Meet the Fall 2020 Rising Professionals Cohort!

Andrea Becerra
Water Policy Analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Andrea Becerra works for NRDC’s Latin America Project as an advocate for water-smart policies across the Americas. She collaborates with scientists, policymakers, urban planners, farmers, and other experts to scale and promote solutions that benefit human health, socio-economic development, and the environment. Prior to joining NRDC, Andrea received a master's from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where she studied integrated water resources management and international environment and resource policy. She also received the Water: Systems, Science, and Society (WSSS) Certificate. She is currently based in Santiago, Chile.
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Dr. Lindsay Birt
Client Solutions Manager, Xylem
Lindsay has extensive experience in digital intelligence for water and wastewater networks, water resource engineering, including nutrient management, stream water quality monitoring and modeling, stormwater management, sustainable design and performance assessments, geospatial information systems, and watershed management. She currently serves as the Watershed Committee Chair and on the LIFT-Innovation Subcommittee Member for the Illinois Water Environment Association. Dr. Birt completed a Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University with an emphasis in environmental and natural resources engineering. She holds an M.S. and a B.S. in biological and agricultural engineering from Texas A&M University.
Yvonne Carney
Director of Strategic Performance, WSSC Water
Yvonne Carney is the director of strategic performance at WSSC Water, a public utility in Maryland that provides water and wastewater services to 1.8 million residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s County. She is responsible for facilitating the development of WSSC Water’s strategic plan and champions the use of data and risk analysis to drive decision-making across the utility. Prior to WSSC Water, she was director of performance improvement at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in Washington, DC. 
Yvonne has a B.A. in English from the University of Houston and an M.S. in community and regional planning from the University of Texas at Austin. She holds certifications in enterprise risk management from the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) and infrastructure asset management (IAM).
David Fielder
Project Manager, Detroit Water & Sewerage Department

David serves as the project manager of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s Lead Line Replacement Program and focuses on Detroit’s compliance with the Michigan Lead and Copper Rule. He oversees all of Detroit’s lead and copper sampling protocols, DWSD’s Distribution Systems Material Inventory, and all reporting procedures to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

David has over five years of experience in grassroots engagement, project management, and crisis management and crisis communication in both the private and public sector. Most recently, he served as the project manager for Detroit’s COVID-19 Water Restart Program aimed at addressing plumbing issues and restoring running water to citizens throughout the City of Detroit during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Kristi Goble
Program Coordinator, Metropolitan Council, Environmental Services (MCES)
Kristi leads division workforce programs and initiatives around employee engagement and retention, workforce development, and organizational culture. She works with a talented and passionate team to embed equity into MCES programs, projects, policies, and practices. She is a people-centric person who has a passion for coming up with innovative and brain-based solutions to engage employees in conversations around reimagining how we do our work. She also provides development and mentorship support with the purpose of fostering a workplace that is diverse, inclusive, and high performing. She holds a B.S. in geography with a minor in history and has over nine years of experience in engineering and construction program and project coordination in both the private and public sector. Kristi enjoys spending time with her family, hiking and exploring the great state of Minnesota’s regional and state parks.
Anjali Gupta
Operations Program Manager, DC Water

Anjali Gupta is a licensed environmental engineer currently working as an operations program manager for DC Water. She specializes in strategizing and executing operational objectives for maintenance and improvements to the District’s water distribution system. Ms. Gupta has also led an effort to pilot and implement a water main replacement program performed by in-house crews to provide faster relief to ratepayers experiencing localized water quality issues. As a DC Water ratepayer herself, she commits to finding innovative ways to increase value to the customer and to help restore the public perception of tap water. In her free time, she loves a good Netflix binge but can also take long hikes in the nearby Shenandoah Valley or cook up a big meal. Her new favorite hobby is finding ways to make her 10-month-old daughter laugh. 

Karen Nenahlo
Senior Conservation Project Manager, The Freshwater Trust
Karen Nenahlo is a senior conservation project manager with The Freshwater Trust in Sacramento. Karen works with partners and staff to connect communities, working lands, and groundwater-dependent ecosystems through SGMA-related efforts. In her previous role, Karen managed the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Working Soils® Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and the Milwaukee River Watershed Conservation Partnership, made possible through the US Farm Bill Regional Conservation Partnership Program. She brings significant experience in strategic conservation planning for integrated watershed management. Karen has a master’s degree in sustainable international development from Brandeis University and a Master of Science and Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Science. When not at work, Karen is exploring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or hiking and riding in the Sierras.
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Andrew Nishihara
Civil Engineer, Stantec
Andrew grew up on a row crop farm in the rural high desert of agricultural eastern Oregon, quickly realizing that water is the lifeblood of his community and central to its economy. The closest town to his house had a population of 150, and his high school graduating class was 17. Andrew currently works for Stantec in Portland, OR, a city over 4,000 times larger than his hometown. Yet water remains the lifeblood that keeps development moving and drives growth. As a civil engineer with a bioengineering background, Andrew feels fortunate to have worked on a multitude of water planning and treatment projects for communities large and small. Andrew was drawn to a career in water by continually meeting quality people in the water profession who have a passion for protecting public health and this valuable resource for generations to come. 
Holly Ruble
Environmental Compliance Specialist, Utilities Department, City of Cedar Rapids
Holly Ruble has been passionate about the environment since childhood. After graduating from the University of Iowa in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, she worked in environmental consulting. 
In 2003, Holly started working for the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as an environmental specialist. She managed a wide range of projects, including a city-wide greenhouse gas inventory, Cedar Lake pre-restoration sampling, source water protection efforts, and regulatory reporting. She also participated in the planning of a $500 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade. In 2020, Holly became an operations shift supervisor at the wastewater treatment plant.
Holly, her husband, and her five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter spend their extra time biking, gardening, and reading. She is proud to walk the talk, using rooftop solar panels, rain barrels, homegrown produce, and locally sourced meat to fuel her home, garden, and family.
Ronnie Versher Jr.
Acting Director of Community Benefits Program, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Ronnie Versher joined the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in 2018 as the workforce development manager on the Community Benefits team. Ronnie developed and implemented robust strategies and programs that links environmental education with career awareness and connects communities to opportunities. Ronnie’s work with local government agencies, education institutions, and nonprofit organizations advances policies and programs key to workforce development, equity and inclusion, and economic growth. As of October 2020, Ronnie will transition into the role of acting director of community benefits at SFPUC. Before SFPUC, Ronnie managed strategic partnerships and business development for LeadersUp, a national nonprofit with a mission to bridge the divide between the untapped potential of young people and the business challenge of finding and retaining the best talent. He facilitated the organization’s national career summits, the first of which was in collaboration with the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance initiative.
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