2021 Speakers & Moderators:

Pat Ackerman

Pat Ackerman serves as senior vice president-investor relations, treasurer, and corporate responsibility and sustainability for A. O. Smith Corporation. In addition to managing investor relations and overseeing debt and equity, capital markets, global finance, treasury and pension investment, she leads A. O. Smith’s corporate responsibility and sustainability initiatives.

Ackerman was named a 2012 Woman of Influence by the Milwaukee Business Journal. Institutional Investor magazine recognized Pat as the 2016-2018 Top Investor Relations Executive among public mid-cap companies in the diversified industrial industry sector. She serves as a board member of the American Red Cross Southeastern Wisconsin and as vice chairwoman of Milwaukee Women, inc.


dean amhaus

headshot of Dean AmhausDean Amhaus has served as the president and CEO of The Water Council since March 2010. His diverse, 40-year background in multiple sectors encapsulates a wide range of expertise in government relations, branding, fundraising, economic development and nonprofit management in Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wisconsin.

Amhaus has also served as the president of the Spirit of Milwaukee, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing Milwaukee’s image, as well as the president of Forward Wisconsin, the state’s marketing economic development organization, and executive director of the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Commission and Wisconsin Arts Board. He began his career working in Washington, D.C., for a firm that advocated for federal policy issues for the arts, humanities and people with disabilities.


Patrick Boyle

Patrick BoylePatrick Boyle is the director of corporate sustainability at Sloan Valve Company, where his is responsible for developing and executing the sustainability strategy throughout the Sloan global enterprise. He has more than 20 years of experience in the environmental health, occupational safety and sustainability field. Boyle has championed Triple Zero campaigns for zero water wasted, zero waste to landfill and zero energy growth programs. He has developed corporate responsibility strategy plans, implemented programs to drive corporate citizenship and championed environmental stewardship throughout his companies to foster a culture of sustainability.

Boyle teaches graduate-level courses on water sustainability at Northwestern University. He is the chairman for the United States Green Building Council’s Water Efficiency Technical Advisory Group and sits on the International WELL Building Institute’s Water Advisory. He proudly served as the board chairman of the Illinois Green Alliance (Illinois USGBC Chapter) and also serves on the board of directors for the Chamber by O’Hare.


Steve Clouse

Steve ClouseSteve Clouse is senior vice president and chief operating officer of the San Antonio Water System (SAWS). He began his SAWS career working as a sample collector in the wastewater pretreatment division in 1985. Clouse currently leads the operations and engineering activities at SAWS. As chief operating officer, he oversees SAWS’ $600 million per year five-year capital program and leads a team of approximately 1,000 professionals providing water and wastewater services for 1.8 million people.


susanne dESroches

Susanne DesRoches is the deputy director for infrastructure and energy at the New York City Office of Climate Resiliency and Office of Climate and Sustainability. She leads the city’s policies and programs focusing on adapting regional infrastructure systems to climate change and directs the city’s efforts to transition to 100% clean electricity by 2040 through leading the city’s energy policy and regulatory affairs.

DesRoches leads the NYC Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, which works to identify climate risks and coordinate adaptation strategies, and oversees the development of the NYC Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines. She was a chapter author for the Fourth National Climate Assessment and has testified at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology panel on the need for resiliency to prepare America’s transportation infrastructure for climate change. She is a co-author of the upcoming Congressional Report on Transportation Resiliency Metrics.


charles fishman

Charles FishmanSix years ago, Dean Amhaus, the president and CEO of The Water Council, was looking for a way to bring fresh energy to the annual Water Leaders Summit. Dean knew the work of journalist Charles Fishman and had heard him talking about water on NPR, so he asked Fishman if he’d be interested in finding an all-new way of staging a conference.

That’s how the Water Leaders Summit came to have its original, energizing style. Every panel tackles an urgent topic in the storytelling format that is now a hallmark of the Water Leaders Summit. Fishman draws stories and examples from experts that they’ve never shared before — and he makes sure no question goes unasked.

Fishman started his reporting career at the Washington Post, where he was part of the team that investigated the Challenger space shuttle disaster. He is the author of three New York Times-bestselling books, most recently “One Giant Leap,” the story of how America put people on the moon in the 1960s. His book “The Big Thirst” is the bestselling book about water in a generation, and a standard for people trying to understand how best to tackle water problems. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, also a journalist.


Aimee Flannery

Dr. Aimee Flannery is a program analyst for the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and a registered professional engineer. Since 2011, she has almost exclusively researched the performance of highway assets under a range of threats including flooding, rockfall/rockslide, earthquakes and other external threats. Her research led to various Transportation Research Board reports, risk and resilience quantitative methodologies for state DOTs and studies for the Federal Highway Administration. Flannery also serves as the research coordinator for the Transportation Research Board’s Asset Management Committee.


Sara Gonzalez-Rothi

Sara Gonzalez-Rothi is the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s first senior director for water. She was most recently senior counsel on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, where she worked on policy and oversight for oceans, fisheries, clean energy and other climate issues.

Gonzalez-Rothi previously worked as legislative counsel and Everglades fellow to then-Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), where she helped craft the RESTORE Act in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. She has also worked at the National Wildlife Federation and as interim policy chair of the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Coalition.


Julie Gorte

Julie GorteJulie Gorte is senior vice president for sustainable investing at Impax Asset Management LLC, the North American division of Impax Asset Management Group, and investment adviser to Pax World Funds. She oversees environmental, social and governance-related research on prospective and current investments as well as the firm’s shareholder engagement and public policy advocacy. Julie is also a member of the Impax Gender Analytics team.

Prior to joining the investment world, Gorte held roles in the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, The Wilderness Society, the EPA and the Northeast-Midwest Institute. She serves on the boards of the Endangered Species Coalition, E4theFuture and Clean Production Action and is the board chair of the Sustainable Investments Institute.


Carol Ellinger Haddock

Carol Ellinger Haddock is director of Houston Public Works, the largest American Public Works Association-accredited agency in the nation. Carol leads almost 4,000 employees in transforming the culture and operations of the department, with the purpose: “Together we create a strong foundation for Houston to thrive.” Houston Public Works includes water and wastewater systems, street and storm drainage systems, and regulation of public and private development. The department has an annual operating budget of $2.1 billion and an annual capital budget of nearly a billion dollars.

Haddock has led the organization through a cultural transformation by providing resilience training for all employees. Streamlining operations and equipping employees with new skill sets has allowed the department to move forward from Hurricane Harvey, set records for treatment of drinking water in a day, reduced environmental impacts in the wastewater and stormwater systems, maintain a next-business-day pothole repair program 99% of the time and support more than $6 billion in development. Through Carol’s leadership, Houston Public Works employees have been empowered to take on additional leadership roles in the Department and throughout the country in professional organizations. When other cities or agencies have complex problems to solve, they often turn to Houston for advice and guidance.


Matt Howard

Matt Howard is The Water Council’s vice president of water stewardship and director of the Alliance for Water Stewardship North America. He oversees The Water Council’s sustainability and stewardship initiatives, which include regional partnership and oversight of the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s International Water Stewardship Standard (“AWS Standard”) and System in North America. He has 15 years in sustainability program development and management, including five years as Milwaukee’s sustainability director.

Howard came to Milwaukee from Washington, D.C., where he worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce and as a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is AWS and Lean Six Sigma accredited and serves on the WELL Water Advisory and the Wisconsin Governor’s Wetlands Study Council. He served on the U.S. EPA’s National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology from 2014 to 2019.


Johnny olson

Johnny Olson is the Colorado director of transportation and operations for Horrocks Engineers and the president of Move Colorado. After 28 years with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), where he served as the deputy executive director and Region 4 transportation director, Olson brings unique experience managing projects and leading teams, task forces and committees. He served as the incident commander for Northern Colorado’s historic floods in 2013 and again in 2018 when CDOT was taken down by a ransomware cyberattack. As region director, Olson was recognized as one of CDOT’s top leaders, leading approximately $800 million of projects from conception to construction completion. His expertise includes project management, transportation planning and project development, highway design, local agency work, construction management, contract management and NEPA environmental studies.


Rodolfo Perez

Rodolfo leads the water and materials concepts in the standard development team at the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). Before joining IWBI, he worked in the Bureau of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where he participated in citywide Legionella, drinking water and lead in water surveillance. He began his career participating in startups focused on bringing nanoparticle-based technologies from lab experiments to prototypes. He holds MS and PhD degrees in environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and undergraduate degrees in industrial and chemical engineering and aesthetics from the Catholic University of Chile.


Ed Sniffen

Ed Sniffen is the deputy director of the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s Highways Division, responsible for 2,500 lane miles of highway and 741 bridges across six Hawaiian Islands. Sniffen has oversight of over 1,000 employees in four district offices, six branches and four staff offices. His mission is the development and improvement of our highway transportation systems and people to facilitate sustainable safe and efficient travel and commerce statewide.

Sniffen is driven to improve the division’s implementation of its key programs by modernizing its processes, partnerships and strategies to provide Hawaii’s residents and visitors the quality of life and experiences they deserve with the resources at hand. Sniffen works to tie all levels of government, legislature, and our beloved communities together to achieve a common goal. He also serves as chair of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Committee on Transportation System Security and Resilience.


Emilio Tenuta

Emilio Tenuta is Ecolab’s senior vice president for corporate responsibility. His 36-year tenure at Ecolab includes 25 years of technical and marketing management experience in various industries including food and beverage, pharmaceutical, lodging, healthcare, primary metals and automotive.

In the past 11 years, Tenuta has led Ecolab’s strategic sustainability journey focused on corporate responsibility, internal environmental stewardship and helping customers operate more sustainably. He is actively involved in advancing global sustainability practices, with a significant focus on water stewardship and climate. In partnership with S&P Trucost – and a multi-stakeholder advisory group – Tenuta led development of the Water Risk Monetizer, industry’s first financial modeling tool to assess water-related risks, and the Smart Water Navigator, a free online tool to help businesses improve water management and achieve their water reduction targets. Tenuta is actively involved in advancing industry sustainability practices.


Claudia Toussaint

Claudia Toussaint is senior vice president, chief sustainability officer and general counsel for Xylem. In this role, she is responsible for leading the legal and compliance functions at Xylem as well as the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) approach. She also serves as the company’s corporate secretary. Xylem is currently rated in the 98th percentile in its overall ESG score by Sustainalytics and rated AAA by MSCI. Xylem has signed the UN Global Compact, the CEO Water Mandate, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Global Business Coalition, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development WASH pledge and the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, and received a 100% rating in The Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for 2020.

Toussaint serves on the UCLA Advisory Board for Social Sciences as well as the Selection Committee for the UCLA William Sharpe Fellows Program. She  was recognized with a 2017 Innovative Leader’s Award for General Counsel by Women, Influence & Power in Law and a 2017 Top General Counsel award by First Chair for significant contributions to the legal community.