2021 Joint AWRA & National Capital Annual Water Symposium Speakers

Day Two: April 16 | Keynote, Panel 4, & Luncheon Speaker

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM ET (includes Q & A)
Keynote Speaker

Tom Kennedy

Tom Kennedy is a Principal with Arup and has 25 years of experience in civil engineering and site development projects worldwide, working in countries around the world on projects like Songdo City, Korea, JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK, Hunter’s Point development and Hudson River Park in New York City and Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago. Tom leads circularity initiatives at Arup and is part of a multi-disciplinary team with 3XN/GXN, Google, Turner, NYC, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and GreenBiz Group on building a model for circular living.

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM ET
Panel 4: Green water-infrastructure in circular cities

Cecilia Tortajada
Professor in Practice, School of Interdisciplinary Studies
University of Glasgow, U.K.

Dr. Cecilia Tortajada is Professor in Practice, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow, U.K., and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. At present she is working on impacts of global changes on water resources, environment, food and societies. Advisor to major international institutions like FAO, UNDP, JICA, ADB, OECD, IDRC and GIZ, she has worked in countries in Africa, Asia, North and South America and Europe on water and natural resources and environment-related policies. Dr. Tortajada is member of the OECD Initiative on Water Governance; Past President and honorary member of the International Water Resources Association; Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Water Resources Development; Associate Editor of Water International; member of the Editorial Boards and Editor of a book series on Water Resources Development of Oxford University Press; and Water Resources Development and Management of Springer.

Anna Shipp
Executive Director
Sustainable Business Network

Anna Shipp is the Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Greater Philadelphia and has dedicated her career to economic equity and climate resilience. Prior to joining SBN in 2013, Anna empowered opportunity youth through important educational, recreational, and career-building opportunities; worked with people experiencing chronic unemployment or underemployment, providing them with the resources they needed to overcome barriers and regain financial independence; and worked with several local, state, and national parks on multi-stage projects to reduce erosion from stormwater runoff, improve habitat, and enhance visitors’ experience. Anna holds a Masters of Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, where her academic work focused on urban sustainability.

Karen Firehock
Director & Co-Founder
Green Infrastructure Center

Karen Firehock, Director and co-founder of the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC). Karen directs the Green Infrastructure Center mapping and planning for conservation of natural infrastructure from wildlands to downtowns. She also teaches at University of Virginia. She has authored books such as Strategic Green Infrastructure Planning: A Multi-scale Approach and Green Infrastructure: Map and Plan the Natural World in GIS. She has also worked at the UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation and as the Save Our Streams Program Director at the Izaak Walton League of America.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ET (includes Q&A)
Luncheon Speaker

Melissa D. Ho
Senior Vice President, Fresh Water and Food

As Senior Vice President for Freshwater and Food at WWF-US, Melissa D. Ho drives landscape and transformational initiatives that increase the sustainability of agricultural systems and the conservation of water for the environment and ecosystems. She also supports the integration of food and water issues in all of WWF's other workstreams. Dr. Ho has over 25 years of experience as a scientist, policy advisor, and development professional. Throughout her career, Dr. Ho has leveraged a keen focus on the intersection of water and agriculture and its connections to energy and health. She has worked at the landscape level, with large-scale public irrigation systems, agricultural value chains, community-based water resource planning and management systems, as well as in household level water technology delivery through the private sector. Dr. Ho came to WWF from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, where she oversaw a $1.5 billion portfolio of infrastructure investments in West Africa. She also served at USAID overseeing the technical team responsible for the strategy development and implementation of Feed the Future. Previously, Dr. Ho developed and implemented the agricultural water management strategy and grant portfolio at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She has also served in various capacities in the US Congress. She has a PhD in plant physiology from the Pennsylvania State University, an MSc in soil science (plant-water relations) from the University of California, Davis, and a BSc in environmental systems from Cornell University.


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