CSU System selects CDR Associates to lead strategic planning for water policy institute at Spur campus

Colorado State University System has selected CDR Associates as the lead consultant to conduct strategic planning for a water policy institute at the future Spur campus at the National Western Center in north Denver.

“The Spur campus is a place made for the public, and a place to convene the greatest minds around the biggest issues of our time,” said CSU System Executive Vice Chancellor Amy Parsons. “Water is a critical issue that requires interdisciplinary expertise and collaboration, and the water policy institute is positioned to begin this work prior to the grand opening of the CSU Spur campus in 2022.”

Housed within the water building — one of three buildings on the Spur campus — this policy institute will be a CSU-led, non-partisan policy center that addresses core natural resources, regulatory and governance, and socioeconomic issues shaping sustainability of the West’s water future through research-based policy analysis, alternatives, and recommendations.

The CDR team is comprised of three Colorado-based organizations: CDR Associates, which provides stakeholder engagement and leads the decision-making process; ICS Consulting, which provides innovative solutions to complex water problems; and LRE Water, which provides engineering services for resolving water resources challenges.

“Developing a water policy institute is a meaningful and rare opportunity to shape how future water is managed, in a way that really meets the needs of these future policy-implementers,” said Emily Zmak, a CDR Associates process expert on the project.

Scott Campbell, principal and owner of ICS Consulting, agreed: “We need a place like WWPI to chart a viable future for the American West.”

At Spur, the water building will host programs focused on education, innovation, and research — advancing innovative practices in water; providing a venue for water-focused dialogue and conferences that highlight connections between water and urban and rural food systems; connecting water users with problem-solvers; showcasing water sustainability; and fostering cross-sector collaboration. The facility will be a venue for K-12 education and field trips. Denver Water’s water quality laboratory will also be part of the water center.

ANDREW LEE

Deputy Director for the Drainage & Wastewater Line of Business, Seattle Public Utilities

Andrew Lee joined Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) in 2019 and is currently the Deputy Director for the Drainage & Wastewater Line of Business.  Andrew, who is a professional engineer (PE) and project management professional (PMP), has spent his entire 20-year career working on water, wastewater, and stormwater issues, with 15 of those years in local government for the cities of Seattle, San Francisco, and Bellevue.  Andrew is nationally recognized for his expertise in water/wastewater regulations, smart water technology, and asset management.  He is passionate about developing high performance organizations through an emphasis on shared leadership, employee engagement, diversity / equity / inclusion, and partnering with community.  Andrew is a member of the Project Management Institute and is involved in the Smart Water Advisory Network (SWAN), U.S. Water Alliance, National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), and Water Agency Leaders Alliance (WALA).

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PHIL WEISER

Colorado Attorney General

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser was sworn in as the State’s 39th Attorney General on January 8, 2019. As the state’s chief legal officer, Attorney General Weiser is committed to protecting the people of Colorado and building an innovative and collaborative organization that will address a range of statewide challenges, from addressing the opioid epidemic to reforming our criminal justice system to protecting our land, air, and water.

Attorney General Weiser has dedicated his life to the law, justice, and public service. Before running for office, Weiser served as the Hatfield Professor of Law and Dean of the University of Colorado Law School, where he founded the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship and co-chaired the Colorado Innovation Council.

Weiser served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice and as Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation in the Obama Administration’s National Economic Council. He served on President Obama’s Transition Team, overseeing the Federal Trade Commission and previously served in President Bill Clinton’s Department of Justice as senior counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, advising on telecommunications matters.

Before his appointment at the Justice Department, Weiser served as a law clerk to Justices Byron R. White and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the United States Supreme Court and to Judge David Ebel at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado.

The son and grandson of Holocaust survivors, Weiser is deeply committed to the American Dream and ensuring opportunity for all Coloradans. Weiser lives in Denver with his wife, Dr. Heidi Wald, and their two children.

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BECKY MITCHELL

Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board

As Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Becky carries out the policies and directives of the Board relating to the conservation, development and utilization of the state’s water resources, and works closely with the State Engineer, General Assembly, the Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources, and the Governor on water resource issues for the State of Colorado. The Director acts as the representative for the state on interstate and intrastate water issues, including issues relating to flood control, water conservation and drought planning, water information, river restoration and environmental aspects of water management. As Director, Becky is involved with federal and state legislation pertaining to water resources and represents the State of Colorado on commissions and entities such as the Arkansas River Compact Administration, the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum, the Western States Water Council, and the Missouri Basin States Association.

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JIM LOCHHEAD

CEO/Manager, Denver Water

Jim Lochhead was appointed Denver Water’s CEO/Manager in 2010. Lochhead leads nearly 1,100 employees at Denver Water overseeing work to provide a reliable water supply to the City of Denver and surrounding suburbs where Denver Water has service contracts. Lochhead also oversees the stewardship of a resilient collection, treatment and distribution system that includes 4,000 square miles of watershed land, 20 reservoirs, four treatment plants and more than 3,000 miles of pipe.

In 2014, Lochhead received the Wayne N. Aspinall “Water Leader of the Year” award from the Colorado Water Congress, presented annually to a Coloradan demonstrating courage, dedication, knowledge and leadership in the development, protection and preservation of Colorado water.

In 2015, Lochhead received the President’s Award from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, given to a person with a history of doing meaningful work in the field of water.

Prior to Denver Water, Mr. Lochhead was in private law practice, dealing with natural resource issues throughout the United States and internationally. He was also executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Mr. Lochhead has a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from the University of Colorado and a law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law.

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SYLVAIN FABI

Consul General for Canada

Sylvain Fabi (BBA, Bishop’s University, 1988) joined the Consulate General of Canada in Denver in October 2020. As Canada’s Consul General in the U.S. Mountain West Region, Mr. Fabi oversees a team of 17 people who work within Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Utah and Wyoming to strengthen trade and economic ties; enhance political, academic and cultural links; and assist Canadians visiting or living in the five-state territory.  He is also Canada’s chief negotiator for the modernization of the Columbia River Treaty with the United States.

Mr. Fabi joined the Trade Commissioner Service of External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1992.  He worked in various geographic and trade policy divisions in Ottawa.  He was senior departmental adviser to the Minister of International Trade (2009 to 2010), Director for bilateral relations with South America and the Caribbean (2010 to 2013) and Executive Director of the North America Policy and Relations Division (2013 to 2015).

Mr. Fabi’s assignments abroad include trade commissioner at the embassy in Moscow (1995 to 1998), commercial counsellor at the embassy in Havana (2001 to 2005) and commercial counsellor at the embassy in Santiago (2005 to 2009). Mr. Fabi served as High Commissioner for Canada in Jamaica and the Bahamas (2015 to 2017). Before becoming Consul General in Denver, he was Executive Director, U.S. Transboundary Affairs Division (2017 to 2020). 

Mr. Fabi is married to Jany Joyal and has two children, Frédéric and Isabelle.

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KIMBERLY LEMME

Director of Program Learning and Influence, Water for People

With 20 years experience in non-profit management in international development, microfinance, and global education, Kimberly joined Water For People a dozen years ago to collaborate with teams around the world to end the global water and sanitation crisis. Through her work at Water For People she loves to share with others the impact a system strengthening approach can have in WASH. Everyone Forever is a holistic model to reach sustainable service delivery – not only focused on pipes and pumps and toilets – but all the elements that make that hardware work over time. She has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, and Latin America throughout her career and misses the clear blue water of Southeast Asia the most. While not working, Kimberly loves to spend time unplugged and with her family in the mountains or at the beach.

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JENNIFER PITT

Colorado River Program Director, National Audubon Society

Jennifer Pitt is the Colorado River Program Director for the National Audubon Society, where she works to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems in the Colorado River Basin. She leads the United States–Mexico collaboration to restore the long-desiccated Colorado River Delta and serves as the U.S. co-chair of the bi-national work group whose partners will, through 2026, implement existing treaty commitments providing environmental flows and habitat creation.

Prior to joining Audubon, Jennifer spent 17 years at the Environmental Defense Fund. With partners, she led the conservation community’s efforts to prioritize and implement restoration of the Colorado River Delta, and she worked with Colorado River stakeholders to develop the unprecedented Colorado River Basin Supply and Demand Study, the first federal assessment of climate change impacts in the basin and the first basin-wide evaluation of the impacts of river system operation on water supply reliability and river health.

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ADEL HAGEKHALIL

General Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

With over 32 years of public service experience in the management of water, environmental and infrastructure programs and initiatives, Adel is an award-winning transformational leader anchored in integration, innovation, and inclusion.  Adel is a registered civil engineer with the State of California and a national Board-Certified Environmental Engineer with specialty in water.  

Adel was appointed in June 2021 as the General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the nation’s largest drinking water provider.  Adel is responsible for leading Metropolitan’s daily and long-term operations and future planning, providing safe and reliable water for 19 million people in six Southern California counties spanning over 5,200-square-mile service area with an annual budget of $1.8 billion, 1,700 employees and 30 facilities.

Previously, Adel was appointed in 2018 by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti as the Executive Director and General Manager of the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Street Services (StreetsLA).  Adel was responsible for managing, maintaining, and upgrading the City’s Street network including streets, sidewalks, trees, and bikeways with focus on safety, mobility, and sustainability. 

Prior to that, Adel was the Assistant General Manager for the City’s Bureau of Sanitation for 10 years where he was responsible for the wastewater collection system management, storm water and watershed protection program, and facilities and integrated water planning.  Under his direction, the City prepared an award winning 2040 One Water LA Plan “One Water.”

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JOHN ENTSMINGER

General Manager, Las Vegas Valley Water District and Southern Nevada Water Authority

John Entsminger is the general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District, which serves over 410,000 customer accounts, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which is responsible for providing water to local agencies that collectively serve 2 million residents and 40 million annual visitors.  Prior to taking the helm of these agencies in early 2014, Entsminger was instrumental in the development of several groundbreaking regional and international water agreements. He has been appointed by Governor Sandoval to serve as Nevada’s lead negotiator on Colorado River matters.  Active in several national water associations, Entsminger is Vice President of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and is a trustee of the Water Research Foundation and the Desert Research Institute Foundation.

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BIDTAH BECKER

Associate Attorney, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

Ms. Becker has dedicated her career to the Navajo Nation and its natural resources.  She is currently serving as an Associate Attorney for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.  Prior to this position, she had the honor of serving as the Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources from May 2013 to January 2019, as an appointee of President Begaye and Vice-President Nez, after serving eleven (11) years as an attorney for the Navajo Nation focusing on water rights and natural resources issues.  Continuing her deep interest and passion for water, she serves on the Leadership Team for the Water and Tribes Initiative in the Colorado River Basin, as a Commissioner on the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, as an appointee of Governor Lujan Grisham, and on the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission, as an appointee of Speaker Damon.  Ms. Becker is equally passionate about supporting artists and serves as a Trustee for the Institute of American Indian Arts and Culture (IAIA), as an appointee of President Obama.  Ms. Becker is a member of the Nation and lives on the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance with her husband and two school age children.

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