that key stakeholders were included in decision-making and achieving program goals
  • Managing a business risk assessment process to help identifying and mitigating business risks

At the end of her career with Jacobs, her award-winning sustainability program saved nearly $26 million for our clients and the company, reduced electrical consumption by an estimated 95 million kWh, reduced water consumption by 1.25 billion gallons, diverted more than 9.7 million pounds of recyclable wastes from landfills, and recorded over 28,000 volunteer hours.  

With an expansive background of the water industry and the applications of sustainability, Duyen is a tireless advocate and promoter of water professional together with sustainability initiatives. In addition to her day-to-day job, she volunteered time to professional organizations through the years. She was the 2014–2015 Water Environment Federation (WEF) Speaker of the House of Delegates, the 2011-2013 Arkansas Water Environment Association President and has served in multiple leadership roles at local, regional, and national organizations. Among her many industry honors, she received the 2014 Living Water Award from the National Association of Water Companies, 2015 WEF President’s Award, and 2020 President’s Award from the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association.  

Duyen came to the United States through the US Refugee resettlement program with her family, after a difficult escape from South Vietnam in 1975. The oldest of eight children but was still at high school age, she had to enter the work force early on to help providing support for a large family. Notwithstanding the challenges induced in the making of new live in the new homeland, Duyen took on the opportunity that freedom offered to achieve her higher education goal, which eventually led her to the career path in water. She credited her ethnic background for giving her the understanding of value in diversity and hard work. Being a wife, mother, civic leader, and business leader taught her patience and work-life balance. Besides providing leadership to the organizations in which she has served, she is also known for mentoring others and creating fun and challenging opportunities to better the organizations. It is also her mission to leave behind a sustainable environment and clean water to the grandchildren and beyond. Duyen is happily married with three grown sons, two grandchildren and resides in the beautiful Northwest Arkansas. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and stays active with outdoor hobbies like tennis, water sports, winter sports, and gardening.


Kwok-Wai (Richard)Tsang, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE 
NC One Water 

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Dr. Tsang is a process specialist in the study, design, and construction of wastewater treatment and residuals processing facilities. His experience encompasses water and wastewater sludge handling and treatment technologies, including sludge characterization, drying, dewatering, and stabilization. He has conducted solids related projects from master planning, design, and construction for many facilities around the country and overseas. In his 33 years’ career at CDM Smith Inc., Dr. Tsang has held a number of positions providing services to municipal and industrial clients in the United States and around the world. He has served as project engineer, project manager, and technical specialist in numerous projects. He held positions as firmwide Wastewater Discipline Leader and Residuals and Biosolids Technology Leader within the firm. He has held the position of senior vice president since 2011, and is serving as technical leader on a number of projects.  

While the number of projects he has contributed is too numerous to list, of note is his leadership in the completion of Biosolids planning for the Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department and Orange County Utilities in Florida, City of Raleigh and Charlotte Water in North Carolina, and Arlington County in Virginia. For ReWa in South Carolina, he led the design of the expansion of Gilder Creek WWTP. In Bogota, Colombia, he led the design of solids facilities for a new 365 mgd wastewater treatment plant. When constructed, this plant will vastly improve the water quality of the Bogota River, improving the quality of life for over seven million residents. He is currently leading the implementation of biosolids management scheme recommended in the master plan for Charlotte Water to regionalize and improve the solids treatment to facilitate growth and reduce green house gas emission.   

Dr. Tsang has been very active in professional societies throughout his career. His participation in the Water Environment Federation began in 1992 when he also became a member of the NC AWWA/WEA. He served on multiple committees for NC AWWA/WEA including Residuals and Biosolids, Program, and Seminars and Workshops Committees. He was Chair of the Residuals and Biosolids Committee for several terms and was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2013. Besides serving on committees, Dr. Tsang contributed considerable amount of his time supporting the education and training of operators. He taught the State Certified Wastewater School for various grades of operators for many years. For WEF, he has been serving on the Residuals and Biosolids Committee and Program Committee for many years. From 2014-2017, he served in the House of Delegates, representing NC. For the Program Committee, he served as Vice Chair and Chair of the Residuals and Biosolids Symposium. He also served as Chair of the Specialty Conference Subcommittee of the Residuals and Biosolids Committee. Dr. Tsang is also very active in organizing seminars and conferences. He served as Conference Chair and Co-chair for the Residuals and Biosolids Conference in 2005 and 2012. He is a member of the 5S Society. In addition to WEF, he is also very active with other associations. He is currently serving as the Chair of the Sludge Management Specialists Group of the International Water Association. Below is a summary of his other involvements.  


Rick Warner , PE
Nevada Water Environment Association 

WEF Fellow-Rick Warner Bio.jpgRick Warner, PE, is the founder and president of Warner and Associates LLC, a company focused on bringing communities together to solve complex water challenges and create unique opportunities. As a passionate and recognized water leader, Rick has served in numerous national leadership positions. He has traveled globally to share his expertise, insights, knowledge, and enthusiasm for water and has provided expert guidance to States, associations, countries, institutions, and agencies.

Mr. Warner has over 30 years of experience in the public sector. He has devoted his career to providing water policy development, strategic planning, design, project management, permitting, and commissioning. Mr. Warner’s expertise spans drinking water, wastewater treatment, and water recycling. In addition, Rick has essential experience in non-potable reuse systems for municipal and industrial uses, and is presently serving as Program Coordinator for OneWater Nevada, a regional initiative implementing municipal-scale potable reuse.

Rick inspires research and innovation by co-creating the Nevada Water Innovation Institute. Founded by the University of Nevada, Reno, and local agencies, the program advances water science and technology while enhancing economic, social, and environmental aspects.

Mr. Warner has held several leadership positions within the water sector, including 2016/17 president of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), board of directors for The Water Research Foundation (2014-2018), and president of the Nevada Water Environment Association (2000). As WEF president, Rick inspired the development of a Water Reuse Roadmap – a publication helping communities navigate the complexities of developing local water recycling programs and sustainable water management practices.

Rick has led several water sector initiatives to unite diverse stakeholders to achieve common goals. Starting in 2016, he has co-convened annual Partnering for Impact events, attracting various cross-sections of water leaders to explore synergies in advancing utility-university-industry partnerships, workforce development, and more sustainable water management practices. This effort led to a Shared Vision Movement, where national stakeholders meet to share ideas and keep the momentum for innovative solutions moving forward.  

Mr. Warner is a recipient of the University of Nevada, Reno’s prestigious James G. Scrugham Medal, in recognition as a distinguished alumnus of the College of Engineering. In addition, recognizing Rick’s significant contributions within the water sector, he received the National Advocacy Achievement Award from the WateReuse Association. Mr. Warner is a registered professional engineer. He received a B.S. and an M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno.