Utilities of the Future

Last year we explored potential flowsheets of the future. This year we invited you to join us for a panel discussion with some of the most influential industry executives in North America as we ask “What are the current and future needs of utilities and how can industry stakeholders better serve these needs”. If you weren’t lucky enough to attend please feel free to review the conference video below!

water-ides-discussion-LOGO Utilities of the Future

Question 1: Regulatory Impact

Question 2: Reuse

Question 3: Personnel Issues

Question 4: Resource Recovery

Question 5: Technology

Question 6: The Future

Photo of Glen Daigger

Glen Daigger, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE.


Dr. Glen Daigger is currently a Professor of Engineering Practice at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan.  He is currently the President of One Water Solutions as well as the Immediate Past President of the International Water Association (IWA).

Dr. Daigger is deeply involved in professional activities and his known for his work with Ch2MHIll where he was employed for 35 years.  His latest position prior to his retirement was as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for CH2M HILL.   He also served as Professor and Chair of Environmental Systems Engineering at Clemson University.

He is actively engaged in the water profession through major projects, and as author or co-author of more than 100 technical papers, four books, and several technical manuals, he contributed to significantly advancing practice within the water profession.

A frequent speaker, he recently contributed to the IWA publication Activated Sludge – 100 Years and Counting and spoke at the associated international conference in Essen, Germany.  He is a Distinguished Member of ASCE.  A member of a number of professional societies, Dr. Daigger is also a member of the US National Academy of Engineers.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kappe, Freese, and Feng lectures and the Harrison Prescott Eddy, Morgan, and the Gascoigne Awards.

David St. Pierre

David St. Pierre, B.S., P.E.


Mr. David St. Pierre is the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago where he manages a staff of nearly 2,000. The District covers 883 square miles and provides wholesale wastewater treatment for over five million residents in Cook County, Illinois. The District operates seven wastewater treatment plants which treat one billion gallons/day. The District also provides regional stormwater services.

The District has been a leader in the industry since its creation in 1889, and Mr. St Pierre is committed to ensuring this rich tradition of leadership continues under his tenure. Among other tasks, the District is leading efforts among utilities in adopting a resource recovery model.

Mr. St. Pierre has been committed to excellent service and fiscal responsibility throughout his 30 year career in the water industry. Most recently, he served as the Deputy Commissioner of the City of Atlanta, Georgia Department of Watershed Management, where he was responsible for the city’s drinking water supply system and water reclamation treatment facilities. During his tenure, operating costs decreased by $37 million per year – a reduction of nearly 40 percent – while at the same time Atlanta wastewater treatment facilities earned four Platinum, nine Gold and three Silver awards from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).

Prior to working in Atlanta, Mr. St. Pierre was the Operations Director for the Metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri Sewer District, where he managed the city’s collection system and wastewater treatment facilities. Mr. St. Pierre initiated and implemented an innovative sewer maintenance program that reduced sewer backups and increased customer satisfaction to above 90 percent. The success of the program was determined through an independent customer satisfaction research agency who called customers who had received District services and had them rate the service. Before implementation of the program satisfaction scores were in the 60 percent range.

Mr. St. Pierre received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Professional Engineer. He is a member of the Water Environment Federation, the American Water Works Association and the Georgia Association of Water Professionals.

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Kerrie Romanow, B.S., MBA


Ms. Kerrie Romanow is Director of San José Environmental Services Department (ESD), with over 25 years of experience in the public, manufacturing and consulting arenas.

As the Environmental Leader for the 10th largest city in the U.S., Ms. Romanow is responsible for shaping the strategic direction of San Jose’s environmental programs and utility systems, including energy and climate programs, residential and commercial solid waste, watershed protection, San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility, San Jose Municipal Water System, and South Bay Water Recycling.

Ms. Romanow’s department has an annual budget of over $220 million and over 540 people and a five-year capital budget of $900 million. The Director’s Department is collaborating with other South Bay cities and special districts to rebuild an almost 60-year-old wastewater treatment facility with a $1.5-billion capital improvement program over the next 10 years. More than 100 capital improvement projects have been currently identified to target aging electrical, mechanical and structural assets.

Ms. Romanow earned a BS degree in Environmental Economics from UC Berkeley, an MBA from Santa Clara University, and completed the Harvard University Senior Executives in State and Local Government certificate program. Ms. Romanow is responsible for San Jose’s 2012 plastic bag ban. The Bring Your Own Bag ordinance won a Helen Putnam Award for Excellence from the League of California Cities in 2014. In 2015 Ms. Romanow was honored as one of Silicon Valley’s Top 100 Women of Influence.

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Thomas Kula, B.S., M.S., Brig Gen


Mr. Thomas Kula is the Executive Director of the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). In this capacity, Mr. Kula is responsible for all aspects of the NTMWD operations, management, and planning for an annual operating budget of over $370,000,000 for the FY 14-15. Additionally, Mr. Kula is responsible for the NTMWD’s FY 14/15 Construction Program of $300,000,000. NTMWD currently serves over 1.6 million citizens with a high-quality treated water supply, wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal. Serious Drought in Texas in Combination with projection increase of Texas population from 27 million in 2014 to the estimated 46 million in 2060 are a key focus for the Director. Mr. Kula took over the role of Executive Director May 1, 2014.

Prior to joining the NTMWD, Mr. Kula served for 32 years in the U.S. Army. As a Brigadier General, Mr. Kula served as commander of the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from July 2010 until April 2014. Mr. Kula’s previous military assignments included assignments in Germany, Fort Leonard Wood, the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; the Pentagon; and deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Mr. Kula was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers and awarded a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1982. He holds a Master’s Degree in Military Arts and Science from the School of Advanced Military Studies, Command and General Staff College. Mr. Kula is a member of the Texas Water Conservation Association.

Photo of George Hawkins

George S. Hawkins, Esq.


Mr. George Hawkins serves as CEO and General Manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). On his arrival, Mr. Hawkins launched an ambitious agenda to transform DC Water into a customer-oriented enterprise that is driving innovation and delivering improved value to ratepayers. The core goal is to improve aging infrastructure while complying with stringent regulatory requirements.

Mr. Hawkins previously served as director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). Mr. Hawkins was the Executive Director of several non-profit organizations in New Jersey, including New Jersey Future, the Stony Brook Watershed Association and the NJ Council of Watershed Associations. Mr. Hawkins held senior positions with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and he served Vice President Gore on the National Performance Review.

Mr. Hawkins began his career practicing law for Ropes & Gray, and is a member of the Bar in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton University and Cum Laude from Harvard Law School. Since 1999, Mr. Hawkins has taught Environmental Law and Policy for the Princeton Environment Institute at Princeton University.

Photo of Lou Di Gironimo 2

Lou Di Gironimo, B.S.


Mr. Lou Di Gironimo is General Manager of Toronto Water, a division of the City of Toronto. Under his leadership, the 1,700 staff in Toronto Water focus on providing quality water services – supplying drinking water, treating wastewater and managing stormwater – essential for protecting public health, property and the environment.

The division serves 3.4 million residents and businesses in Toronto and portions of York and Peel, and has more than $28.2 billion in infrastructure.

Mr. Di Gironimo has a diverse background in both the private and public sectors at the municipal and provincial levels of government. Some of the organizations Mr. Di Gironimo has been associated with include the City of Hamilton, the Ontario Clean Water Agency and the Ontario Development Corporation. Mr. Di Gironimo holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Geography from Ryerson University. Mr. Di Gironimo has also worked for private engineering and land development companies. During his career, Mr. Di Gironimo has had extensive experience managing municipal infrastructure and urban development issues.