Programme Highlights

Keynote Speaker – Cindy Wallis-Lage
President, Black & Veatch’s Water business

Cindy Wallis-Lage is President of Black & Veatch’s water business and serves as a member of the company’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors. In this role, she leads a workforce of more than 2,800 professionals in more than 75 offices located in the United States, UK, Asia Pacific and India. Her responsibilities encompass Black & Veatch’s water-related business strategies, development and operations.
As a licensed professional engineer, Wallis-Lage has played a leadership role on projects involving more than 100 facilities worldwide, helping public and private entities successfully develop, enhance and manage their water, wastewater and stormwater facilities and infrastructure. On the basis of her experience and expertise, Wallis-Lage is recognized as a foremost expert in the treatment and reuse of water and wastewater resources, and she is a champion for water’s true value and its impact on sustainable communities.
A dynamic leader of industry- and community-based organizations and programs, Wallis-Lage currently serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Water Alliance and the Water Research Foundation. She is also a strong advocate for education and careers in STEM, and she serves as President on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri.

Keynote Speaker – Thierry Witkowicz
Senior Vice President Business Development – Smart Cities

Plenary Keynote – Towards Smart and Resilient Cities
9.45am – Wednesday 19 September
Thought Leadership presentation – Resilience Bonds
3.30pm – Thursday 20 September

Senior Vice President Business Development – Smart Cities & Business Partner France – Development, Innovation & Markets Department
Currently Senior Vice President Business Development – Smart Cities, Thierry Witkowicz is in charge of developing Veolia’s digital solutions worldwide. He successfully started his mission by signing the first smart business deals in Australia and France.

Prior to that, he was Deputy Zone Director and member of the Executive Committee of Veolia Water in France. The area he managed had more than 3,500 employees, 1,000 contracts and over €600 million in turnover. Throughout his career, he has successfully carried out development and organizational projects in the field of environmental services, particularly in water, in France and abroad.

Extremely creative, he loves innovation and has demonstrated that he knows how to use it to deliver value-added services to communities. In this spirit, he takes great pleasure in developing, negotiating at a high level, creating networks, organizing and directing various and sometimes relocated teams.

He began his career in Brazil, then created and developed Veolia’s business in China for 10 years. He has won numerous contracts for building drinking water and wastewater treatment plants throughout China and signed Veolia’s first joint ventures in Tianjin and Chengdu.

He then developed the South of Veolia Water with major concessions gains. Additionally, he successfully managed the renewal of the Grand Lyon contract (660M€ turnover) by making it entirely digital.

These challenges allow him to amplify his natural leadership and strong analytical skills in the face of the most complicated issues he encounters and which he is particularly fond of. It is a real joy for him to build international partnerships and develop regions over the long term.

Keynote Speaker – Alan Sutherland
Chief Executive of the Water Industry Commission

Alan Sutherland has been Chief Executive of the Water Industry Commission since its establishment in 2005, where he presided over the first successful liberalisation of a retail water market in the world, a model now replicated in England.
Prior to WICS’ establishment, he was the Water Industry Commissioner, a role he took up in 1999. Under Alan’s supervision, the water industry in Scotland has become much more efficient – both operating and capital costs are down by some 40% on a like for like basis – and performance standards have improved markedly. The introduction of competition to the Scottish market has further facilitated new and improved services, reduced costs and increased emphasis on efficient water use.

Following the success of market reform in Scotland, Alan was instrumental in the passage of the Water Act 2014 in England. He was originally invited to speak to the All Party Parliamentary Water Group on the future of UK water regulation and gave evidence to the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into the Water White paper. He went on to be highly involved in the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Water Bill and was just one of seven witnesses to give evidence on the Water Bill to the Commons Public Bill Committee. His contribution to the process was acknowledged during debate on the Water Bill in the House of Lords.

Alan oversaw the Strategic Review of Charges for Scottish Water for 2015-21 (SRC15-21) which was guided by the principle that a well-managed company will “go much further for their customers than they will for the regulator”. He is committed to an unswervingly customer centric price control and is constantly seeking to improve the regulatory framework to make it more supportive of innovation and strengthen the relationship between the regulated company and its customers.

Keynote Speaker – Sam Johnson

Social entrepreneur Sam Johnson is Head of Community for Mycare and champion of creating new social infrastructure to support communities.

Sam became a household name in NZ by founding the Student Volunteer Army after the Christchurch earthquakes and for his international work in the resilience and volunteering sectors.

Sam’s startup joined forces with Mycare in 2017 to help recreate mutually beneficial models of community – without a natural disaster. He works closely with Citycare Group on creating community-centric models of service delivery and engagement; called Community Guardians.

Deeply linked to personal growth and leadership, Sam’s presentation will focus on why new models of trust, work, community and the shared economy enable us to create new #socialInfrastructure.

Sam is a Sir Peter Blake Trust leader and has been previously named a Young New Zealander of the Year award and Communicator of the Year.

Invited Speaker – Jerry Grant
Managing Director of Irish Water

Jerry Grant, has been Managing Director of Irish Water since early 2016, having served for 3 years as the first Head of Asset Management in Irish Water following its establishment. In that role, he developed the first Water Services Strategic Plan (WSSP), as well as a €multi-billion capital investment plan which will see €5.5 billion invested in water services between 2014 & 2021. The plan points to a longer term requirement for a €13.5 billion programme to bring the water sector assets to the required standard over three investment cycles. In his current role, he leads a team of 700 staff in Irish Water, supported by 3,200 staff in local authorities delivering services to over 1.7 million customers, while continuing the industry transformation to meet modern utility standards of performance and efficiency.

Immediately prior to the establishment of Irish Water, Jerry played a major role in the Irish Water Programme. This was the project to establish Irish Water as Ireland’s national Water Services Authority, creating a modern utility structure and capability, with the transfer of responsibility from 31 local authorities to the utility on 1st January, 2014. This transfer was relatively seamless, with the local authorities continuing day to day operation of the assets under service level agreements. It included transfer of a capital projects pipeline worth some €3 billion, which was re-scoped and transformed into the first Irish Water Capital Investment Plan. However, efforts to introduce domestic water charges supported by a national domestic water metering programme proved controversial and these domestic charges have been replaced by exchequer funding in 2017. Irish Water is now in detailed negotiations to deliver the next phase of transformation to a single public utility with full transfer of staff and associated industry rationalisation.

Jerry has specialised in water services delivery in Ireland since graduating from University College Dublin with a first class honours degree in Civil Engineering in 1974. Prior to joining Irish Water, he served as Managing Director of RPS Consulting Engineers in Ireland for 10 years, leading a team of 600 technical & professional specialists to deliver transport, water, energy and waste management infrastructure throughout Ireland.

He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of Engineers Ireland, Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineers. He has a Diploma in Contract Law & Arbitration and is a Member of the Institute of Arbitrators. Jerry was presented with the 2016 ACEI President’s Award by the Association of Consulting Engineers in Ireland (ACEI) for his outstanding and continuous contribution to and support of the engineering profession in Ireland over the years.