Episode 17: The intersection of humans, plants, animals, and disease with Captain Casey Barton Behravesh

This is a transcript of the Spur of the Moment episode “The intersection of humans, plants, animals, and disease with Captain Casey Barton Behravesh.” It is provided as a courtesy and may contain errors.

Casey Barton Behravesh: One Health is all about the close connection between the health of people, animals, plants and our shared environment.

Jocelyn Hittle: Hello and welcome to CSU Spur of the Moment, the podcast of Colorado State University’s Spur campus in Denver, Colorado.

Casey Barton Behravesh: And I thought, wow, this is so disturbing yet so cool. And I need to figure out what is going on with this? Where do these worms come from? And that opened up a whole can of worms literally for me.

Jocelyn Hittle: On this podcast, we talk with experts in food, water and health and learn about their current work and their professional journeys. Today I’m joined by Captain Casey Barton Behravesh with the Centers for Disease Control or CDC. Captain Barton Behravesh is a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service and is director of CDCs one Health Office, which resides in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Captain Barton Behravesh has a master’s in veterinary parasitology, a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Texas A&M and Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of Texas. She trained in the Epidemic Intelligent Service, is a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine and has been the recipient of numerous awards. We are thrilled to have Captain Barton Bees here today to discuss her current work, her professional journey and what she sees on the horizon for One Health. Welcome Captain Barton Behravesh.

Casey Barton Behravesh: Thanks, it’s great to be here.

Jocelyn Hittle: So I was hoping we could start with some of the basics because your title director of the One Health Office at the CDC includes a term that many might not know. Can you tell us a little bit about what One Health means?

Casey Barton Behravesh: Sure, One Health is all about the close connection between the health of people, animals, plants and our shared environment. And actually partners across the United States government got together to define One Health as the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines and sectors, working together with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes, recognizing that interconnection between people, animals, plants and our shared environment. And One Health applies to the local level, the national level, the regional level, and the global level as well.

Jocelyn Hittle: Thank you, so the intersection of human health, animal health and our shared environment is really the space that you are focused on when we talk about One Health, that’s really what you’re referring to. Could you expand on that and tell us a little bit about the One Health Office itself? What is a day in the life for you or a week in the life for you in the office and particularly for your position as director?

Casey Barton Behravesh: So One Health is not new, but it’s become more important in recent years. And this is because there are many factors that have changed interactions between people, animals, plants and our environment. The COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example of a One Health issue that’s impacted the entire world. We know that people are living closer together, human populations are growing and expanding into new geographic areas. As a result, more people live in close contact with both wild and domestic animals, whether livestock or pets. And the Earth is experiencing changes in climate and land use like deforestation and intensive farming practices. And these disruptions and environmental conditions and habitats can provide new opportunities for diseases to pass to animals. We also have more global travel and trade and the movement of both people, animals, plants and animal and plant products has increased from this international trading travel. And as a result, diseases can spread quickly across borders and around the globe. And also it’s important to note that animals are more than just food. They play an important role in our lives, whether for food, fiber, livelihoods, travel, sport, education or even companionship. I’ve definitely got a number of pets in my home. And close contact with animals and their environments can provide opportunities for diseases to pass between animals and people. And these factors make it easier for zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases to spread between animals and people. And unfortunately every year, millions of people and animals around the world are impacted by these zoonotic diseases that they share. I’m also proud to say that CDC was the first federal agency to establish a One Health office. We were set up in 2009 and we have the big focus on working to protect the health of people, animals, and our shared environment in both the U.S. and around the world. And we work with a number of One Health partners, both in government and non-government partners with industry and academic partners and others to best achieve these optimal health outcomes for all. And as I mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic really put the spotlight on One Health. And our office has a a big focus right now on tackling both endemic our long known zoonotic diseases as well as emerging zoonotic diseases. And we are focused in on One Health efforts for pan respiratory disease surveillance and building those connections across sectors to better and faster detect pathogens that might cause the next outbreak or epidemic or even pandemic. We also are focused in on global health security and strengthening our One Health coordination in the United States as well as some of our key focus areas.

Jocelyn Hittle: Thanks, I wonder if you could expand a little on, as you’re describing what you’re, what you’re focusing on right now. You mentioned a variety of different partnerships with other sectors. I wonder if you might expand on that a little bit. Who are you partnering with? What are some of the important roles that other disciplines are playing as you look at at One Health issues, particularly as it relates to the pandemic?

Casey Barton Behravesh: Sure, so we of course have a number of partnerships with federal agency partners on both domestic and global One Health issues. For example, we work very closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior and the agencies that fall under both of those umbrellas to tackle a number of one health issues with a big focus on zoonotic diseases right now. We actually, back in 2017 worked together on a historic workshop where we brought a number of interagency partners and state partners together to prioritize our top zoonotic diseases of greatest national concern in the United States and identified some areas where we hope to expand upon our One Health collaborations. And back in December of 2017, we prioritized eight different zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic, influenza, Salmon Alosis, West Nile Virus Plague, and number five on our list long before the COVID-19 pandemic was emerging. Corona viruses was just helps to highlight the power of one health discussions. And then we also had rabies Brucellosis in in Lyme disease to round off those top eight diseases. And having these important federal partnerships and you know, building this trust and transparency in setting joint priorities and identifying gaps has been a really important foundation for us in One Health. And we’re actually working with those partners now based on and ask from Congress where CDC works with inter agency partners to develop a national One Health framework as well as formalizing a One Health coordination structure for the United States. So we’re very excited about that. We’re working with our inner agency partners now and making a lot of progress and hoping to launch early in the the new year. We also work with our state tribal, local and territorial public health, animal health and wildlife partners. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to get funds to these partners to build One Health surveillance on the front lines to be able to learn more about the role of animals in the COVID-19 pandemic. And that was really important work and really also help to further strengthen One Health coordination at that state, tribal, local and territorial level on the front lines. We also work with a number of industry partners. We’ve got public private partnerships and one unique example of that at CDC is we have a long standing partnership with the pet industry through the PET advocacy network. And we have worked with them whenever they’re outbreaks involving pets or public health emergencies involving pets. And that’s been a really strong and important partnership. Also some campaigns to educate pet store employees on keeping animals healthy and you know, protecting their health while working with animals in the pet stores as well as how to educate their customers on some of these zoonotic disease issues. And then of course we’ve got a lot of really great partnerships between CDC and academic partners on a number of zoonotic disease issues. One example of that is working with Texas A&M University on a multi-year project looking at the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and pets who are living in households of people with Covid. And that sort of partnership’s been really important in helping us learn more about the One Health aspects of the pandemic. And then lastly, we work with a number of non-governmental organizations related to public health, to animal health and veterinary medicine and the environment as well as ecology. So just a few examples of some of our different types of partnerships.

Jocelyn Hittle: Wonderful, thank you. Those are great. And it’s really, I ask in part because the CSU Spur campus, part of what we are focusing on is encouraging people to understand that they have a role to play in addressing big global challenges in food, water, health and sustainability regardless of what discipline they’re coming from, that these collaborations allow us to have more impact and that, you know, the diversity of viewpoints and people looking at problems through their own lens is really useful in coming up with novel solutions to challenges. So I think all of the examples you just gave are really wonderful examples of that interdisciplinarity, the diversity of viewpoint and you know, really everyone having a role to play.

Casey Barton Behravesh: It’s important and one of the first things I do when I’m working to plan a new project or even thinking about setting up a One Health meeting is thinking about what sectors need to be involved, who needs to be there and making sure all the right players are represented from the start. And that’s really important for maintaining strong partnerships.

Jocelyn Hittle: Absolutely, so can you speak a little bit about what you see as coming next in One Health? You have talked a little bit in your previous answers about what you’re thinking about right now, but if you could take a little bit more of a long view, what are the next say, five years in One Health gonna bring?

Casey Barton Behravesh: Sure, so we have learned some really important lessons over the last several years, and especially when responding to things like Highly Pathogenic Amin influenza or COVID-19, Ebola virus and now Monkeypox. And some key themes in One Health that we see all around the world in terms of needs to get further organized and strengthened are first formalizing One Health coordination structures for national governments. It’s also helpful to have One Health coordination between a national and subnational level of government as well as with non-governmental partners. So those are some big themes and a big movement going forward. Also, there’s a critical need to improve data and information sharing across sectors, strengthening surveillance systems within sectors but also building bridges across surveillance in the different sectors. So for example, if a challenge shows up in an animal, some new disease that we haven’t seen in the United States before, public health officials could be notified quickly and we could respond faster than ever before we wait to find it in a person. So having those sorts of collaboration in places is really important. And that goes vice versa, right. Because zoonotic diseases can spread between people and animals. Some start off in animals, some start off in people. So we all need to be talking and building those strong surveillance systems, making sure we have good laboratory capacity, validated diagnostic tests, and having these trusted networks in place for the rapid exchange of data and information long before there’s a problem. You never wanna start building those partnerships during an emergency. And we’ve also seen the value and importance of using a One health approach to do joint risk assessments and making sure all the sector’s inputs are going in. For example, we wanna be thinking about biodiversity and conservation needs when we’re planning for public health interventions and not create further problems for our ecosystem. So that’s really important as well. And then also having coordinated messaging, developing joint guidance when it’s appropriate and really working together is another critical need and a lot of progress I predict will be made on that front and the next five years. And then lastly, workforce is a big one. There are a number of great programs to train people in specific sectors. For example, you mentioned that I was trained in CDCs Epidemic Intelligence service or EIS program. That’s a really wonderful program that is open for a variety of health professionals and they actually take in physicians, veterinarians, nurses, PhD scientists, sometimes dentists and others. So it’s a nice cross discipline sort of training in public health, but they’re also trainings for the animal health or veterinary sector for the wildlife and ecosystem sector. And we should have some One Health bridges across those sector specific trainings as well to further strengthen One Health networks early in careers.

Jocelyn Hittle: Wonderful, thanks and thanks for explaining what the EIS is in a bit more detail. That sounds like a wonderful structured way for that interdisciplinary and inter sectorial work to be happening and for folks to be trained at the same time as they’re making some of those professional and personal connections that allow them to do that interdisciplinary work later on. I wonder if we could talk a little bit about communication. So science communication also a really big part of what we’re interested in here at the Spur Campus, and that became something that I know CDC was really focused on in particular over the last several years as so many more eyes maybe were trained on the information that was coming out of CDC than a typical year. Could you talk a little bit about the role of communicating the work you do with the general public and maybe somewhere in there you might note, what is it that you wish the public understood a little bit better about One Health at this point?

Casey Barton Behravesh: Sure, so we have a number of websites at CDC that are very popular that we use to help communicate. For example, we have our website that really gives a lot of great information on the basics of One Health. We share One Health and action stories, we talk about who we are, what we do. In some examples of our work, we’ve got a lot of great graphics on One Health as well. These One Health and action stories have been really popular and they really showcase the linkages across the health of people, animals, plants in our shared environment and some actions being taken across different sectors, how people are working together to address zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance. There’s some COVID examples on there as well. And just a number of examples of One Health in Action. And that’s been a really useful way to share information with the public. We also have a, a hugely popular website at CDC. It’s called our Healthy Pets Healthy People website. And we all know about the power of pets in our lives and how wonderful and important pets are, what a difference they can make in mental health, how they enriched people’s lives during the pandemic. You know, but unfortunately sometimes pets can carry germs that can make people sick and vice versa. And it’s important to know about those risks. Sometimes pets can appear perfectly healthy and happy, but be shedding germs that can make people sick and people don’t realize that. People think the the animals need to appear sick too. And that’s not the case. The good news is there’s some simple things that can be done like hand washing, cleaning up after your pets regularly, regardless of if they’re covered in fur feathers or scales and picking the right pet. You know, they’re people with higher risk conditions. They might have a weakened immune system, you know, someone missing a spleen, someone with diabetes or HIV or cancer. And there’s certain animals that are higher risk for spreading illness to those people both on the domestic and wildlife front. So our Healthy Pets, Healthy People site has some really great information about how to enjoy your pets, how to stay safe around livestock and wildlife as well, and how to keep both people and animals healthy. And it’s a great one stop shop for all information. We have a A to Z list on zoonotic diseases and some great information whether you’re a teacher or working in a daycare or you’re a veterinarian or a healthcare provider or you’re just a pet lover who wants to learn more about how to keep your pets safe and healthy and how to get prepared during an emergency, including your animals as well as your family members.

Jocelyn Hittle: Yeah, that last point is particularly important I think for us in Colorado we’ve had so many wildfire challenges and emergencies where we really do need to have a plan for all of our family members, whether they’re they be people or pets. I also will just note that I will link to all of the resources that you just mentioned in our show notes. And I think they’re particularly relevant given the Spur Campus has one of our, one of our buildings is entirely focused on health and the connections between human and animal health in particular, both some of the things that you described, but also you know, the mental health and physiological connections between people and animals. We have a equine assisted therapy program that lives in that space as well as a veterinary clinic where the vets are doing surgeries behind glass and with microphones and they can talk through what they’re doing and they can talk about pet care and why it is that this particular procedure is necessary and if there are ways to prevent it. So it’s a way for us to sort of talk about the health of people and animals in real time while people are interacting with professionals at work. So very much in line with what you’re just describing.

Casey Barton Behravesh: Yeah, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the CSU campus, of course in a beautiful location in the mountains and it’s just a really impressive campus and I was fortunate to visit a few years ago.

Jocelyn Hittle: Wonderful, and we’d be happy to welcome you in our, at our Spur Campus in Denver that just opened in January as well next time you’re out here. So we would love to host you here. So I’d love to transition to talking a little bit about you and your path to where you are. You grew up on a ranch in Texas and have wanted to be a veterinarian, I understand from a pretty young age. Can you talk a little bit about how that experience growing up in that environment might have shaped your path and maybe also some of the things about your path that are surprising to you?

Casey Barton Behravesh: Sure, so yes I am definitely one of those kids who’s been telling people that I was going to be a veterinarian since I was eight years old. I remember sitting in third grade writing veterinarian over and over again to make sure I could spell it correctly. But I was fortunate in undergrad to work at an amazing veterinary clinic and got a lot of great experiences in my summers and holidays off from my undergraduate studies. And while I was working there, I realized the importance of veterinarians in the front lines of keeping animals healthy but also their role in protecting people and their families. And honestly, one day we had this client come in with a new puppy and she had a frozen orange juice container. And she looked at me and said, These came outta my dog and dumped 100s of round worms on the table. And I thought, wow, this is so disturbing yet so cool, and I need to figure out what is going on with this? Where do these worms come from? And that opened up a whole can of worms, literally for me to recognize the connection between the environment, the parasites, the host animals, the people and the impact of all of that. And that really got me hooked on public health. So I was fortunate in my undergraduate studies to have a great mentor, Dr. Karen Snowden, who just so happened to be a veterinary parasitologist. And I ended up going and working on a master’s degree with her. And during that time I learned about DDC and the intelligence service, and I thought, this is what I want to do. I wanna work on these, you know, even before it was called One Health, this connection of human animal and environmental health. And from there I went and started a doctorate of public health degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. And I was very lucky to have another great mentor there, Dr. James Steele, who’s considered to be the father of veterinary public health. And he really encouraged my interest and for me to go to veterinary school recognizing the need for more veterinarians in public health. So I went to graduate school and then veterinary school and I wouldn’t have it any other way, it was a lot of school. I don’t recommend that for everyone. But it really worked out well to embark on my graduate studies before veterinary school and during veterinary school, really learn the clinical skills I needed as a veterinarian. And in every day in my job, I used all of my degrees to my advantage. And it was a really helpful path, though not necessarily what I intended as a third grader sitting there writing veterinarian over and over again.

Jocelyn Hittle: Yeah, it’s a very common thread to the conversations I have with folks about their career path that there is always some pivot point, some bigger than others. It sounds like for you it was the literal can of worms and then also some really special people and mentors who were able to help kind of shape what that pivot truly looked like and point you in some of the right direction.

Casey Barton Behravesh: Yeah, mentors are really important. And for any students that are listening, I really encourage them, don’t be shy. Seek out mentors, let people know you’re interested in finding a good mentor and it really can make a huge difference in your career path.

Jocelyn Hittle: Absolutely, and I think I wish I had been better about this myself when I was an undergraduate student in particular, you know, recognizing that the faculty who are there at the university level are, you know, really work for you as a student. It is their job to educate you and to be available to you. And so seeking out mentors as early as in an undergraduate space and research opportunities or extracurricular op opportunities that are on the academic side are really important things to do. And it sounds like you took real advantage of the folks who are around you and the expertise they had. So you hit on one of the things I wanna talk a little bit about sort of where, where you are now and kind of how your leadership and your philosophy is shaped by this path. So you mentioned one of the things that’s important to you now as a leader is identifying all the people who should be at the table bringing together lots of different voices. Can you speak to some of the other things that you think of as important in your role as a leader in the One Health space in terms of skillset or philosophy?

Casey Barton Behravesh: Sure, so I always tell folks that I’m working with in One Health, the keys to success in One Health are patients and clear communication. Sometimes, you know, one sector might use a term to mean one thing while the other uses the same word and it means something else and that can cause some disconnect. So it’s important to make sure we’re all speaking a common language and being really clear about what we mean. I also think it’s critical to be transparent talking about the, not just the successes but also the challenges you have, the questions that are being, you know, raised within your organization’s leadership and helping partners like understand the shoes that we’re standing in, but also listening and understanding where they’re coming from as well and looking for that highest common denominator that we all connect on. So for example, with One Health, we all agree that we wanna protect health. Some might be focused more on people, some might be focused more on animals, some might be focused more on the environment but we recognize that, you know, there’s no single person, our sector, our organization even that can achieve One Health alone. And we really have to work together. We have to have strong and trusted partnerships and we have to communicate clearly with each other as an important foundation.

Jocelyn Hittle: Absolutely, I think it’s we hear this that it’s important to talk about. I don’t know, some people frame it as it’s important to talk about where you had failures. It’s important to talk about challenges that maybe you didn’t overcome in the way that you wanted to. And that can be hard and particularly I would guess within a health sphere or in a government role to talk about that. But that transparency and vulnerability can lead to some remarkable opportunities as well.

Casey Barton Behravesh: Absolutely, I’m a firm believer in learning lessons from every outbreak event or project. So frequently when there’s a a big emergency response, there’s an after action review with federal partners. There are ones involving states, there can be ones involving other partners as well. And really hearing and capturing all of those perspectives and thinking about what can we improve next time is really important.

Jocelyn Hittle: Absolutely, so you are a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service. Can you say more about what that means?

Casey Barton Behravesh: Sure, so the United States Public Health Service is our nation’s uniformed services for protecting health. The public health service involves physicians, veterinarians, nurses, engineers, therapists and some other categories of health professionals. And we really work on the front lines of public health to fight disease, to conduct research, to care for patients in underserved communities around the United States and throughout the world. And I’m in my 16th year now in the public health service and am proud that I’ve achieved the rank of captain and I’m able to serve my country as a uniformed service officer.

Jocelyn Hittle: I’m gonna transition to asking you how people can find out more about the CDCs One Health Office and other aspects of your work. We will link to everything you’ve already mentioned in the show notes. Are there any other resources that you’d like to point people toward?

Casey Barton Behravesh: Sure, we work very hard to share information in a timely way with all of our partners. So in addition to our website, we also have a One Health newsletter that people can subscribe to and get a couple emails a month with some timely updates on One Health. I mentioned our Healthy Pets Healthy People website, which not only covers pets, but Livestock and Wildlife and the health of people as well. We have a newsletter for our Healthy Pets healthy People. We also have our zoonosies and one Health updates call, which we have on the first Wednesday of every month except for January and July. And it’s a great way to hear timely updates on zoonotic diseases and One Health issues from CDC experts, from other federal agencies, from any of our non-governmental partners as well. And we offer free continuing education so you can sign up to follow the Zoho call or look at past calls as well. And those are some of the main ways we share information on a regular basis with our partners.

Jocelyn Hittle: Wonderful, thank you so much. We’ll be sure to link as many of those things in the notes as we can and it’s helpful for us to, at the Spur Campus also to just be aware of all of these resources, given that so much of what we’re trying to communicate out of our vita building, which is the one that’s focused on on One Health. We wanna be helping people understand where there’s more information on this topic and how they can get engaged. So last question for you. This is our spur of the moment question. And I know you have, since you were eight, told people that you wanted to be a veterinarian. My question for you is, if you were not a veterinarian, what would you have been? Was there anything else you ever entertained?

Casey Barton Behravesh: That is a tough one because I really have not entertained not being a veterinarian maybe a brief stint when I was interested in working in public health and pursuing my doctorate public health degree. But again, got brought back to the veterinary aspect of it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jocelyn Hittle: So it truly was a calling for you. You’re one of those rare birds that has really been from the very beginning focused on this topic. That’s amazing.

Casey Barton Behravesh: Yes, I really can’t think of anything else I ever wanted to be.

Jocelyn Hittle: Okay, can you tell us a little bit just, you know, this’ll be my second spur of the moment question. I’m tossing another one in. So you have pets at home? Anything exotic, is it the standard cats, dogs?

Casey Barton Behravesh: So when you ask my children how many pets we have, it’s very embarrassing because they say, I don’t know but they really do know because they all have names. So we have a couple dogs, we have a cat, we have a house rabbit, we have a bearded dragon, we have a crested gecko. I have a very large tank full of hermit crabs that I rescue. And we also have a flock of backyard chickens.

Jocelyn Hittle: Wonderful, that’s quite a collection, a menagerie. That’s wonderful. That must keep you and your kids busy. Do they have specific responsibilities? Are they on pet duty?

Casey Barton Behravesh: Yes, we divide up who’s in charge of what pets. And thankfully my husband is also an animal lover and very supportive of all of these pets. And all my kids’ friends think I’m the coolest mom ever because their parents would never let them have so many pets.

Jocelyn Hittle: Yes, and I that they get a chance to learn a little bit about all, all of those different animals. I mean, not everybody has geckos and lizards and all of these things, so.

Casey Barton Behravesh: It’s been fun. I’ve been able to take some of the animals to schools for like 4-H meetings or Girl Scout events and things like that and it’s a lot of fun to teach kids about animals and how they benefit our lives.

Jocelyn Hittle: Absolutely, so it’s the One Health piece is woven into all aspects of your life, it sounds like.

Casey Barton Behravesh: It really is.

Jocelyn Hittle: Yeah, wonderful. Well, Captain Barton Behravesh thank you so much for being a guest on CSU Spur of the Moment podcast today. We really appreciate it and we will, as I said, link to all of the resources you’ve already mentioned and really appreciate your time today.

Casey Barton Behravesh: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure to talk to you.

Jocelyn Hittle: The CSU Spur of the Moment Podcast is produced by Kevin Samuelson and our theme music is by Ketsa. Please visit the show notes for links mentioned in this episode. We hope you’ll join us in two weeks for the next episode. Until then, be well.


Deputy Under Secretary, USDA, Farm Production and Conservation

Gloria Montaño Greene was appointed Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) mission area on February 22, 2021. Her experience is focused in government and community work and includes federal policy, politics, advocacy, intergovernmental relations, communications, and management.

As the FPAC Deputy Undersecretary, Montaño Greene leads agencies that deliver farm programs and services to farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers. These programs include farm loans, conservation, disaster assistance, crop insurance and price support.

Montaño Greene is a former State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency in Arizona from 2014-2017. With FSA in Arizona, Montaño Greene led implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill programs across the state.

She previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff to Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona. Montaño Greene also served as Deputy Director for Chispa Arizona, a program of the League of Conservation Voters focused on the empowerment of Latino voices in Arizona on issues including energy, public lands, and democracy access.

Montaño Greene is originally from rural Arizona. She is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona.

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Strategic Initiatives Coordinator for the Lands and Resources Sector, Ktunaxa Nation Council

Jaime Vienneau is a member of the Ktunaxa First Nation, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it located in southeastern British Columbia, Canada and lives in Cranbrook, BC with her husband and two children. Jaime has over 20 years’ experience working with the Ktunaxa Nation Council Lands and Resources Sector, and is currently co-leading the Ktunaxa Nation’s participation in the Columbia River Treaty renegotiation. 

Jaime has a Master of Arts Degree, specializes in Indigenous Leadership and has credentials in Business and Public Administration.

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Co-Founder and General Partner, ICI Fund (Innovation. Community. Intelligence)
Board Member, Kando, Viridix, Genda, Suridata, Tailor-Ed, Illustria

Gili is a Co-founder and General Partner at ICI Fund (Innovation. Community. Intelligence), investing in early-stage Israeli companies with artificial intelligence solutions that secure our future and supporting their scale up in the US market. Gili sits on the boards of Kando (AI & Wastewater), Viridix (AI & Agriculture), Genda (AI & Construction), Suridata (AI & Cyber), Tailor-Ed (AI & Education), Illustria (Cyebr security) and is an investor in PredictaMed (AI & Healthcare). 

Previously, Gili was a Managing Director at SynTech Bioenergy, a renewable energy company located in Colorado.  Gili is an Israeli lawyer who worked at Naschitz Brandes, ADV., one of the leading Israeli Corporate law firms and at Ernst & Young as Tax Consultant, providing tax advice to US and European VCs investing in Israeli companies. Gili served on the Board of Directors of the B’nai B’rith of the Rockies, Colorado.  Gili holds an LLB and BA (in Law and Business) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. Gili also served in the Israeli military (IDF), driving tanks and guiding combat soldiers to shoot anti-tank guided missiles out of a tank. She is an avid snowboarder and is melted by dark chocolate!

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Director, Colorado Water Center
Professor of Ecosystem Science & Sustainability, CSU Fort Collins

Dr. Tracy serves as Director of the Colorado Water Center and as Professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University. Dr. Tracy has led research initiatives on understanding and developing sustainable water management practices in a wide range of hydro-climatological systems across the western United States, including the western High Plains, Northern Plains, Southern Plains, Great Basin and Pacific Northwest regions. His more recent efforts have focused on developing programs to: increase our understanding of the integrated behavior of water resource systems under the influence of changing hydrologic, economic, and social conditions; developing science based approaches to support the management of transboundary aquifer resources; addressing the linkage between water management and health outcomes; and understanding community water security from a socio-technical perspective. Dr. Tracy received his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering at Colorado State University in 1980, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering at the University of California at Davis in 1986 and 1989 respectively. Dr. Tracy also served as President of the American Water Resources Association, the University Council on Water Resources, and as Secretary/Treasurer of the National Institutes for Water Resources. 

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Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry & Columbia Foundation Chair in Soil and Water Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dr. Chefetz’s research interests relate to physico-chemical processes of organic pollutants occurring in water, reclaimed wastewater, soils and sediments. An overarching goal is to elucidate physical, chemical and biological processes that influence the fate of organic molecules in the environment with special emphasize on the agricultural environment.

Special interests are: (1) Fate of pharmaceutical compounds in soil and water; (2) Sorption-desorption behavior of xenobiotics in soils and sediments; (3) Irrigation with reclaimed wastewater: effects on human health; (4) Nano particles in the environment; (5) Nature and reactivity of dissolved organic matter. 

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Consul General of 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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Chancellor, CSU System

Dr. Tony Frank is the Chancellor of the CSU System. He previously served for 11 years as the 14th president of CSU in Fort Collins. Dr. Frank earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Wartburg College, followed by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. and residencies in pathology and toxicology at Purdue. Prior to his appointment as CSU’s president in 2008, he served as the University’s provost and executive vice president, vice president for research, chairman of the Pathology Department, and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He was appointed to a dual role as Chancellor in 2015 and became full-time System chancellor in July 2019.

Dr. Frank serves on a number of state and national boards, has authored and co-authored numerous scientific publications, and has been honored with state and national awards for his leadership in higher education.

Dr. Frank and his wife, Dr. Patti Helper, have three daughters.

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Associate Vice Chancellor for CSU Spur & Special Projects, CSU System

Jocelyn Hittle is primarily focused on helping to create the CSU System’s new Spur campus at the National Western Center, and on supporting campus sustainability goals across CSU’s campuses. She sits on the Denver Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Council, on the Advisory Committee for the Coors Western Art Show, and is a technical advisor for the AASHE STARS program.

Prior to joining CSU, Jocelyn was the Associate Director of PlaceMatters, a national urban planning think tank, and worked for the Orton Family Foundation. She has a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton, and a Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Jocelyn grew up in Colorado and spends her free time in the mountains or exploring Denver.

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Founding Partner, Centro Luken de Estrategias en Agua y Medio Ambiente

Roberto F. Salmon Castelo is a founding partner and consultant at Centro Luken de Estrategias en Agua y Medio Ambiente. He served from April 2009 until May 2020 as the Mexican Commissioner to the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and has a solid experience in international negotiations related to water and boundary issues between Mexico and the United States. In this capacity, he led the Mexican team to accomplish the signing of 11 binational agreements (Minutes) with the United States, which are binding for both countries.

From 2002 until 2009, he worked for the Mexican National Water Commission (CONAGUA), first as the Northwest Regional Manager and later as the General Director of the Northwest Basin Region, based in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico from where he oversaw all affairs related to water resources. In addition, Mr. Salmon served as the Planning and Special Projects Director for the Center for Research and Development of Natural Resources (CIDESON) of the State of Sonora. He also started a consulting company oriented to surface, groundwater, and environmental studies and projects.

He also has vast experience in financial projects. He served as the Director of Budget and Planning and later as the Chief Financial Officer at the University of Sonora and other private entities. He is also a founding partner in three financial enterprises in the State of Sonora.

Mr. Salmon has participated as a leading consultant in many projects on various subjects, such as water resources, plant location, financial engineering, statistics, economic feasibility, agriculture, and strategic planning.

In the academic sector, he served as a professor at the Instituto Tecnologico de Sonora, University of Sonora, Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (Campus Guadalajara and Obregón), as well as a teaching and research assistant at the University of Arizona in the departments of Agricultural Economics and Hydrology and Water Resources.

He has authored or co-authored several articles on water resources and US-Mexico transboundary water issues and has been a speaker at binational and international conferences.

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Former United States Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission

Mr. Edward Drusina, TX P.E. retired from the United States Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) in 2018. Mr. Drusina has served his community and his country with distinction. Mr. Drusina was appointed Commissioner by President Barrack Obama on January 19, 2010 and remained Commissioner until his retirement on May 2018 completing 44 years of engineering service to his City, State and Country.  A licensed Professional Engineer in Texas and graduate of University of Texas at El Paso, his career has lead him to successful work in both the private and public sectors. Prior to the IBWC appointment, Mr. Drusina was the Regional Director for Paragon Resources Inc., President and CoOwner of Omni Construction Management Services, Corperate Associate of Moreno Cardenas Inc, Director of Public Works for the City of El Paso, and Design Branch head for the US Army at Fort Bliss, Texas. He has been a Senior Project Engineer with Weston Solutions since 2018.

Mr. Drusina also headed some very impactful undertakings related to water in the Southwest. He represented the City of El Paso on the Far West Texas Water Planning Group, was the Construction Manager for the pipeline and injection wells for the largest inland Desalination Plant named the Kay Bailey Desalination Plant and was the City of El Paso stormwater manager.

Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Drusina has also remained active in the different organizations along the border region. He was one of the founding members of UTEP’s Alumni Academe of Civil Engineers, served on the American Red Cross Board, was the Department of State’s advisor for the North American Development Bank Board,  and served on different state and federal committees aimed at addressing border environmental concerns.     

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Chief of Water Management, Columbia Basin Water Management Division for the Northwestern Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Mr. Barton assumed the role of Chief, Columbia Basin Water Management Division for the Northwestern Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in April 2015. As Chief of Water Management, Mr. Barton plays a key leadership role in managing a large, multi-purpose reservoir system and implementing the Columbia River Treaty with Canada, where he serves as the U.S. Co-Chair of the Treaty Operating Committee.

Mr. Barton has 30 years of experience managing water resources in the western United States. Prior to his current role, Mr. Barton served in technical and leadership positions with both with the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a variety of areas including weather and stream flow forecasting, mid- and long-term reservoir system planning, wind integration, and real-time reservoir operations.

Mr. Barton holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Oregon State University, a master’s degree in civil engineering from Colorado State University, and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado.

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Professor of Hydrology and Executive Director, Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan

Jay Famiglietti is a professor of hydrology and the Executive Director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, where he holds the Canada 150 Research Chair in Hydrology and Remote Sensing. Before moving to USask, Famiglietti served for 4 years as the Senior Water Scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. Prior to working at JPL, he was a faculty member at the University of California, Irvine, and at the University of Texas at Austin. Famiglietti’s research group uses satellites and develops advanced computer models to track how freshwater availability is changing around the globe. A fellow of the American Geophysical Union and of the Geological Society of America, he is committed to science communication.

Prof. Famiglietti is a regular advisor to state, provincial and federal government officials on water availability and water security issues.

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Executive Director, Water and Sanitation, City of Cape Town

Mike Webster is the Executive Director of the Water and Sanitation Directorate in the City of Cape Town. In this position, he leads the utility responsible for the full water cycle from “source to tap” and back to the environment. The utility serves the 5 million people of Cape Town through 660,000 water and sewer connections and 20,000 km of pipeline.  It has 5,100 staff, an annual operating budget of over USD 500 million (equivalent) and an annual capital budget of USD 180 million equivalent. The Executive Director is part of the Executive Management Team reporting to the City Manager.

Prior to joining the City of Cape Town in 2018, Mike worked for the World Bank for 16 years as a water and sanitation specialist based in Washington DC. He joined the Bank through the Young Professionals Programme and worked in operations in South Asia, Europe and Central Asia and Africa with field assignments in India and Zimbabwe.  Mike was Task Team Leader for over 20 investment operations in water supply, sanitation, solid waste management, municipal services, rural infrastructure, environmental protection and urban upgrading.

Mike graduated as a civil engineer from the University of Cape Town and went on to do an MSc in engineering at Loughborough University and a Master’s in Public Policy at Princeton University.

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Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture

Kate Greenberg was appointed to serve as Colorado’s first woman Commissioner of Agriculture by Governor Jared Polis in December 2018. As Commissioner, Greenberg provides leadership and direction to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which serves producers operating more than 38,700 farms and ranches in the state. She is a member of numerous state boards and commissions, current board president of the Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association, and vice chair of the Western Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Commissioner Greenberg is the recipient of the Emerging Conservation Leader Award from Western Resource Advocates and a 2019 Who’s Who In Agriculture honoree. She has worked in and advocated for agriculture for more than 14 years.

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Director of the Native American Cultural Center and Interim Assistant Vice President in the Office of Inclusive Excellence, Colorado State University

Ty A. Smith, MBA, was born and raised on the Navajo Nation. He is Tódích’íi’nii  (Bitter Water Clan), born for  Ashiihi (Salt Clan). Ty received both his baccalaureate degree (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) and master’s degree (MBA) from Colorado State University. He was a practicing engineer in the energy industry prior to becoming director of the Native American Cultural Center (NACC) at Colorado State University in 2005. NACC’s mission is to ensure a successful educational experience for students by providing support and services related to recruitment, retention, graduation, and community outreach. The office embraces and encourages a supportive environment based on the traditions and cultures of Native American peoples.

Ty is also the Interim Assistant Vice President in the Office of Inclusive Excellence at CSU. He resides in Fort Collins along with his wife, Jan, and their two boys, Ty Jr. and William.

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Managing Partner, Entrada Ventures

Karen Roter Davis is a technology executive, investor, and board member, passionate about driving innovation that energizes and transforms companies from early-stage start-ups to global leaders. She is currently a Managing Partner at Entrada Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund, where she invests in enterprise and industrial technology companies.

Karen spent over a decade in various senior positions at Alphabet, initially from 2003 to 2008, serving as a Principal in their New Business Development group, scaling its then early-stage businesses, as well as overseeing operations for the company’s groundbreaking 2004 IPO. Most recently, from 2017 until February 2022, Karen was Director of Early Stage Projects at X (formerly Google X), where she provided strategic direction and oversight for a portfolio of early-stage technology ventures.

Karen returned to Google in 2016 through Alphabet’s acquisition of Urban Engines, a SaaS geospatial analytics platform. Karen was the first business hire into the engineering-centric Urban Engines and established foundational business development, strategy, and operations functions as General Manager of Strategy and Business Operations.

Prior to joining Urban Engines, Karen was recruited by GE Digital to build software and analytics venture investing, M&A, and strategic partnerships to advance GE’s “Industrial Internet” (IoT, Industry 4.0) capabilities across its multi-billion dollar industrial businesses.

In addition to her executive experience, Karen has held multiple board and advisory engagements, including her service as a Board Director of Innovyze, a global leader in water software analytics, acquired in March 2021 by Autodesk (Nasdaq: ADSK). She is certified in Cybersecurity Oversight by Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute and the National Association of Corporate Directors. She also serves on Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Carbon Initiative Impact Committee.

Karen earned her M.B.A. from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, and her B.A. from Princeton University’s School of Public & International Affairs. She is a former Adjunct Professor of Business of Innovation at Northwestern University, a frequent author and speaker on a variety of innovation topics, a patent inventor, and a singer and songwriter.

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Founder and CEO, Water Foundry

Will Sarni is the founder and CEO of Water Foundry a water strategy consultancy. He is also the Founder and General Partner of The Future of Water Fund, a water technology venture fund focused on addressing water scarcity, quality and equitable access to water. He has been a sustainability and water strategy advisor to multinationals, water technology companies, investors, and non-governmental organizations for his entire career.

Prior to Water Foundry, he was a managing director at Deloitte Consulting where he established and led the water strategy practice. He was the founder and CEO of DOMANI, a sustainability strategy firm, prior to Deloitte.

Will is an internationally recognized thought leader on water strategy and innovation. He was ranked as; A Key Player Pressuring Businesses to Care About Water and one of the Top 15 Interviews In Smart Water Magazine 2019. Sarni is the author numerous publications on water strategy and innovation including the following books.

  • Corporate Water Strategies” (Earthscan 2011, and in Chinese by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press 2013)
  • “Water Tech – A Guide to Investment, Innovation and Business Opportunities in the Water Sector” (Sarni, W. and Pechet, T., Routledge 2013)
  • “Beyond the Energy – Water – Food Nexus: New Strategies for 21st Century Growth” (Dō Sustainability 2015)
  • “Water Stewardship and Business Value: Creating Abundance from Scarcity” (Sarni, W., and Grant, D., Routledge 2018)
  • “Creating 21st Century Abundance through Public Policy Innovation: Moving Beyond Business as Usual” (Sarni, W. and Koch, G., Greenleaf Publishing 2018)
  • “Digital Water: New Technologies for a More Resilient, Secure and Equitable Water Future” (Routledge, 2021).

He is also the co-author, with Tony Dunnigan, of a children’s book on water, “Water, I Wonder” (Outskirts Press, September 2022).

Sarni is a co-founder of WetDATA and a host of the podcast, The Stream with Will and Tom. He is a board member of Silver Bullet, Project WET and the Rocky Mountain Rowing Club. He was the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for the WAITRO Global Water Innovation Summit 2020 and was on the Scientific Program Committee for Stockholm World Water Week from 2013 through 2019. His advisory work includes working with the 2020 X-PRIZE (Infinity Water Prize), as a Bold Visioneer for the 2016 X-PRIZE Safe Drinking Water Team and a Technical Advisor for the Climate Bonds Initiative: Nature- Based Solutions for Climate and Water Resilience. He is also on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Water Security.

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Senior Vice President of Sustainability, Dairy Farmers of America

As senior vice president of sustainability, Kevin is responsible for steering DFA’s sustainability activities and evolving the Cooperative’s environmental, social and governance efforts. Prior to joining DFA, Kevin worked as the sustainability strategy advisor for a venture capital fund focused on global food system innovation. Before that, he served for more than 16 years in a variety of global sustainability leadership roles at General Mills and Nike. Kevin started his career in the public and consulting sectors advising industries on sustainability. He has had extensive global sustainability and sourcing experience in 25 countries across five continents.

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President, Sakata Farms Inc.

Robert T. Sakata is President of Sakata Farms in Brighton Colorado which was started by his father Bob. Growing up on the family farm his parents were a great example of how important involvement in the community is. Following their footsteps Robert was the founding President of the board of directors for the Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association which aims to fill a need for a common voice representing produce growers across the state. Currently Robert serves on the board of directors for the Fulton Irrigation Company and is the president of the New Brantner Irrigation Ditch Company. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Onion Association and in 2021 was appointed by Colorado Governor Jared Polis to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). The mission of the 15 member CWCB board is to conserve, develop, protect and manage Colorado’s water for present and future generations. Prior to that Robert served the state of Colorado on the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) for 15 years appointed by three different Governors. The WQCC is charged with setting the water quality standards protecting designated uses for waters of the State.

While studying at the Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology department at University of Colorado Robert worked for AMGEN when they opened their research labs in Boulder. Due to housing constraints for a seasonal workforce Sakata Farms transitioned away from growing vegetables to winter wheat, grain corn, and pinto beans on his family farm.

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Governor of the Gila River Indian Community

Stephen Roe Lewis was raised in Sacaton, “Gu-u-Ki”, on the Gila River Indian Community. His father is the late Rodney Lewis and mother Willardene Lewis. Mr. Lewis has a son, Daniel currently attending Arizona State University.

Mr. Lewis is in his third term serving as Governor of the Community, having previously served as Lt. Governor. Prior to serving in elected leadership, Governor Lewis served the Community as a member of the Board of Directors for the Gila River Healthcare Corporation, as a Gaming Commissioner for the Gila River Gaming Commission, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Gila River Telecommunications, Inc..

Stephen Roe Lewis graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s of Science and pursued graduate studies at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Governor Lewis currently oversees the implementation of the Community’s Water Settlement of 2004 (at that time the largest water settlement of its kind in United States history). Governor Lewis advocates for renewable and green technologies guided by O’odham agricultural history and cultural teachings. Governor Lewis’s vision is to support a new generation of Community member agriculturalists with the goal of promoting and protecting the Community’s shudag (water) and agricultural development.

During his tenure as Governor of the Gila River Indian Community, Governor Lewis has brought innovative solutions to long-standing issues that will create long-term gains for the Gila River Indian Community. One of these projects, Management Aquifer Recharge sites, brings together the need for access to water while restoring the return of the Community’s riparian area which is vital for farming and the return of wildlife to the Community. Bringing back the Gila River, which is critical to the culture and identify of the Gila River Indian Community, has been a key milestone during Governor Lewis’ Administration and one that will lay the foundation for future projects across the Community.

In addition, Governor Lewis’ innovation can be seen in his approach to providing educational opportunities for the youth of the Gila River Indian Community. The Community was the first tribal community in the Nation to utilize the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act to create a program that revolutionzied how infrastructure is constructed and maintained throughout Indian Country. This program, the Section 105(l) program was utilized for education construction in the Community, and the Community is working to expand the uses of the program to other infrastructure in the Community and throughout Indian Country.

Governor Lewis has also prioritized the Community’s Veterans and youth by working to establish the Community’s first Veteran’s and Family Services Department and by committing more resources to protect the Community’s children by advocating for the protection of the Indian Child Welfare Act both at home and nationally.

These projects illustrate the commitment that Governor Lewis has to respecting the history and culture of the community while providing for a brighter future for all of the Community’s citizens.

In addition to his leadership in the Community, Governor Lewis has worked on numerous political campaigns and organizing projects throughout Indian Country including serving as an elector for the 2020 Presidential election and selected as an Arizona delegate and Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Governor Lewis was the first Native film curator for the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and was an Associate Producer for the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed TBS six-part feature documentary, “The Native Americans.”

Governor Lewis proudly serves as the Secretary of the National Congress of American Indians, President of the Arizona State University’s American Indian Policy Institute Board of Directors, on the Executive Board for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), and on the Board of Trustees for the Heard Museum of Phoenix.

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Executive Director, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Cody Desautel is a member of the Colville Tribe, where he has lived his entire life with the exception of his years spent away at college. He graduated from Inchelium High School in 1995, and from there earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, and later a master’s degree in Indian Law.

Over the next 20 years he would work on the Colville Reservation for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Tribe as an Inventory Forester, Natural Resource Officer, Forester, and Fuels Planner. He was the Natural Resource Division Director from April of 2014 through June of 2022, where he oversaw approximately 15 programs, and 500-600 staff. His responsibilities included forest management, fire suppression and fuels management, cultural resources, oversight of the Tribe’s 450,000 acre carbon project, and reintroduction of important fish and wildlife species (bighorn sheep, pronghorn, lynx, and salmon into the blocked area above Chief Joseph dam). He currently serves as the Executive Director for the Colville Tribe.

In addition to his regular duties he also serves as the President for the Intertribal Timber Council, and is a member of the Washington State Forest Practice Board, Wildland Fire Advisory Committee, and Forest Health Advisory Committee.    

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Consultant, Simpcw First Nation

Nathan Matthew is a member of the Simpcw First Nation, Secwepemc Nation, growing up in the First Nation community of Chu Chua in British Columbia.

Nathan has been on the Simpcw Council for over twenty years as Chief, and has served two terms as the Chairperson for the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council. He has been involved in the many of the Secwepemc Nation social, educational, economic and political developments.

Nathan has been involved with the Columbia River Treaty negotiations for several years and is currently the Secwepemc Observer at the Canada/United States Columbia River Treaty negotiations. As an Observer, Nathan attends all CRT negotiations and participates in all of the Canadian delegation negotiation preparations.

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Senior Water Policy Scholar, Colorado Water Center

Ms. Gimbel has had the opportunity to work for both State and Federal governments on western water issues. For the Department of the Interior she worked as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science and Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation. For the State of Colorado, she worked as the Director of the Water Conservation Board and was appointed by the Governor of Colorado as Commissioner on the Upper Colorado River Commission and the Governor’s representative in Colorado River negotiations. She also held several positions with both the Colorado and Wyoming Attorney Generals Offices.  

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CFO, Denver Water

Angela Bricmont is the CFO of Denver Water. She manages the financial resources of the Board of Water Commissioners, a 100+ year-old water utility serving 1.5 million customers in the City of Denver and surrounding suburbs. Angela is responsible for accounting, financial planning and performance, treasury, rates and customer care in addition to managing several retirement plans.  Since joining Denver Water in 2010, Angela has overseen a credit ratings upgrade to AAA, implementation of a new rate structure, issuance of Green Bonds, and funding lead line removal at no direct cost to customers.

Prior to Denver Water, Angela worked for several consulting firms focused on financial planning and rates for public utilities.  Angela also served as Vice President of Rates and Regulatory Matters for Comcast and the Director of Budget and Operations at the University of Denver. Angela has a bachelor’s degree in Finance and an MBA from the University of Denver. Angela was appointed by the Mayor to serve on the Denver Urban Renewal Authority Board, and she was appointed to serve on EPA’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board. 

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Senior Deputy Assistant to the Administrator & Agency Global Water Coordinator

Maura Barry serves as Senior Deputy Assistant to the Administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security and as interim USAID Global Water Coordinator. In this role, she oversees the implementation of the Agency’s responsibilities under the U.S. Global Water Strategy. Ms. Barry also oversees the bureau’s strategy, program, budget and administrative functions, which support implementation of both the Water for the World and Feed the Future initiatives. Prior to joining RFS, she served as the Deputy of the Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance in USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. Before returning to Washington, she served for a year as the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica.

Ms. Barry has been working in international development for over 30 years. As a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, she has held various leadership positions throughout USAID. She served as USAID Mission Director to Jamaica responsible for the overall direction of programs that cut across a range of sectors, including citizen security, environment and health. Other assignments include serving in the Regional Development Mission for Asia (RDMA) in Bangkok overseeing a diverse portfolio aimed at narrowing the development gap in Southeast Asia, including programs in security, disaster management, human rights, trade, food security and local capacity development. In addition, Ms. Barry served in Afghanistan as the Deputy Office Director for USAID’s Office of Democracy and Governance, and as USAID East Africa’s Office Director for Somalia. In addition to her years with USAID, Ms. Barry worked for the United Nations Development Program and with CARE International. She holds an MPA in Public and Non-profit Management from New York University and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya.

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Member of the Board, Aguas de Portugal VALOR

Ana is member of the Board of Aguas de Portugal (AdP) VALOR and AdP Internacional, both of AdP Group. In recent years, Ana was also member of the Board of Aguas do Tejo Atlantico(the largest waste water utility in Portugal) and before she has been 15 years at EPAL (the largest drinking water utility in Portugal), as head of Asset Management and Climate Change. Before joining AdP Group, Ana worked for 10 years as a consultant, at Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners.

International project participation include EU and US Water Research Foundation funded R&D projects, as well as the collaboration with the EIB. Participation at several national working groups, having founded the “Climate Change Adaptation Group” of The Portuguese Association of Water Utilities.

Ana is also a member of the Policy Advisor Committee of Water Europe.

She holds a PhD in Strategic Risk Management by Cranfield University.

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Executive Director, Denver Parks and Recreation

Allegra “Happy” Haynes is the Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation overseeing 250 urban parks, 29 recreation centers, 31 pools and 14,000 acres of mountain parks. Her vision is to help build a healthier city, create more park land and opportunities for all ages to play and exercise, increase sustainable practices, grow the urban forest and connect diverse communities to nature. Happy is a Denver native. She received a BA degree in Political Science from Barnard College at Columbia University and an MPA from the University of Colorado at Denver. During a career in local government spanning 36 years, Happy served 13 years on the Denver City Council from 1990 – 2003, including two years as President, and has served under three different mayors. She also served as an elected member of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education for 8 years. She currently serves on the national boards of the City Parks Alliance and the Trust for Public Land along with local boards including the Colorado Trust for Public Land, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Zoo, Denver Botanic Gardens, Salazar Center for North American Conservation, Civic Center Conservancy, Denver Park Trust, and The Park People.

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Mayor of Fort Collins

Fort Collins has been home since I was three weeks old.

After attending Moore Elementary, Blevins Junior High School, and Poudre High School, I earned an undergraduate degree in Sociology at Colorado College. Soon afterwards I earned an MA in Geography from the University of Colorado followed by an MA in Special Education from Purdue University in Indiana. After teaching special education for a few years, I earned a Ph.D. in Literacy and Language from Purdue. 

When I was away—in college, in the Peace Corps (Morocco), in graduate school, living and working in Mozambique, Africa— Fort Collins was always my home. When the opportunity arose to live anywhere, my husband, Channing, and I enthusiastically returned to Fort Collins with our three children. My work experience includes Congressional intern, ESL teacher, Peace Corps volunteer, secondary special education teacher, middle school principal, International Baccalaureate Coordinator, university faculty member and department head.

In addition to working, teaching and attending school, I have been an active volunteer. Serving in the Peace Corps in Morocco was an honor. I served on school boards in Lafayette, Ind. and in Mozambique. After moving back to Fort Collins, I served on the Commission on Disability as well as Childsafe before running for State Representative in 2014. As a State Representative I have focused on water, agriculture, small business and public education. After 3+ terms in the General Assembly I was elected Mayor of Fort Collins in April, 2021.

Personally, my husband of 32 years and I have three adult children. My mom, Libby James is my rock and role model. In my free time, I run, bike, swim, read and talk to people. 

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