UIM Hosts Unique, Well-Received Water Finance Conference

More than 100 finance professionals in the areas of water, wastewater and stormwater gathered Sept. 1-2 in Cleveland, Ohio, for the inaugural Water Finance Conference. Organized and hosted by UIM: Water Utility Infrastructure Management journal, the event was a huge success and produced a candid dialogue about money for water infrastructure.

The theme of the two-day conference was ?Innovative Strategies for Funding Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Infrastructure? and was aimed at reaching municipal finance officers, utility directors, CFOs and financial consultants in those three areas.

The conference agenda featured presentations and panel discussions covering three main topic areas: rate setting and affordability; private financing and private capital investment for public utilities; and trends in public utility financing.

?Without a doubt, paying for water infrastructure projects is one of the biggest challenges facing our cities,? said Bernie Krzys, publisher of UIM. ?There are many innovative ways to address these finance issues, but we felt there was not a conference fully dedicated to providing a forum for discussion on money geared specifically toward finance professionals. To bring a focus to this, we organized the first annual Water Finance Conference.?

MWH Global served as the main event sponsor, with many other companies helping support the event, including Echologics, Cleveland Water Alliance, RePipe 4710, Squire Patton Boggs, Tyler Technologies, SplashLink and Key Banc.

Several industry organizations were involved in the event as supporting associations, including the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the U.S. Water Alliance, the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Coalition (SWIC), the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), the Ohio Government Finance Officers Association (Ohio GFOA), the Clean Water Council and the International Private Water Association (IPWA).

The conference was held at the Great Lakes Science Center in downtown Cleveland. The location attracted prominent water industry leaders in the region, including Alex Margevicius, interim commissioner of Cleveland Water, Julius Ciaccia, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD), Jennifer Demmerle (shown speaking on the right), CFO of NEORSD and Yvette Downs, CFO of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) and George Hawkins, general manager of DC Water.
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The event also drew leaders of the some of the largest water/wastewater policy/advocacy groups in the United States, including Michael Deane, executive director of the NAWC, Adam Krantz, CEO of NACWA and Radhika Fox, president of the U.S. Water Alliance and director of the Value of Water Coalition.?

George Hawkins (right), of DC Water, served as the keynote speaker, delivering an intriguing talk to conference attendees on the evening of Sept. 1 during a networking reception.?Hawkins? impressive background makes him one of the most knowledgeable experts in the water, wastewater and stormwater industry.?During his time at DC Water, Hawkins has implemented a 10-year program to improve aging infrastructure while complying with ever-developing regulatory requirements.
Planning is currently underway for the 2016 Water Finance Conference. For updates and to view information about this year?s event, please visit waterfinanceconference.com.

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