Featured Speakers


Greg Allgood

Opening Plenary, Monday October 10, 1:00-2:15pm (Grumman Auditorium)

Dr. Greg Allgood is Vice President at World Vision where he helps lead World Vision’s efforts to address the global clean drinking water crisis. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina Water Institute. Prior to joining World Vision, he worked for Procter & Gamble (P&G) for 27 years and is the Founder of the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program. He has a PhD in Toxicology from North Carolina State University and a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he did research in water quality.

In 2013, Dr. Allgood was named a Conde Nast Visionary for his advocacy to address the global water crisis. In 2012, he was a co-winner of the Economist Social Innovation Award for one of the world’s most impactful developments, was honored as Distinguished Alumni of the Year by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and was named as one of the top 100 marketers in the world by Internationalist Magazine for helping to shape P&G’s global image.


Clare Battle

Plenary Panel: The Role of Government Leadership in Optimizing Development Partner Support, Wednesday October 12, 1:00-2:15pm (Grumman Auditorium)

Clare Battle is Senior Policy Analyst for Governance in WaterAid’s Global Policy Team, based in the UK. Her work covers a range of sector governance issues, focusing in particular on improving policy and practice in support of WASH system strengthening and greater development effectiveness. Clare is also Chair of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership’s Country Processes Task Team (CPTT), which aims to coordinate SWA partners’ efforts towards strengthening country processes, particularly through the adoption to of the Collaborative Behaviours. She holds a BA in Geography from the University of Cambridge, and an MSc in International Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies.



Louis C. Boorstin

Plenary Panel: The Role of Government Leadership in Optimizing Development Partner Support, Wednesday October 12, 1:00-2:15pm (Grumman Auditorium)

Louis is Managing Director of the Osprey Foundation, where he leads programs on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and sustainable energy, including clean cookstoves. In addition to managing a portfolio of grants and impact investments, Louis works to advance these sectors through wide-scale systems change. From 2005-2013, Louis founded and led the WASH program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, building a portfolio of more than US$ 400 million, assembling a cross-disciplinary team, and focusing the program on non-piped sanitation. Prior to that, he worked for 15 years at International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, where he led the environmental finance team from 1997 to 2004. That team made over 30 impact investments totaling US$ 250 million in sectors ranging from solar power to sustainable agriculture.Louis holds a BA in economics from Yale University and an MBA and MA (Development Economics) from Stanford University.


Clarissa Brocklehurst

Plenary Panel: The Role of Government Leadership in Optimizing Development Partner Support, Wednesday October 12, 1:00-2:15pm (Grumman Auditorium)

Clarissa Brocklehurst is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering of the Gillings School of Global Public Health of the University of North Carolina, and an affiliated faculty member of the university’s Water Institute. Clarissa started her career working on the water and sanitation needs of indigenous communities in Canada and the US. She managed water and sanitation projects in Togo and Sri Lanka before becoming the Country Representative for WaterAid in Bangladesh, and a Regional Urban Specialist for the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) in South Asia. Between 2007 and 2011 she was the Chief of UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Section, overseeing UNICEF’s water and sanitation programming in 100 countries and playing a role in development of strategy and advocacy for the global water supply and sanitation sector. Clarissa is a member of the Board of Trustees of WaterAid UK and the Strategic Advisory Group of the WHO-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program that tracks global progress on water and sanitation. She is a Senior Advisor to the global Sanitation and Water for All partnership, and works in a consulting capacity with several sector agencies.

Marc Edwards, Charles Lunsford Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech

Marc Edwards

Theme Keynote: Domestic WaSH, Tuesday October 11, 1:00-2:15pm (Grumman Auditorium)

Marc Edwards received his bachelor’s degree in Bio-Physics from SUNY Buffalo. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington. In 2004, Time Magazine dubbed Dr. Edwards “The Plumbing Professor” and listed him amongst the 4 most important “Innovators” in water from around the world. The White House awarded him a Presidential Faculty Fellowship in 1996. In 1994, 1995, 2005, 2011 and 2016, Edwards received Outstanding Paper Awards in the Journal of American Waterworks Association, and he received the H.P. Eddy Medal in 1990. His M.S. Thesis and PhD Dissertation won national awards from the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) and the Water Environment Federation. He was later awarded the Walter Huber Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (2003), State of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award (2006), a MacArthur Fellowship (2008-2012), and the Praxis Award in Professional Ethics from Villanova University (2010). His paper on lead poisoning of children in Washington D.C., due to elevated lead in drinking water, was judged the outstanding science paper in Environmental Science and Technology in 2010. In 2013 Edwards’ was the 9th recipient (in a quarter century) of the IEEE Barus Award for “courageously defending the public interest at great personal risk,” and in 2016 he was named amongst the most influential people in the world by Fortune and Time magazine.

Edwards is currently the Charles Lunsford Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he teaches courses in environmental engineering, applied aquatic chemistry and engineering ethics. Since 1995, undergraduate and graduate students advised by Edwards have won 25 nationally recognized awards for their research work. He has published more than 180 peer reviewed journal articles, made more than 300 national and international conference presentations, and has delivered dozens of keynote and endowed lectures. Edwards is a Past-President of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Science Professors, and in 2004 and 2010 he testified to the United States Congress on the issue of lead in Washington DC drinking water and scientific misconduct at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), respectively. His research group is currently emphasizing research on premise plumbing– a problem costing consumers in the U.S. billions of dollars each year and which also can endanger the safety of potable water. The National Science Foundation, individual water utilities and homeowners’ groups, the AWWA Research Foundation, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), and the Copper Development Association and have supported that research. His students’ work has been featured in Time Magazine, Materials Performance, National Public Radio, Prism, Salon, Good Housekeeping, Environmental Science and Technology, Public Works, Earth and Sky, and in newspaper articles around the country, and has spurred several new Federal laws to protect the public from lead in water hazards.


Rick Gelting

Theme Keynote: Public Health Engineering, Thursday October 13, 1:00-2:15pm (Sunflower)

CAPT Rick Gelting, PhD, MS, has worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for over 15 years on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), recently with a special focus on these issues in Haiti. He has done research and provided technical assistance on issues related to the sustainability and health impact of WASH interventions, and has been closely involved in implementing and evaluating Water Safety Plans in Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. Gelting has also been involved in environmental investigations related to numerous waterborne disease outbreaks, both in the US and other countries. He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in environmental engineering from Stanford University, is a registered professional engineer, and was the 2013 Federal Engineer of the Year in the United States. Beyond his work with CDC, Dr. Gelting is also an Adjunct Professor of Global Health for Emory University.


David Gute

Theme Keynote: Public Health Engineering, Thursday October 13, 1:00-2:15pm (Sunflower)

David M. Gute is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University. He holds a joint appointment with the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine as well as at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. He directs a M.S./Ph.D. program in Environmental Health and has served as the Academic Director of the Tufts in Talloires program located in the Haute Savoie, France. Prior to joining the Tufts faculty Dr. Gute served as an Assistant Commissioner responsible for personal and environmental disease risk factor reductions with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and as an Epidemiologist with the Rhode Island Department of Health. He has served as a consultant for a number of organizations including the World Health Organization and AcademyHealth. He is interested and committed to offering environmental and public health training in a variety of settings including international venues, having lead and co-directed training programs in Brazil and the Philippines. Dr. Gute received his Ph.D. and M.P.H. from Yale University. Dr. Gute is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology.


Melissa Opryszko

Theme Keynote: WaSH Disaster Management, Tuesday October 11, 1:00-2:15pm (Redbud)

Melissa Opryszko is the WASH Team Lead for USAID’s Office of U.S. of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) where she has been a WASH Advisor for over five years. She has over twenty years’ experience in environmental health including disaster response, research, and community development projects. She has responded to acute and slow onset disasters as well as complex emergencies in more than 20 countries. Melissa’s research has focused on access to potable water supplies and improved hygiene behaviors including a multi-year post-conflict randomized controlled trial in rural Afghanistan. She holds a doctorate in Environmental Health Sciences and Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from McGill University.


Jyoti Shukla

Opening Plenary, Monday October 10, 1:00-2:15pm (Grumman Auditorium)

Ms. Shukla is currently a Senior Manager of the Water Global Programs (GWAGP). Part of the Global Water Practice of the World Bank, GWAGP is a multi-donor Partnership that supports safe, affordable and sustainable access to water and sanitation services, particularly for the bottom 40 percent.

Ms. Shukla joined the World Bank as a Young Professional in 1994 and has since held multiple positions, largely in the area of public-private partnerships in infrastructure. Her most recent positions in the Bank Group have been as Senior Manager, Sustainable Development for the South Asia Region, Sector Manager, Energy for South Asia, Manager, Sustainable Development for the Latin America and the Caribbean region and Program Manager of the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF).

Ms. Shukla is an Indian national and holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics as well as a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Before joining the World Bank,
she held a faculty position at Princeton University and worked with a development consulting firm in India.


Heather Skilling

Theme Keynote: System Strengthening, Tuesday October 11, 1:00-2:15pm (Sunflower)

Heather Skilling has more than 25 years of experience in strengthening WASH service delivery in Africa and Asia through strategic, analytic, project design, and technical assistance work. At present, she is Principal Global Practice Specialist, WASH, at the consulting firm of DAI and working as a consultant to The World Bank Global Water Practice and WaterAid UK. She has worked directly with USAID, The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, DFID, and GIZ to improve performance of service providers (from utilities to small scale providers); strengthen operating environments including policy and regulatory regimes; and develop sector instruments such as corporate governance approaches, licences, contracts, and performance agreements. She has worked and written extensively on sustainability of WASH and on pro-poor services. With USAID she was Senior Water and Sanitation Advisor and on the Steering Committee of SWA, the WASH global partnership. She previously was Vice President and Practice Director of the international Regulation and PPP Practice of Stone & Webster Consultants, a division of the Fortune 500 Shaw Group. She has a graduate degree in International Economics and concentrations in Middle East and Latin American Studies.


Srinivas Chary Vedala

Theme Keynote: WaSH, Thursday October 13, 1:00-2:15pm (Dogwood)

Prof V. Srinivas Chary is the Director of Centre for Energy, Environment, Urban Governance and Infrastructure Development at Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI). ASCI is a leading think tank on public policy and a capacity building institution in India of international repute. He is a specialist in water and sanitation. Chary has over 25 years of professional experience working with national, state and urban local bodies in India and outside. His work experience spans in the areas of service delivery improvement (24-7 water supply, SWM), PPP and ICT for urban development. He was conferred Ashoka Fellowship for promoting continuous (24-7) water supply. An engineer, urban planner and management professional by training, Chary, had education at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, University of Bradford, UK, and Water Engineering Development Centre, UK. Chary has led over 170 advisory, consulting and research assignments both in India and South Asia. Chary is leading major research assignments for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation related to non networked decentralized FSM solutions for urban sanitation in India.

He facilitates the Swachh Bharat Awards and National Urban Water Awards to recognize excellence in urban sanitation and water management for water utilities and municipalities in India. Chary leads urban service level benchmarking programme of the Government of India involving over 1300 municipalities. As a member of the urban sanitation taskforce of the MoUD, he played a catalytic role in the formulation of the National Urban Sanitation Policy of the Government of India. As a team leader, he is instrumental in establishing WASH in School Benchmarking Programme (Swachh Vidhyala Puraskar) in partnership with Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India.

He has published extensively in national and international professional journals and presented over hundred papers as invited speakers in conferences. He serves on numerous national and international committees. He supports Sub Committee on Sanitation established by Niti Ayog of GOI. He is passionately committed to capacity building with the objective of ensuring continuous water supply and open defecation free urban systems in India.


Gary White

Theme Keynote: Reaching the Underserved Where They Are, Thursday October 13, 1:00-2:15pm (Redbud)

Gary White is chief executive officer and co-founder of Water.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people in the developing world to gain access to safe water and sanitation. Gary’s entrepreneurial vision has driven innovations in the way water and sanitation projects are delivered and financed, and these innovations now serve as a model in the sector. Since 1994, White has led Water.org through more than twenty years of sustained growth, while positioning the organization as an innovative leader in the global water supply and sanitation space. He developed the organization’s WaterCredit Initiative, creating new financing options for poor populations to meet their water supply and sanitation needs.

In 2011 he was named to the TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people. In 2012 Gary received the World Social Impact Award from the World Policy Institute as well as being named one of the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of 2012. In addition to being elected as nominee for the 2015 Global Citizen Award, Gary received the Henry W. Bloch School of Management 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Gary is currently a leading member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water.


Sanjay Wijesekera

Plenary Panel: The Role of Government Leadership in Optimizing Development Partner Support, Wednesday October 12, 1:00-2:15pm (Grumman Auditorium)

Mr. Sanjay Wijesekera joined UNICEF in October 2011 as the Chief of Section for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Before joining UNICEF, from 2005 – 2011, he was working for the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), where he was responsible for managing overall policy and global programmes related to achieving the water and sanitation Millennium Development Goals. He also worked for DFID in Ghana as an infrastructure adviser, where he helped coordinate a Joint Assistance Strategy for the donor community and was the lead donor representative for the water sector. Prior to that, between 2003 and 2005, he worked for UNICEF as a water and sanitation adviser in Nigeria.

Mr. Wijesekera worked for the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa (2000 – 2002), supporting newly formed local governments to take on the responsibility for delivering water and sanitation services, and helping to regulate public and private sector
service providers.

He has also worked on emergency programmes in Rwanda for Oxfam in 1994 and for UNICEF, supporting post-tsunami reconstruction, in Sri Lanka in 2005. Mr. Wijesekera is a Chartered civil engineer, and holds a Master’s degree in Water and Environmental Management from the University of Loughborough, UK. Mr. Wijesekera is a Sri Lankan citizen.