2021 Agenda (Subject to change)

Lioncrest Ballroom - 63 Deer Park Rd, Asheville, NC 28803

Stream Cleanup Service Project (optional) - Wednesday Dec 8th 2-4 pm - Riverlink

Day 1 – Thursday December 9, 2021

8am – Registration Opens/ Welcome Breakfast at the Lioncrest Ballroom

Morning Workshop (9 AM) Innovation in Workforce Development Programming

Presented by Charlotte Water: Carolyn Ross, Sherri Jones, and Hayley Williams

During this interactive workshop, attendees will learn:

·       Charlotte Water’s approach to succession planning combined with bridging community economic gaps

·       How an inclusive hiring process can successfully fill utility staffing needs

·       Why soft skills training and career pathing are key for staff mobility and retention

Luncheon Keynote (11:30 AM) – Dr. Michael Walden

Dr. Walden is the 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.  Dr. Walden specializes in the Southeast’s regional economy and is the author of “North Carolina Beyond the Connected Age: The Tar Heel State in 2050”. He will discuss the nexus of the economy and water.

Session 1 (1:30-3 PM) – Strengthened Economies

A case-study level discussion about the intersection of economic development and utility services needed to support that development.

Moderator: Lisa Muzekari – Principal/Environmental Engineer, Thomas & Hutton


·       Mike Hopkins, Newton County Water & Sewer Authority, Executive Director & Serra Hall, Newton County Office of Economic Development Senior Project Manager

·       Will Williams, Economic Development Partnership, President and CEO

·       Brittany Brady, Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, President and CEO

Session 2 (3-5 PM) – Resilient Environment

Various views on the dynamic challenges, goals, and perspectives on our environmental resilience and sustainability.

Moderator: Pam Flasch, Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority, Director of Public Affairs


·       Jimmy Bagley, Deputy City Manager of Rock Hill, SC & Chair of the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group

·       Forrest Westall – Executive Director, Upper Neuse River Basin Association

·       Emily Barrett, Triangle J Council of Government, Natural Resources and Resilience Program Manager

·       Brock Ashburn, Highland Brewing Company, Vice President

Social Hour (5-6 PM)  Light refreshments and networking.

Day 2 – Friday December 10, 2021

Morning MoJo Breakfast 

Session 3 (8-10am) – Emerging Regulatory Concerns 

A well-rounded discussion on a very relevant and important topic: emerging contaminants. What can we learn from one another’s approach?

Moderator: Rob Osbourne – Project Manager, Black & Veatch


·       Jeaneanne Gettle, US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4 Water Division Director

·       Kim Nimmer, North Carolina Dept. of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Resources, Emerging Compounds Coordinator

·       James A. “Jac” Capp, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Watershed Protection Branch Chief 

·       Doug Kinard, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Drinking Water Protection Director

Session 4 (10am-12pm) – Equitable Communities

An honest conversation on incorporating equitability and representation into design, regulation, and affordability.  A chance to hear engaging, real stories.

Moderator: Ron Hargrove, Charlotte Water, Deputy Director


·       Suzanne Burnes, Just Growth Director, Partnership for Southern Equity

·       Bonnie Ammons, South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority, Executive Director 

·       Katherine Baer, Vice President of River Programs, River Network