The Shape of Water
It doesn’t matter where you live or work, every municipality is hiding the same thing: miles and miles of water and sewer pipes. This buried infrastructure is an incredible asset – one of the greatest contributions to public health in our cities – but also a significant challenge. In this session, a panel of water sector experts will discuss the current state of the water industry and emerging trends. You will also hear some great stories about cities tackling problems head on with innovative projects, and learn strategies to better communicate about water with customers.
John Lisle (Moderator) is Chief of External Affairs at the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). He leads a team of 12 in managing DC Water’s relationships with its customers, the media, the federal and District governments, and other stakeholders. John’s team has won awards for their communications about Washington, DC’s aging infrastructure and their work publicizing DC Water’s major projects to update that infrastructure.
A former television journalist, John worked at the District of Columbia Department of Transportation and the Arlington, Virginia Police Department prior to joining DC Water in 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and lives with his wife Carrie and their 3 children in Alexandria, Virginia.
David LaFrance has served as AWWA’s Chief Executive Officer since 2010. He has the honor of guiding AWWA’s extensive scientific, educational, and public policy work to build a better world through better water. This involves working with AWWA’s 43 sections throughout North America, and its 50,000 members worldwide. Prior to joining AWWA, he was the Chief Financial Officer for Denver Water where, during his 17-year tenure, he also served as the utility’s Manager of Rate Administration. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon and has been a member of AWWA for over 20 years.
Randall Roost is the Principal Planner of Water Operations for the Lansing Board of Water and Light. For the past 36 years he has acted as project leader and consultant in performing a variety of engineering duties required for development, proper operation and economic future growth of the raw water supply, water production, and water distribution systems of the City of Lansing and surrounding cities and townships.
Randall has performed utility benchmarking and infrastructure assessment plans and provides contract administration for water utility operations in 12 cities and townships. He currently serves on the AWWA Lead Service Line Standard Committee and has presented nationally on the lead replacement strategy of the Lansing Board of Water and Light. He has a B.S in Packaging Engineering from Michigan State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix.
Melissa Elliott has a 20+ year public relations career spent almost entirely with water and wastewater utilities and municipalities. She oversees communication planning and stakeholder engagement consulting for Raftelis. Most recently, Melissa directed the public affairs efforts at Denver Water, which included creating the public engagement strategy for massive infrastructure projects, developing a nationally recognized lead service line replacement program, and leading conservation outreach efforts through the innovative “Use Only What You Need” campaign. She has extensive experience working with the public on issues as diverse as drought, water quality, potable reuse, affordability, rate structure change, impactful construction projects, and customer assistance programs. Melissa is the chair of the American Water Works Association’s Public Affairs Council.