Great Water Cities invest to make their communities resilient.  The Great Water Cities Summit 2017 – Invest4Resilience, May 15-16, 2017, in New York City, New York, will provide the forum for leaders from Wall Street to Main Streets around the United States and the world to share their vision, experience, and expertise in how they are investing in their communities and making them more resilient. They will discuss how investments in physical and financial assets, as well as human resources, are the key to sustainable growth and a resilient future. 

Please see additional informaton below.



Monday | May 15, 2017

6:30 - 8:30 PM          


Tuesday | May 16, 2017

7:30 - 8:00 AM
Registration Open

8:00 - 8:30 AM        
Continental Breakfast

8:40 - 9:00 AM        
Morning Keynote

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Lykke Leonardsen, Program Director Green City Solutions – City of Copenhagen

9:00 - 10:15 AM      
Panel 1: Physical Resilience – Managing Risk

Great Water Cities are more resilient because they manage risk. Planning for physical resilience encompasses investments in the management of risk to existing assets as well as envisioning their future investment needs. Infrastructure maintenance and upgrades require great resources, partnerships, and expertise – Great Water Cities invest in innovation, research, and entrepreneurship as tools for managing risk. Panelists will discuss how they have managed the risks to their physical assets and how they see and plan on addressing future risks.

MODERATOR: Robin A. Barnes, Executive Vice President & COO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.

PANELISTS: Anthony Maracic, PE, NYC DEP, Bureau of Wastewater Treatment, Director Asset Management and Capital Projects

Traci J. Minamide, P.E., B.C.E.E., Chief Operating Officer, City of Los Angeles, LA Sanitation.

Alex Kaplan, Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships, Senior Client Manager, Swiss Re.

Lynette Cardoch, Ph.D., National Director, Coastal Resiliency at HDR Inc.

10:15 - 10:30 AM      

10:30 - 11:45 AM      
Panel 2: Financial Resilience – From Wall Street to Main Streets

Great Water Cities invest in financial resilience because it is the basis of a sustainable future. Wall Street and Main Street, partnering together, increase resilience and strengthens investments that support growing communities. In the United States and around the world, communities’ leaders, investors and stakeholders have combined forces to build resilient financial mechanisms and products that innovate and grow, making the future brighter and more secure. Speakers in this panel will explore how solid financial planning and investment together with innovative thinking can help Great Water Cities achieve their financial goals. 

MODERATOR: Sabrina M. Ty, President & CEO, New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation

PANELISTS: Dean Fuleihan, Director, Office of Management and Budget, Board Member, Municipal Water Finance Authority, New York City

Tim Williams, Managing Director, Public Power & Utilities, RBC Capital Markets

Neil J. Flanagan Managing Director, Public Finance, Jefferies, LLC

Thomas Liu, Managing Director, Water and Wastewater/SRF Group, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

12:00 - 12:30 PM      

12:30 - 1:00 PM        
Lunch Keynote

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Daniel A. Zarrilli, PE, Senior Director, Climate Policy and Programs, and Chief Resilience Officer, NYC Office of the Mayor

1:00 - 1:15 PM          

1:15 - 2:15 PM          
Panel 3: Workforce Resilience – Building the Team of the Future

Great Water Cities invest in workforce resilience by building the team of the future.  Communities are investing in identifying what the team of the future will look like – comfortable with technology and innovation, adaptive, cross-trained, and engaged in their community. Resilient communities are investing in institutional elements that strengthen their workforce and plans for the team of the future, making sure they will address their needs. This panel will bring together leaders who are investing in a team of the future and workforce who will reflect their increasingly resilient investments.

MODERATOR: Michael J. Garland, P.E., Director of Environmental Services, Monroe County, NY

PANELISTS: Rudolph S. Chow, Director, Department of Public Works, City of Baltimore, MD

Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., General Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Diana Jones Ritter, Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Organizational Development, NYC Department of Environmental Protection.

2:15 - 3:00 PM        
Case Study and Discussion: Insurance Defection

Should communities facing flood risk stop paying insurance and start resilient transformation?

This Case Study session will examine quantifiable examples of how flood risk-prone communities can approach physical resiliency at a neighborhood scale, through an evaluation of the current NFIP insurance program and other financing mechanisms. The examples will illustrate and compare the present value of various recovery-based financing against debt service on different phases of resilient capital projects. This session will be interactive to allow for a dialogue with the presenters.

PRESENTER: Peter Glus, P.E., B.C.E.E., City Executive for NYC and Director of North American Big Urban Clients, Arcadis.

3:00 - 3:30 PM          

3:30 - 4:15 PM          
Case Study and Discussion: Financial Resilience

This Case Study session will focus on how to increase financial resilience by accounting for the full lifecycle of assets through alternative project delivery models. This highly-interactive session will examine specific projects and provide the opportunity to dialogue with the presenters.

PRESENTERS: Andrew D. Sawyers, Ph.D., Director, Office of Waste Water Management, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Michael Patella, Senior Policy Advisor, Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

4:15 - 4:30 PM          

Wrap-up Synopsis  

4:30 PM                     

Download the Onsite Program (PDF) | View the Invest4Resilence Presentations*

*These slides are copyright protected and any use of them must be approved by WEF and the creator of the slide being used. 


The Water Environment Federation gratefully acknowledge the generous sponsorship of the following groups:

Great Water Cities Platinum Sponsor Greeley and Hansen 

Great Water Cities Silver Sponsor Ramboll

Conference Sponsors

Great Water Cities Archive

Great Water Cities – Continuing the Conversations

Here at the Water Environment Federation, we believe leaders in our industry must continue to rise above the day-to-day issues---transforming how we work to make cities more sustainable, livable, and prosperous. The WEF Great Water Cities (GWC) dialogue series provides a forum for water leaders who inspire all, driving transformational shifts at their organizations, effectively changing the culture, communicating strategically, and engaging their communities for a more resilient future. Their visionary thinking and timely experience is shared through information exchange and identification of effective practices in GWC panels addressing today’s biggest challenges for the water professions, sector, and institutions. The conversations started at WEFTEC in 2011 and have continued through conference sessions and summits at various locations since.

Lessons learned from the innovative leaders at GWC dialogues can help cities of all sizes get on the path to becoming a Great Water City.  To view information and materials about past GWC events, visit the archive.

Learn More About Past Great Water Cities