Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Mobilizing Innovation to Advance Climate Resilience in the Water Sector

June 21, 2022 @ 8:00 am - June 22, 2022 @ 12:30 pm EDT

Reservoir Center for Water Solutions and the Stimson Center hosted a two-day discussion titled Mobilizing Innovation to Advance Climate Resilience in the Water Sector. While communities around the world are preparing for the range of climate challenges that will impact them, the water sector is also at the forefront of experiencing climate-related impacts. This conference identified the global barriers that prevent the advancement of innovation and technology within the water sector in order to achieve a more climate resilient world.

Did you miss it?

Watch the event recordings.

Event Speakers

Al Cho, Senior Vice President (SVP) and Chief Strategy and External Affairs Officer, Xylem

Albert Cho is Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and External Affairs Officer at Xylem. In this role, he is responsible for driving Xylem’s efforts to digitize water infrastructure, as well as the continued development of strategies to achieve our vision and create social and economic value. Previously, Mr. Cho served as General Manager of Xylem’s Advanced Infrastructure Analytics business. Prior to that, he led Xylem’s strategy and mergers and acquisitions teams.

Mr. Cho serves on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Water Alliance and the Canadian Water Network, and on the Programme Committee for Singapore International Water Week. He is also an Honorary Research Associate of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Mr. Cho earned Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies summa cum laude from Harvard University, a Master of Science in Development Economics from the University of Oxford, and an MBA with distinction from Said Business School at the University of Oxford.

Sally Yozell, Senior Fellow and Director, Environmental Security, Stimson Center

Sally Yozell is a Senior Fellow and Director of Environmental Security program at the Stimson Center. Her research examines the links between environmental crime and global security issues – with a focus on combatting Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, wildlife trafficking, and building resilience in communities threatened by the climate crisis. She oversees CORVI, the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index, a decision support tool for leaders who need to make smart climate investments to improve the safety and security of coastal cities.

Prior to joining Stimson, Ms. Yozell was a Senior Advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry where she provided advice and technical expertise to advance U.S. policies in the international arena related to ocean, climate, and wildlife protection. She joined the State Department to support and manage the Our Ocean Conferences and later supported Our Ocean Conferences held by the governments of the European Union, Indonesia and Norway.

Ms. Yozell also served as the Director of Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She led marine programs at The Nature Conservancy and Battelle Memorial Institute. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Vermont.

Josh Mahan, Director of Government and Industry Relations, Xylem

Josh Mahan is based in Washington, DC, where he leads the global government affairs portfolio for Xylem. Josh manages strategic engagement with the U.S. government and overseas Xylem’s engagement with trade associations. In addition, Josh overseas the Reservoir Center for Water Solutions, a center for thought leadership in Washington, DC created to advance the collective interests of the water sector and to take action to address global water challenges.

Josh joined Xylem in May 2021, after over a decade working for the federal government on range of water issues. Prior to joining Xylem, Josh worked for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the Department of Interior’s Office of Congressional Affairs, and the House Natural Resources Committee.

Josh holds a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

He spends most of his spare time keeping up with his two children, Jack (age 11) and Sydney (age 7), running, biking, hiking, and generally enjoying the outdoors. He has reluctantly retired from playing basketball, having played four years for his college, and from running marathons, of which he’s run 10.

Nathan Allen, Executive Director, WaterStart 

Nathan Allen is the Executive Director of WaterStart, an innovation association of water agencies and large consumers dedicated to accelerating the adoption of water technology. New technology deployed by WaterStart benefits 30+ million people across 3 continents. Prior to joining WaterStart, Allen led cleantech research and development for the University of Arizona Biosphere 2 after being part of an early solar start-up company. Allen grew up in rural Iowa, without clean drinking water in his home, and is still involved in the family farm. Today, he and his wife and three kids live along a 120 year old irrigation canal that brings water from Lake Tahoe to the remaining farm families in Reno Nevada.

Nicole Carter, Natural Resources Policy Specialist, Congressional Research Service

Since 2003, Nicole has performed research and analysis for the Congressional Research Service (CRS) on water resources management topics (e.g., infrastructure managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). Prior to CRS, Nicole worked as an independent consultant and professor in Mexico City. She earned her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and B.S. in Civil Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. For six months starting in late 2011, Nicole was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Australian National University studying water use and water market participation by Australia’s energy sector.

Stan Bronson, Director of Partnerships, Stimson ACRE

Stan Bronson is a seventh generation Floridian, born in Orlando, with undergrad education done at Florida Southern College and grad work done at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida.  Spending most of his career in the citrus industry, 14 years of which was COO of a large citrus operation, in 1999 he joined the extension faculty of the University of Florida, developing a natural resources education program for South Florida ecosystem restoration initiatives. That program evolved into the Florida Earth Foundation, begun in January 2002.  FEF was a public-private partnership of over 120 agencies, universities, industries and not-for-profits.  The organization developed knowledge exchange programs that center on water disciplines.  In 2019 Florida Earth transitioned into the Alliance for a Climate Resilient Earth (ACRE), which carries on Florida Earth’s programs plus many more.

Bronson serves as Director of Partnerships and Chief Visionary Officer of the Alliance for a Climate Resilient Earth (ACRE), which administers the nation’s only permanent US program in graduate water education with the United Nations, the UNESCO-IHE/ACRE partnership.  ACRE also runs the US-Netherlands Connection (USNC) program, which brings teams of delegates from the US to the Netherlands to see Dutch expertise in water infrastructure and management, especially as it relates to sea-level rise adaptation and knowledge exchange platform that puts together those needing help in solving coastal resilience issues with those possessing expertise in those issues.   ACRE’s newest program is the US-UK Resilience Forum in partnership the UK Environment Agency and held at Oxford University.  Coming from a ranching family who supplied the land for Walt Disney World in the 1960’s, Stan’s love of the land has always been an inspiration throughout his career.

Ahmet Ozman, Planning and Asset Management Leader, Black & Veatch

Ahmet is a civil engineer (M.S) with more than 25 years of experience in the water industry, focusing on resilience, asset management, risk-based prioritization and planning. He has led numerous risk and resilience studies and development of risk mitigation plans in the past 10 years. Ahmet was a key member of WRF-5014 project team, contributing to the development of a Practical Framework for Infrastructure Resilience.

Courtney Weatherby, Research Analyst and Deputy Director, Energy, Water, and Sustainability, Southeast Asia, Stimson Center

Courtney Weatherby is a Deputy Director of the Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia Program and a Research Analyst with the Energy, Water, & Sustainability program. Her research focuses on sustainable infrastructure and energy development challenges in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific, particularly at the nexus of issues in food, water, and energy in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Weatherby was a lead author on a range of technical and policy studies, including Thailand’s Energy Development Pathways report in collaboration with Pact Thailand; the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Sekong, Sesan, Srepok Basin Energy Profile report; the Stimson Center’s Mekong Power Shift report; and the TRENDS Institution United Arab Emirates (UAE) Energy Diplomacy report. She provides support to the development and management of the Mekong Dam Monitor, a platform for near-real time monitoring of dams and environmental impacts in the Mekong Basin, and the winner of 2021 Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award, 1st Prize in the 2021 Prudence Foundation’s Disaster Tech Competition, and the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award. She also supports the team’s data-driven work on the Mekong Infrastructure Tracker, a platform to track, monitor, and quantify the development of energy, transportation, and water infrastructure in South East Asia.

In 2019, she served as a US-Japan-Southeast Asia Fellow at the East-West Center, focusing her research on US-Japan collaboration on energy infrastructure in Southeast Asia. She has spoken publicly on panels at a variety of institutions including the National Bureau of Asian Research’s Pacific Energy Summit and the Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food, and Energy. Before joining Stimson in 2014, Weatherby worked with the State Department, Center for Strategic International Studies, and Human Rights Watch. She holds a M.A. in Asian Studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a B.A. in East Asian Studies with honors from Dickinson College.

Jenna Shinen, Senior Water Advisor, Office of Conservation and Water, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Jenna came to work at the State Department as 2015-2017 Science and Technology Policy Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences, serving as a Life Sciences Specialist at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Office of Conservation and Water. Since 2017, she has been the Senior Water Advisor and Program Manager for State Department engagement on global water security, including where water challenges have cross-cutting linkages to climate resilience, food security, sustainable development, ecosystem services, or biotechnology. Jenna is an ecologist, specializing in marine biology and coastal conservation, and a former Mellon Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Her research has focused rocky shore invertebrate communities and how threats like climate change, invasive species, and environmental diseases affect biodiversity. Jenna earned her PhD in Ecology in 2007 from the University of California Davis and dual BS degrees in 2001 in Ecology & Evolution and Marine Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep, Global Lead on Disruptive Technology, Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy Global Practice, World Bank Group

Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep (Harsh) is a Global Lead for Disruptive Technology in the Sustainable Development Practice Group. In over 24 years at the World Bank, he has led and supported several environmental, water, and other natural resources operations and analytical support around the world. This includes work on transboundary watersheds, integrated basin planning and management, environment, critical ecosystems, and climate resilience, monitoring systems, public-domain data access, modern earth observation, analytical/decision support tools, and other emerging technologies. He has also been a Global Lead for Watersheds and co-leads the Bank’s Hydro Informatics focal area. He also leads a Disruptive KIDS (Knowledge, Information & Data Services) Helpdesk to provide support on emerging technology for operational teams.

Earlier, he worked with other international organizations, academia, and the private sector on water analytics and water conflicts. He holds a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Madras), a Masters in Environmental and Resource Engineering from Syracuse, and a PhD in Water Resources and Environmental Systems Engineering from Harvard University.

Kumar Ranganathan, Senior Director and Practice Lead, Water and Sanitation Division, Department of Compact Operations, Millennium Challenge Corporation

Kumar Ranganathan is a Senior Director at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. He is also the Practice Lead for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Group of MCC. In this role, he has overall responsibility for the development and implementation of water, sanitation and irrigation projects globally, ranging from policy and institutional reforms to development and construction of large scale infrastructure projects in partner countries. Mr. Ranganathan joined MCC when it was created in 2004 and led the establishment of the infrastructure practice and group in MCC. Mr. Ranganathan has extensive international development experience in water, wastewater, transport, telecommunications and power. Mr. Ranganathan was Manager of Infrastructure at the World Bank in Washington, DC, where he provided assistance to developing countries in infrastructure development, policy and institutional reforms, private sector development and privatization of public utilities. Prior to MCC, Mr. Ranganathan worked for large private project developers in originating private sector led public projects, and financing of long-term infrastructure, industrial projects and public utilities.

Mr. Ranganathan has also served as Senior Manager at an international consulting firm, providing assistance to private companies in project financing, privatization, mergers & acquisition and corporate finance. Mr. Ranganathan has managed the privatization of three major public utility companies in England and Wales.

Mr. Ranganathan holds advanced degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge and the University of London, and an MBA (Finance) from the University of London.

Elise N. Zoli, Partner, Energy & Climate Solutions, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Elise Zoli is a partner in the energy and climate solutions practice at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where she focuses on advancing strategic alliances in the clean energy, water, agriculture, and de-carbonized sectors.

Elise has worked extensively on a variety of groundbreaking technologies, transactions, and projects, including with nuclear, solar, wind, fuel cell (PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) and SOF/EC (solid oxide fuel cells)), storage, micro- and smart-grid, CCUS, de-salination, and water technologies, as well as the associated securitization and markets for carbon, fuels, land, and ecological attributes. In conjunction with her transactional work, which focuses on strategic alliances, Elise has pioneered the use of novel P3 (public-private partnership) instruments, including U.S. Department of Energy grants, loan guarantees, and incentives.

Prior to joining Wilson Sonsini, Elise was a partner and the global head of the Future of Energy, Renewables+ and Sustainability initiative at Jones Day. Previously, she led the energy practice and was a partner at Goodwin Procter.

Elise is a co-founder of the Alliance for a Climate Resilient Earth and serves on the board of directors of the Stimson Center, a leading, nonpartisan global think tank. She is currently obtaining her global M.B.A. from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Gonzalo Espinoza, Senior Product Engineer, ESRI

Gonzalo Espinoza is a Senior Product Engineer at ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World. Gonzalo specializes in hydrologic modeling, real time climate and hydro-informatic tools such as flood mapping and forecasting using National Water Model data. He masters the full geospatial tech stack required to develop scalable and operational services relying on large volumes of EO data in the fields of water and environment. At Living Atlas, he also supports the development of workflows for automation of data updates known as Live Feeds, technology used at Esri’s Disaster Response Program. Before ESRI Gonzalo worked in the development of Water Accounting at UNESCO IHE. Gonzalo has been active professionally and academically, being the runner up in the entrepreneurial innovation bootcamp of the European Space Agency (ESA), and he has published applied research papers related to water balance and fluxes in the Amazon Basin and in the Middle East. He holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Anne Pence, CEO, Blue Marble Strategies

Anne Pence is the President and CEO of Blue Marble Strategies, LLC, and consults on economic sustainability and related governance issues. Prior to that Anne, a Harvard-trained economist, was a non-lawyer member of the Global Policy practice at Covington & Burling, a Washington DC headquartered multinational law firm. She served as a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and organization she helped to design and stand up while at the State Department. Ms. Pence was the G7 Summit policy advisor and coordinator, international economic policy advisor and climate, sustainability, and development advisor to two administrations while in the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs office. She was a USAID MIssion Economist in Sudan, and worked with USAID in Chad and the Dominican Republic.

Elizabeth Small, General Counsel and Head of Policy, North America, Climate Disclosure Project

Elizabeth Small is General Counsel and Head of Policy, CDP North America. In her role, she leads on legal and strategic business matters and oversees policy-related initiatives across North America. Additionally, Elizabeth advises executives and the CDP North America Board of Directors, and serves on the organization’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (JEDIA) global task force. Previously, Elizabeth worked as a Global Litigator with Howrey LLP and with Hemenway & Barnes, focusing on global complex commercial litigation, antitrust and intellectual property law.

She is also an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University, where she teaches and writes about Bioethics.

Manuel Carmona Yebra, Counselor for Environment and Oceans, Delegation of the European Union to the United States

Manuel Carmona Yebra is the Counsellor for Environment and Oceans at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. He manages relations between the EU and the US in a wide range of policies from nature conservation to pollution, the Arctic region, circular economy, plastics, oceans and fisheries.

Manuel has two degrees in Law and Communication and a Master’s Degree in EU Law from the University of Leicester (UK). Since 1st September 2021, he works as Counsellor for Environment and Oceans at the EU Delegation to the US in Washington DC.

He has previously worked at the European Commission in a number of policy fields such as UNFCCC negotiations on adaptation to climate change, climate diplomacy with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other vulnerable countries, and the links between ocean and environmental issues. Previously, also at the European Commission, he was an international negotiator for the conservation and management of fishery resources in the North West Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, and also EU Head of Delegation for fisheries conservation at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Farwa Aamer, Research Analyst, Energy, Water, and Sustainability, Stimson Center

Farwa Aamer is a Research Analyst with the Stimson Center’s Energy, Water, & Sustainability program. Her research focuses primarily on the security and political dimensions of transboundary river water governance in the Himalayan region. Farwa periodically organizes and convenes Track II dialogues and discussions designed to facilitate greater inter-and intra-regional cooperation on issues around water security and hydro-diplomacy in South Asia, Central Asia, and the MENA regions.

Prior to joining the Stimson Center, Farwa served as the Director of South Asia program at the EastWest Institute (EWI)—a global think tank headquartered in New York. At EWI, Farwa worked on promoting non-traditional channels of diplomacy and establishing multi-stakeholder platforms for shared economic, financial, and geopolitical interests by bringing together media influencers, thought leaders, and business experts from within South Asia and across the globe.

Sam Riemer, Manager, Digital for Development and Public Sector Climate Technologies Lead, Deloitte

Sam Riemer is a Manager at Deloitte leading innovation and technology for global impact. As part of the public sector climate and sustainability practice, Sam leads the development of Deloitte’s public sector climate technology solutions. With several years of delivering global work in natural resource management, including water monitoring and management, Sam brings with her both a strategic perspective and implementation experience in her efforts to harmonize climate resiliency between the public and private sectors.


June 21, 2022 @ 8:00 am EDT
June 22, 2022 @ 12:30 pm EDT