Speaker Biographical Information
Edmund G. "Ed" Archuleta, P.E., has been manager of the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board since January 1989. He is responsible for all aspects of water, wastewater, reclaimed water service and storm water to the greater El Paso metropolitan area. He reports to and implements strategic policies set by the seven-member public service board.
A registered professional engineer in Texas, New Mexico and Iowa, Mr. Archuleta earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from New Mexico State University and a master of management degree from the University of New Mexico. He is an American Academy of Environmental Engineers Diplomat. In June 2006, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. In 2008, he was appointed by the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences to develop a publication on water reuse as an approach on meeting future water supply needs. Most recently, he was named the WateReuse Association’s Person of the Year for 2010.
In 2010, Mr. Archuleta was appointed by President Barack Obama to represent the United States as chairman on the three-member Pecos River Compact Commission. He serves with two other commissioners, each representing the states of Texas and New Mexico.
Mr. Archuleta is currently involved with several technical and professional organizations, including the American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation, WateReuse Foundation, National and Texas Societies of Professional Engineers, Texas Water Conservation Association, New Mexico/Texas Water Commission and Far West Texas Planning Group. He is a past chairman of the Water Research Foundation and current board member of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, WateReuse Association and El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation. He serves as chairman of the Multi-State Salinity Coalition, an organization of 17 member cities in the West. He is an advisory board member to the USO El Paso chapter.
Mr. Archuleta is currently serving or has served on several civic organizations, including the United Way, Paso del Norte Health Foundation, Rotary Club, Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, Paso del Norte Group, El Paso Symphony, Community en Acción and New Mexico State University Academy of Civil Engineers. He is also on the engineering advisory boards of New Mexico State University and The University of Texas at El Paso.
Jorge A. Arroyo, P.E., directs the Texas Water Development Board’s (TWDB) Innovative Water Technologies (IWT) programs whose goal is to advance innovative water supplies in Texas through research, demonstration projects and educational outreach efforts.
Mr. Arroyo began his career as a Civil Engineer in Costa Rica working for the Costa Rican Water Institute and, later, for the United States Agency for International Development.
Mr. Arroyo is a graduate of the University of Costa Rica and of the Loughborough University in England. In 2006, he received the International Desalination Association inaugural fellowship award to conduct research under the auspices of the Singapore Public Utilities Board.
Karen Bondy is the manager in Lower Colorado River Authority’s (LCRA) Water Resource Management department. She directs services in the Central Texas region that includes planning for LCRA’s current and future water supply.
Since joining LCRA in 1998, Ms. Bondy has been the Chief Engineer for Water Services and managed areas in operations, engineering and construction. She was a consulting engineer before joining LCRA and has almost 30 years of experience in water resources engineering.
Ms. Bondy received her B.S. in Civil Engineering and her M.S. in Environmental Health Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
Ralph Eberts is currently serving as the executive managing director of professional services for Black & Veatch’s global water business. His main responsibilities include management and sales of the company’s core water business in the Americas, United Kingdom and Asia Pacific. Mr. Eberts and his team develop and maintain client relationships, manage the portfolio of projects that Black & Veatch executes for key clients and lead client-facing activities.
Prior to assuming this role, Mr. Eberts was the managing director for Black & Veatch’s Asia-Pacific water business where he was responsible for overseeing a business that spanned 12 offices in six countries. During his tenure, he successfully managed Black & Veatch’s re-entry into the Australia water market. The Australia water business became pivotal in returning the regional water business to profitability and also saw Black & Veatch expand into providing EPC services. He played a significant role in ensuring the successful execution of major infrastructure projects throughout the region, including the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant. The plant was an integral part of the $2.2 billion Western Corridor Recycled Water Project in SE Queensland, Australia, which received numerous accolades and awards from the global and regional engineering community, including, in November 2009, being named as one of the Top Ten Engineering Wonders in Queensland.
Through his long association with Black & Veatch, Mr. Eberts has held a number of important leadership positions that include director of project services and deputy director of client services for Black & Veatch’s water business in the Western United States. His project management experiences includes a senior management role on the full secondary expansion of the City of Los Angeles Hyperion Treatment Plant, a 15-year, $1.1 billion wastewater treatment and reclamation project, which was named one of the ten most outstanding public works projects of the 20th century by the American Public Works Association.
Through these experiences, Mr. Eberts has been able to provide important insight into the global and Asia Pacific water industry and has been interviewed by international and local media to comment about developments and trends in the industry. Recent media contributions include commentary on Channel NewsAsia in July 2010 and authoring articles including: “Food for Thought” in the May/June edition of Government Engineering and “Water as a Fuel” in the Winter 2012 edition of Mayors Water Council. Over the last two years, he also has led “Water Dialogue” roundtable discussions with industry leaders on the topics of water reuse and economic pressures.
Mr. Eberts has been an active member of the Water Environment Federation, American Water Works Association, American Public Works Association, Structural Engineering Association of California and an officer of the Institute for the Advancement of Engineering - College of Fellows.
Mr. Eberts is a regular guest speaker at major water events, delivering the keynote speech at the Annual Water Innovations Alliance Conference in Chicago, the President’s Dinner speech at Ozwater in Brisbane, Australia, and a series of high-level presentations at the Asian Development Bank and Partners Sanitation Dialogue in Manila and Stockholm Water Week. An active commentator on water issues to broader audiences, he has also presented at the Chinese American Environmental Professionals Association (CAEPA) Annual Meeting in Foster City, California.
Ron Ellis holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Public Administration from Texas State University. He began his environmental career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department where he worked first in Nature Tourism and then in Wildlife Permitting.
From 2006 to 2011, Mr. Ellis worked in the Water Rights Permitting and Availability Section as a project manager, managing major water use permit applications. In September 2011, he was appointed manager of the section.
Michael Hightower, Ph.D., is a distinguished member of the technical staff in the Energy Security Center at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a civil and environmental engineer with over 30 years experience in research and development. His current efforts include research and evaluation of innovative environmental and energy technologies and the reliability, security and protection of critical water and energy infrastructures. One of his current activities includes serving as project leader for the Energy-Water Science and Technology Roadmap for the Department of Energy. He recently helped write a report to Congress on current and emerging energy and water interdependencies and challenges. Another current effort is helping federal facilities improve their ability to meet their critical mission energy needs safely, securely and reliably through risk-based design and implementation of energy surety microgrids.
Dr. Hightower holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from New Mexico State University. He serves on the board of directors for Citizens for Responsible Energy, is past-chair of the Waste Management Education and Research Consortium Industrial Advisory Board and past-chair of American Society of Mechanical Engineer’s Environmental Engineering Division.
Ronald A. Kaiser, Ph.D., is a professor of water law and policy and chair of the Texas A&M University Graduate Water Degree Program. His water research focuses on law, marketing, environmental flows, groundwater management and conservation. A number of his research recommendations have been incorporated into Texas water law.
Desmond F. Lawler, Ph.D.
Nasser I. Al-Rashid Chair in Civil Engineering, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Desmond Lawler, Ph.D., is the Nasser I. Al-Rashid Chair in Civil Engineering and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at The University of Texas of Austin. His research and teaching focus on physical/chemical treatment processes for water and wastewater, with greater emphasis on drinking water treatment. Throughout his career, he has studied particle removal processes, but more recently he has been studying desalination and, particularly, the issue of concentrate management for inland desalination. He is a member of the Drinking Water Committee of the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Dr. Lawler has received several teaching awards at UT Austin and his contributions to research and education have been recognized with major awards by the American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Federation and the American Membrane Technology Association. For the upcoming 2012-2013 academic year, he has been named "Distinguished Lecturer" of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors; in that role, he will be traveling to approximately 15 universities to present lectures.
Cindy Loeffler, P.E., received her B.S. in engineering from Colorado State University in 1984 and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas. After working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Instream Flow Group in Fort Collins, Colorado, for three years, she went to work at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in 1987. In 2001, Ms. Loeffler was named the Water Resources Branch Chief at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Her duties now include managing the water quality and water quantity programs and the coordination of department response to water resource issues affecting fish and wildlife. She represents TPWD on the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Process (EARIP) steering committee, the Texas Water Conservation Advisory Council and the Governor’s Commission for Women State Agency Council.
John W. Nielsen-Gammon, Ph.D., is a regents professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University and serves as the Texas State Climatologist. He holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the faculty at Texas A&M University in 1991 and was appointed Texas State Climatologist by then-Governor George W. Bush in 2000. He has served as acting executive associate dean for the College of Geosciences, chair of the American Meteorological Society Board on Higher Education and president of the International Commission for Dynamical Meteorology. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society.
Dr. Nielsen-Gammon’s research involves such topics as jet streams, heavy rain, sea breezes, air pollution, data assimilation, climate data quality and drought monitoring and forecasting. He teaches courses in weather analysis, weather forecasting, atmospheric dynamics and climatology, and he blogs about weather and climate at http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss.
Robert Mace is deputy executive administrator at the Texas Water Development Board. He manages the Water Science and Conservation program area for the agency, a group of 66 people that studies the rivers and aquifers of the state, promotes the conservation of the state’s water and pursues innovative technologies such as desalination, rainwater collection and water reuse. He has a B.S. in Geophysics and an M.S. in Hydrology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a Ph.D. in Hydrogeology from The University of Texas at Austin. He has over 20 years experience working with water in Texas; has authored or coauthored more than 200 reports, papers and abstracts; and has given more than 200 speeches on water.
David Maidment, Ph.D., is a professor of civil engineering at The University of Texas at Austin where he has been on the faculty since 1981. He is a surface water hydrologist who specializes in the application of information systems in water resources.
Ellen McDonald, Ph.D., P.E., is a principal at Alan Plummer Associates where she leads the water resources group. She received a B.S. in civil engineering from Bucknell University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in water resources engineering from Stanford University. She has more than 20 years of experience in the areas of water resources planning, water reuse, water quality modeling, and water and wastewater system modeling and planning. Through her work at Alan Plummer Associates, she has assisted a number of Texas cities and water districts in the development and implementation of water reuse projects, relating to both direct and indirect reuse.
Robert R. Puente was appointed San Antonio Water System’s president and CEO in November 2008 after a distinguished career in the Texas House of Representatives. As chief executive of one of the nation’s largest utilities, he provides leadership in delivering water and wastewater services to more than 1.3 million consumers, developing new water resources, continuing infrastructure upgrades throughout the community and building regional partnerships.
As a member of the Texas State Legislature for 17 years, Mr. Puente is one of the policy pioneers of modern water supply management in Texas. He helped shape key regional water issues, beginning with the creation of the Edwards Aquifer Authority in 1993 and by serving as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee from 2003-2008. In his final year in the House, he sponsored Senate Bill 3, which solidified Edwards Aquifer pumping permits and saved the region hundreds of millions of dollars.
Under Mr. Puente’s leadership at San Antonio Water System, the utility updated San Antonio’s water management plan and has increased its water supply inventory by adding approximately 82,000 ac-ft of diverse supplies. The city will also add a groundwater desalination plant by 2016.
Additionally, the utility has earned its strongest credit ratings in San Antonio Water System history, which have been affirmed multiple times, most recently in March 2011. (Fitch AA+; Moody’s Aa1; S&P AA)
Under his leadership, the San Antonio Water System has maintained a distinguished record of regional and national recognition for its high level of performance across the organization, including:
- 2011 Texas Environmental Excellence Award presented by Governor Rick Perry for demonstrating positive effects on air, water and land resources.
- 2010 Gold Award presented by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies for Exceptional Utility Performance.
- 2010 Ethics in Business Award presented by the Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health and the UTSA College of Business for exceedingly high ethical conduct, integrity and civic responsibility.
In 1979, Mr. Puente received a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas School of Law in 1982. He is married to Carmen Muñiz Puente, and they have three children.
Representative Mark Strama is married to Crystal Cotti, and the couple has two young daughters, Victoria and Caroline.
In his fourth term in the Texas House of Representatives, Representative Strama chairs the House Committee on Technology, Economic Development and Workforce, where he crafts policies to position Texas as a headquarters of innovation, industry and the skilled workforce we need to prosper in the 21st century. He also serves on the Energy Resources Committee, where he champions legislation to make Texas as dominant in the renewable energy technologies of the future as it has been in the traditional fossil fuels industry.
Some of the honors and recognitions Representative Strama has received in his six years of service to Texas include:
- He was Honorably Mentioned in Texas Monthly's “Ten Best Legislators” list in two of the three sessions he has served. Texas Monthly said "Strama cares as much about others' success as his own."
- He was recently named one of the “Top Ten Good Men in American Politics” by the Good Men Project, a list that included four U.S. Senators, 3 Congressmen, a Governor and a Mayor.
- He has been named “Legislator of the Year” by the Texas Renewable Energy Association, “Texas Technology Champion” by TechAmerica and a “Legacy” award winner by the Texas Wind Coalition.
Representative Strama is also a tenacious advocate for public education. His legislative focus includes a special emphasis on technology in the classroom, early childhood education programs and extended learning time for at-risk students. Currently, he and his wife, Crystal, operate the Sylvan Learning Centers in the Austin area, which keeps them connected to the challenges in the education system, as well as the challenges facing small businesses in today's economy.
Prior to running for office in 2004, Representative Strama was a technology entrepreneur who founded the first company to register voters online. More than 700,000 Americans used this technology to register to vote in the 2000 election cycle. Prior to entering the private sector, he was director of programs at Rock the Vote, a non-partisan voter mobilization effort spearheaded by music industry leaders and MTV. He also worked on the successful 1990 gubernatorial campaign of Ann Richards and served as chief of staff to state senator Rodney Ellis.
Representative Strama serves on the advisory boards of the Clean Energy Incubator and the Environmental Sciences Institute at The University of Texas. He is also a board member of Challah for Hunger, a national charitable organization of college students. He was a founding board member of Hope Street Group, a non-partisan organization of young business leaders that seeks to achieve equality of opportunity in a high-growth economy. Representative Strama is a member of the Pflugerville Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of the Pflugerville Men in Education program, which places male volunteers in schools to serve as mentors and role models. He is a product of the Texas public school system, and he graduated from Brown University in 1990.
Todd H. Votteler, Ph.D. is the Executive Manager of Science, Intergovernmental Relations and Policy for the Guadalupe – Blanco River Authority. He is also the current Chair of the Texas Land Trust Council, and editor in chief of the Texas Water Journal.
In 1996, he was appointed by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lucius Bunton as the Federal Special Master for the Endangered Species Act (ESA) litigation, Sierra Club v. San Antonio. Prior to that Votteler assisted Federal Court Monitor Joe G. Moore, Jr. during the landmark ESA litigation over the Edwards Aquifer, Sierra Club v. Babbitt. His previous experience also includes work as a Research Scientist at the Battelle – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in Washington, D.C., and Executive Director of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust, a 501(c)3 land and water trust.
Votteler has a B.S. in Natural Resources from The University of the South, an M.S. in Natural Resources from The University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Geography from Texas State University.
Michael Webber, Ph.D.
Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy and Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology, The University of Texas at Austin
Michael Webber, Ph.D., is the associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, co-director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), where he trains a new generation of energy leaders through research and education at the intersection of engineering, policy and commercialization. He has authored more than 150 scientific articles, columns, books and book chapters. A highly sought public speaker, he has given more than 175 lectures, speeches and invited talks in the last few years, including testimony for hearings of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, keynotes for scientific conferences, lectures at the United Nations and briefings for executives at some of the nation’s leading companies.
Dr. Webber is on the board of advisors for Scientific American, holds four patents and is one of the originators of Pecan Street Incorporated, which is a $30 million public-private partnership for smart grid innovation and deployment. Prior to joining UT Austin, he studied issues relevant to energy, innovation, manufacturing and national security at the RAND Corporation. Previously, he was a senior scientist at Pranalytica, where he invented sensors for homeland security, industrial analysis and environmental monitoring. Dr. Webber’s education includes a B.A. with high honors (plan II liberal arts) and B.S. with high honors (aerospace engineering) from UT Austin and an M.S. (mechanical engineering) and Ph.D. (mechanical engineering, minor in electrical engineering) from Stanford University, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow from 1995-1998.
Michael Young, Ph.D., is Associate Director for Environmental Systems at the Bureau of Economic Geology in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. In this position, he leads a broad-based group of approximately 30 research scientists and engineers focusing on water/energy nexus, water resource evaluation, groundwater recharge processes, energy economics, coastal processes and geological mapping. He has 25 years of experience in research, consulting and government. He earned his Ph.D. in soil and water science (specializing in soil physics and hydrology) from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1995 and has held senior research scientist positions at Georgia Institute of Technology and the Desert Research Institute.
Dr. Young has authored or co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, several book chapters and more than 100 presentations at scholarly meetings. He currently serves as co-editor of the Vadose Zone Journal and on several committees for scholarly organizations. His personal research interests and experience are on the movement of water and solutes in arid and semi-arid vadose zones, soil/water/plant interactions, groundwater recharge and the connection between water resources, landscape development and human interactions.
Kent Zammit is a senior program manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). He has 16 years of experience in water-related research and directs research activities related to water availability and quality, effluent guidelines, fish protection and hydropower.
Prior to rejoining the Environment Sector, Mr. Zammit was an account executive with Technical Advisory Services, working with EPRI’s 10 largest funders on addressing environmental issues and managing client relations and technology transfer. Before that, he served as a project and program manager in the Environment Sector for over 13 years. His activities focused on advanced cooling, fish protection, biofouling and corrosion control, and selective catalytic reduction for NOX control. His work on advanced cooling involved developing and refining water-conserving technologies. His projects included addressing some of the performance and efficiency issues of air-cooled condensers (dry cooling) and identifying sources of degraded water to develop them for use as cooling water for generating stations.
Before joining EPRI in 1992, Mr. Zammit was employed with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for 12 years. He was NOX Compliance Program Manager in the Power Design and Construction Division and, in addition, designed and specified pollution control and water treatment equipment for the Chemical Systems Group.
Mr. Zammit received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Phi Tau Sigma.
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