National Association of Water Companies names new CEO


The Board of the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) has selected Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Robert F. Powelson to serve as NAWC’s new chief executive. In his new role, Powelson will guide the strategic direction of the organization, oversee the association’s operations and work directly with the more than 220 NAWC member companies.

Powelson will transition to his new role in August, taking over the position left vacated when former NAWC executive director Michael Deane departed the association in February.

“As the only public utility whose product is ingested, water has always been of particular importance to me as a regulator,” said Powelson. “I’m proud of the innovative regulatory environment I helped create in Pennsylvania. I look forward to bringing this same progressive approach to my new role with NAWC. Building on the long-time proven record of NAWC members in serving tens of millions of Americans, together we’ll work toward solutions that address water and infrastructure challenges and ensure safe and reliable water service for every American.”

In August 2017, Powelson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Prior to his appointment to FERC, he served on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission since 2008, including as Chairman from 2011 to 2015. Powelson was first nominated to the PUC by Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell and was reappointed for a second term by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. As PUC Chairman, Powelson ensured ratepayers were involved in all issues that came before the Commission and that the ratemaking process was transparent. While on the PUC, he was particularly focused on Pennsylvania’s water infrastructure development, promoting the availability of safe drinking water and reducing unaccounted-for water.

Powelson is past president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), where he also was a member of the Board of Directors. He served as chairman of the NARUC Committee on Water and represented the Water Committee on NARUC’s Task Force on Climate Policy. From 2014-2015, Powelson also served as President of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC). Prior to joining the Pennsylvania PUC, Powelson served as president of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry.

He is a graduate of St. Joseph’s University and received a Master of Governmental Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

“As NAWC looks to the future, Rob brings to the association tremendous experience at both the state and federal level,” said Christopher Franklin, chairman and CEO of Aqua America and president of the NAWC Board of Directors. “He is taking the helm of the NAWC at an important time in the water industry. His unique skills and relationships will help to highlight the capabilities of NAWC member companies in solving some of the challenges facing many mid and small sized municipal water and wastewater utilities. Rob also has first-hand experience in working with utilities and regulators to encourage the investment in infrastructure that is critical in keeping our nation’s viable.”

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Chapter of NAWC awarded Powelson the James McGirr Kelly Award for Excellence for his efforts to encourage legislators, regulators, and public utilities to adopt best practices to accelerate the replacement and upgrading of utility infrastructure to provide safe and reliable service. His efforts to strengthen the Commonwealth’s water infrastructure were also credited with improving the quality of life for Pennsylvanians, protecting the environment and creating jobs and economic growth.

The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) represents regulated water and wastewater companies, as well as ones engaging in partnerships with municipal utilities. NAWC members provide 73 million Americans with safe and reliable water service every day and have an exceptional record of compliance with federal and state health and environmental regulations. Ensuring this high standard of quality requires extraordinary amounts of capital investment. NAWC estimates that its six largest members alone are collectively investing $2.7 billion each year in their water and wastewater systems. For more information about NAWC, please visit or follow on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *