Keynote Speakers

Gretchen W. McClain
President and Chief Executive Officer, Xylem

Gretchen W. McClain was named Chief Executive Officer of Xylem Inc., when the company was formed from the spinoff of the water businesses of ITT Corporation in 2011. She joined ITT in September 2005 as the President of the company’s Residential & Commercial Water business. She was named President of ITT Fluid Technology in March 2007 and promoted to Senior Vice President and President of ITT Fluid and Motion Control in December 2008.

Prior to joining ITT, McClain served in a number of senior executive positions at Honeywell Aerospace, including Vice President and General Manager of the Business, General Aviation & Helicopters (BGH) Electronics division, and Vice President for Engineering and Technology as well as for Program Management in Honeywell Aerospace’s Engines, Systems & Services division. She joined AlliedSignal in 1999, which later merged with Honeywell.

Earlier, McClain spent nine years with NASA and served as Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Development–where she played a pivotal role in the successful development and launch of the International Space Station Program as Chief Director of the Space Station, and Deputy Director for Space Flight.

McClain graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

Charles Fishman

Author of The Big Thirst:The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water

Charles Fishman is the author of The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, the bestselling book on water in America in the past 25 years. An award-winning senior writer for Fast Company, Fishman is a celebrated investigative journalist, specializing in business innovation and social responsibility.

Charles Fishman’s latest book, The Big Thirst, examines how water resources will come to define this century; a year into its release, the book is a popular common read on college campuses and a must-read in boardrooms. In The Big Thirst, Fishman helps redefine how we look at water, our most essential but, in many ways, misunderstood resource. Fishman highlights water’s vital role in the business sector (especially to businesses who seemingly have nothing to do with water!) and points to the many contradictions of water in the developing world, leaving audiences with a hopeful vision of how current wasteful ways can be curbed through ingenuity and conscientious stewardship. Extending his coverage, Fishman now also blogs about water for National Geographic.

Michael Deane

Executive Director, The National Association of Water Companies

Mr. Deane is Executive Director of The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC). In this role, he is the senior executive responsible for creating and pursuing strategies to raise the awareness of the challenges facing U.S. water and wastewater systems and the value the private sector can play in providing innovative solutions. The NAWC is currently partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Let’s Rebuild America” program, to build support for addressing U.S. water infrastructure needs.

Prior to joining NAWC, Mr. Deane served as the associate assistant administrator for water at the U.S. EPA and held senior-level positions at SUEZ and United Water. He regularly addresses the topic of water infrastructure and the value of public-private partnerships in solving the growing water crisis.

George Hawkins
General Manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority

George Hawkins, General Manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water), was named to the post in a unanimous vote September 3, 2009 by the board of directors. With an operating and capital budget of nearly $800 million dollars, DC Water provides drinking water delivery and wastewater collection and treatment for a population of more than 600,000 in the District of Columbia, as well as the millions of people who work in or visit the District. DC Water also treats wastewater for a population of 1.6 million in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. The Authority operates the world’s largest advanced wastewater treatment plant at Blue Plains, with a capacity of 370 million gallons per day and a peak daily capacity of more than a billion gallons. DC Water’s service area covers 725 square miles.

Upmanu Lall, Ph.D.

Director, Columbia Water Center

Dr. Lall is the Director of the Columbia Water Center at Columbia University. A leading expert on hydro-climatology, climate change adaptation, risk analysis and mitigation, Dr. Lall seeks ways to creatively tackle the issue of global water scarcity through innovations in technology, public policy and private action.

Dr. Lall offers consulting services on climate, hydrology, decision making and sustainable development. His recent focus has turned to the issue of global and regional water sustainability.

Arjun Thapan

Former Special Senior Advisor to the President of the Asian Development Bank on Water and Infrastructure

Mr. Thapan was Special Senior Advisor to the President of the Asian Development Bank for Infrastructure and Water. He wrote ADB’s Water Policy in 2001 and led several initiatives to position the Bank as Asia’s primary water knowledge source, as well as its largest multilateral lender ($2.5 billion annually). Mr. Thapan addresses the critical link between water scarcity and the slowing of economic growth, and the need for water to be seen as both a social and economic good. He argues that innovation, premised on technology and processes, will be central to driving water use efficiency, and highlights the importance of true water valuation and public-private partnerships in solving water issues.


Joseph P. Vesey
Chief Marketing Officer

Joe Vesey is Chief Marketing Officer for Xylem Inc. and is responsible for overall marketing activities, customer excellence and organic growth initiatives. Xylem Inc., launched in Nov, 2011 from the spinoff of the water-related businesses of ITT Corporation, is headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., with 2011 revenues of $3.8 billion and 12,500 employees worldwide.

Vesey joined ITT in 2008 as Director, Strategy & Business Development, a position he held until Oct 2009. In Nov 2009, Vesey was named Director, Commercial Excellence, running a transformational sales and marketing change program with 9 global P&L’s and over 800 front line sales & marketing managers.

Prior to joining ITT, Vesey was with General Electric Company for 10 years in a number of commercial leadership positions of increasing responsibility including Vice President – Access GE (a commercial consulting role), Global Product Manager (GE Water) and Global Product Manager – Lexan® Sheet, Industry Leader and Regional Sales Leader (GE Plastics).

Vesey earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Boston University