Board of Directors

Mami Hara
General Manager, Seattle Public Utilities
Chair of the Board, US Water Alliance

Mami Hara is the general manager of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU). Before coming to SPU, she served as the first deputy commissioner and chief of staff at Philadelphia Water. Mami holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University  and is an advisor to several environmental,  philanthropic, planning and design advocacy  organizations. She has taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University and was principal and owner of the renown planning and urban design firm Wallace Roberts + Todd. Hara is committed to advancing an equitable and sustainable Seattle and region through collaboration, strategic investment, and partnering with community, and seeks to expand this ethic throughout Seattle Public Utilities. Hara brings over three decades of experience in sustainable land and water management practices and advances them through cultivating leaders, partnerships, participation,  planning, science/data-informed decisions and knowledge sharing.

Cathy Bernardino Bailey
Executive Director, Greater Cincinnati Water Works
Cathy Bernardino Baily is the Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works. Before serving as Executive Director, Ms. Bailey worked her entire career for GCWW. She began her career in 1992 as a chemist before moving on the following year to take on the role of Water Quality and Treatment Data Manager. She later earned several promotions to other key managerial positions including Information Technology Help Desk Administrator, Strategic Planning and Performance Measurement Manager, and Project Manager. In 2011, she accepted the job as Strategic Planning Manager, where she led development and execution of strategic business planning efforts for the water utility. A year later she moved on to the role of Transition Manager. In that position she facilitated and managed all integration activities with the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati order to help unify the two utilities. Ms. Bailey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Cincinnati. She is actively working toward her Master’s in Business Administration from the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University.
Michael Carlin
Deputy General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Michael Carlin was appointed as the Deputy General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of the SFPUC in 2009. In that role Michael supervises the agency’s efforts in capital planning, emergency response, asset management, and other functions across the three business lines—water, power and wastewater. Prior to this position, Michael served as the Assistant General Manager for Water where he led the effort to diversify the water supply portfolio. He continues in that role leading many of the environmental initiatives including addressing the impact of climate change on the organization. He joined the SFPUC in 1996 as the Water Resources Planning Manager where he led the effort to develop comprehensive capital plans. That effort led to the establishment and execution of the Water System Improvement Program. Prior to joining the SFPUC, Michael worked for more than a decade at the San Francisco Regional Water Board where he was the Planning Chief. Michael is a native San Franciscan and continues to live in the city today.

Albert Cho
Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Xylem

Albert Cho is Xylem’s Vice President and General Manager, Advanced Infrastructure Analytics. Infrastructure Analytics at Xylem, a global water technology company with $4.7B in annual revenue. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s newest business, which focuses on intelligent infrastructure diagnostics and decision support services across water, wastewater and energy infrastructure. Previously, Albert led Xylem’s corporate and business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, market intelligence, and business development activities. Before Xylem, Albert worked as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary at the State Department, where he was a White House Fellow and served on Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff. Previously, he was an executive at Cisco Systems, where he led innovation projects applying information technology to environmental challenges. He also worked at McKinsey & Company, where he helped found the Sustainability and Resources Practice and advised clients in the industrial, high tech and financial sectors. He served at the United Nations with Undersecretary General Jeffrey Sachs on a global plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. He received an M.SC in development economics and an M.B.A. with distinction from Oxford, and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College.

Snehal Desai
Executive Vice President & Chief Growth Officer, Evoqua Water Technologies LLC

Snehal Desai was named Evoqua’s Chief Growth Officer in January 2018, responsible for Evoqua Corporate Strategy, Corporate Development and M&A, RD&E, Strategic Marketing. Corporate and Marketing Communications, Cross-Selling, and the Company’s smart water efforts. Snehal previously was the global business director for Dow Water & Process Solutions where he was responsible for developing and implementing the growth strategy for the business and leading approximately 1,700 employees worldwide.  Earlier in his career at Dow where he worked for more than 20 years across two periods, Desai held various positions in sales, marketing, business development, and technical service and development.  Prior to Dow, Desai led commercial and business development for Segetis, a startup focused on developing novel bio-based chemicals, and was vice president and chief marketing officer of NatureWorks LLC, the first company to offer a family of commercially available low- carbon-footprint polymers.  

Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells
Chief Executive Officer, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells is the Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is a regional entity providing sanitary and stormwater management services to Cleveland and 61 suburban communities in Northeast Ohio. As CEO, Kyle oversees the operation of one of the largest clean-water agencies in Ohio, a district that treats 90 billion gallons of water every year thanks to the work of more than 750 employees. She works closely with seven trustees and nine directors to ensure efficient management of hundreds of miles of sewer and stream networks, a multi-billion-dollar 25-year Project Clean Lake program, and a regional wet-weather strategy for the health of Lake Erie and more than one million residents. Kyle graduated summa cum laude from the Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She earned a master’s degrees with honors in both Public Affairs and Environmental Science at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Samoa. Before joining the District, she was Director of the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc.

Yvonne Forrest
Director, Houston Water
Yvonne Forrest is the Director of Houston Water. Ms. Forrest is responsible for the operation and maintenance of City of Houston’s regional water and wastewater utility systems. She also oversees Regulatory Compliance, Infrastructure Planning and Operations/Program Support. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States and City’s public water and wastewater system is one of the largest utilities within the United States. She manages a staff of over 1700 with an annual capital and operations and maintenance budget of over $657 million. The Drinking Water Operations branch is responsible for three surface water purification plants, 100 groundwater pumping stations, over 7,000 miles of water mains, 59,000 fire hydrants and 159,000 valves. The Wastewater Operations branch is responsible for 39 waste treatment plants, over 370 lift stations, 127,000 manholes and 6,100 miles of gravity and force mains. Prior to her career in public service, Ms. Forrest spent 15 years, as an Engineer, in the private sector developing processes to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, permits and corporate standards. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from University of South Carolina.
Hank Habicht
Co-Founder, Water Finance Exchange

Hank Habicht currently serves as Managing Partner of SAIL Capital Partners. Hank’s career has included leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Chief Operating Officer. Hank has served as Senior Vice President in charge of acquisitions and other divisions of Safety-Kleen, a billion-dollar environmental service company. He has also held positions and started ventures in the for-profit environmental arena, including Vice President of William D. Ruckelshaus Associates, which co-managed the successful Environmental Venture Fund, one of the first successful green funds in the 1980s. As Co-Founder of Capital E, LLC, a strategic consultancy for emerging renewable energy products and technologies, he advised Fortune 100 and early stage ventures on sustainable growth strategies. Hank holds an A.B. with High Honors from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.

Ghassan Korban
Executive Director, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans
Ghassan Korban is the Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans in September of 2018, Ghassan Korban served the Department of Public Works for 31 years. During his last eight years, Ghassan served as the Commissioner of Public Works. As the Commissioner he was responsible for four divisions: Milwaukee Water Works, Operations Division, Parking Division, and Infrastructure Division which included Transportation, Sanitary and Storm Water Management. In his current role as Executive Director for the Sewerage and Water Board, he oversees the provision of clean drinking water, treatment of wastewater, and drainage operations for the city of New Orleans. His primary mission is to overhaul the agency’s antiquated equipment and infrastructure, creating a modern utility capable of meeting the needs of its customers.  Some of Mr. Korban’s key accomplishments include the planning, design and construction of the first modern streetcar system in the city of Milwaukee, and coordination of the construction of the entire infrastructure needed to support the new Milwaukee Bucks Basketball Arena. Mr. Korban received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Construction Management from Marquette University.
Michael McAfee
President and CEO, PolicyLink

Michael McAfee, President and CEO, leads PolicyLink, a national research and action institute focused on advancing racial and economic equity: just and fair inclusion for everyone living in America. He brings over 20 years of experience as a leader who has partnered with organizations across the public, philanthropic, and private sectors to realize this vision. Before joining PolicyLink, Michael served as senior community planning and development representative in the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Prior to his public service, Michael served as the director of community leadership for The Greater Kansas City Foundation and Affiliated Trusts. He earned his doctorate of education in human and organizational learning from George Washington University and completed Harvard University's Executive Program in Public Management. He is an avid off-road hiker and practitioner of yoga.


Oluwole A. (OJ) McFoy
General Manager, Buffalo Sewer Authority

Oluwole A. (OJ) McFoy is the General Manager of the Buffalo Sewer Authority, which operates a 560 million gallon per day treatment facility and regional collection system that serves over 550,000 customers in Western New York. He is responsible for delivering on Buffalo’s 20-year, $400 million commitment to eliminate the effects of combined sewer overflows in Buffalo’s Great Lakes waterways. Mr. McFoy began his career at Buffalo Sewer in 2006 as the Chief Operating Officer and has held multiple positions since, including Chief Financial Officer and Chief Engineer. Prior to joining Buffalo Sewer, his early career involved project engineering and management at a regional architectural and engineering consultant firm. Currently, Mr. McFoy serves as Vice-Chair for New York Water Environment Association’s Utility Executive Committee.  In addition, he represents New York, serving in the Water Environment Federation’s House of Delegates as a state representative. He holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Clarkson University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York.

John Take
Executive Vice President, Global Water Business, Stantec
John Take is the Executive Vice President of the Global Water Business at Stantec. Whether you’re dealing with too much or not enough, John makes sure your water gets where it needs to go. Serving as the vice president and sub-sector lead for conveyance, John believes the coaching and mentoring of staff leads to the continuous improvement of business skills and technical knowledge, resulting in higher quality services. John recently helped reduce hurricane storm damage and flooding risk for the City of New Orleans with the design-build Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps project, one of the largest drainage pumping systems in the world. He was the technical advisor for the Ras Al Khair Seawater Conveyance System, which uses seven pumps moving 330,000 gallons per minute of corrosive seawater through 28 miles of fiber reinforced pipe with diameters up to 156 inches to help cool an industrial city.
Cindy Wallis-Lage
President, Global Water Business, Black & Veatch

Cindy Wallis-Lage is President of Black & Veatch’s global water business, leading more than 2,600 professionals in over 100 offices worldwide. In this role, she is responsible for the company’s water-related business strategies, development and operations on a global basis, encompassing engineering, construction, consulting and design-build ventures that address the comprehensive needs of water and wastewater utilities. She also serves as a member of Black & Veatch’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Well known in the water industry for her expertise in water reuse and treatment, Cindy has been involved in more than 100 projects around the world in both the municipal and industrial sectors. Cindy earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Kansas State University and her Master’s in Environmental Health Engineering from the University of Kansas. She currently serves on the engineering advisory council at Kansas State.