Water: The Currency of our Future 

Economic Development, Environment, Emerging Concerns, Ethos

Day 1 – Thursday, May 28                                                             

9:00 a.m.
Morning Workshop
Charlotte Water’s Innovative Workforce Development Programs
Presented by Carolyn Ross, Audrey Abron, Sherri Jones, Hayley Williams

During this interactive workshop, attendees will learn:

  1. Charlotte Water’s approach to succession planning combined with bridging community economic gaps
  2. How an inclusive hiring process can successfully fill utility staffing needs
  3. Why soft skills training and career pathing are key for staff mobility and retention

11:30 a.m.
Luncheon Keynote with Dr. Michael Walden

Dr. Michael Walden, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at NC State University and member of the Graduate Economics faculty with The Poole College of Management; author of twelve books and over 300 articles and reports.

Dr. Walden is an economist that specializes in the Southeast’s regional economy, author of “North Carolina Beyond the Connected Age: The Tar Heel State in 2050” and will be discussing the nexus of the economy and water

1:30-3:00 p.m.
Session 1
Economic Development
A case-study level discussion about the intersection of economic development and utility services needed to support that development
  • Moderator – Nick Morgan, Kleinschmidt Group, Project Manager / Hope Walker, Greenwood Commissioners of Public Works, Engineering Director
  • Speakers:
    • GA – (Utility story of two large projects and the value of water as part of the Economic Development strategy)  - Mike Hopkins, Newton County Water & Sewer Authority, Executive Director,  & Serra Hall, Newton County Office of Economic Development, Senior Project Manager 
    • SC - (Upstate/Coastal Partners Alliance) - Rich Fletcher, SC I-77 Alliance, President
    • NC – TBD

3:00-5:00 p.m.
Session 2
Various views on the dynamic challenges, goals and perspectives on our environment, especially regarding nutrient management.
  • Moderator - Pam Flasch, Beaufort-Jasper W&S Authority, Public Affairs Manager
  • Speakers:
    • Laura Cantral, Coastal Conservation League, Executive Director & Gray Jernigan, Mountain True, Southern Regional Director
    • Mary Walker, EPA, Region 4 Administrator
    • Jeff Warren, NC Policy Collaboratory, Acting Director

5:00-6:00 p.m.
Social Hour
Light refreshments, networking and entertainment* on the outdoor patio of the Renaissance
*Ed Buchan, City of Raleigh, will be providing a water industry comedy skit for our enjoyment.*

Day 2 – Friday, May 29                                                              

8:00-10:00 a.m.
Session 3 (MORNING MoJo)
Emerging Concerns 
A well-rounded discussion on a very relevant and important topic: emerging contaminants.  What can we learn from one another’s approach?
  • Moderator - Peter Stangel, US Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Chief Operating Officer
  • Speakers:
    • NC - Rebecca Sadosky, NC Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Resources Drinking Water Protection Program Coordinator
    • GA - James A. Capp, GA Environmental Protection Division, Watershed Protection Branch Chief
    • SC – Doug Kinard, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, Drinking Water Protection Director
    • JD Solomon, NC Environmental Management Commission

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Session 4
Ethos - Affordability & cost of regulations
An engaging conversation on the issues that face rural water and sewer utilities and how each state is tackling this issue.   
  • Moderator - Ron Hargrove, Charlotte Water, Deputy Director
  • Speakers:
    • NC - Greg Gaskins, NC Department of State Treasurer, Deputy Treasurer; NC Local Government Commission, Secretary
    • NC - Shadi Eskaf, UNC Environmental Finance Center, Senior Project Director
    • SC - Bonnie Ammons, SC Rural Infrastructure Authority, Executive Director
    • GA - Phil Read, South East Rural Community Assistance Project, GA State Manager