Events / There’s Something About Water…

There’s Something About Water…

August 24, 2021
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


There’s Something About Water!

Have you noticed? Water is in the news a lot these days. Whether it is flooding, drought, water quality issues or the state of our nation’s infrastructure, water is one of our most precious resources, yet one we often take for granted. Our water challenges require governments, industry, and individuals working together.

Our ever-increasing demands place an enormous pressure on our water resources. And with a growing population, the demand for water in food production and the uncertainty of climate change, we all need to look carefully at our attitude towards water and the way it is used and managed.

Come tap into expertise from Penn alumni and staff about water and water policy. Howard Neukrug, ENG ’78, Executive Director of The Water Center at Penn, will talk about the new Center. Ryan Seiger, C’93, Staff Director/Senior Counsel at the U.S. House of Representatives, will provide insight into President Biden’s infrastructure bill, and Erica DePalma, MSAG ’20, Research Program Coordinator and Miriam Hacker, Senior Research Implementation Lead, both of The Water Center at Penn, will talk about the research programs at the Water Center at Penn and how they support the President’s new infrastructure plan.





Ryan Seiger was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993, and his Juris Doctor from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in 1998.


In 1993, Ryan came to Capitol Hill to work for former-Representative Robert A. Borski (D-PA) as Senior Legislative Assistant from 1994 to 1998. In 1998, Ryan briefly worked for the Washington, D.C. law firm of Arnold and Porter, LLC.


In 1999, Ryan returned to the U.S. House of Representatives as the Democratic Counsel to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. In 2007, former-Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-MN) appointed Ryan as Staff Director and Senior Counsel of the Subcommittee, where he has continued in that capacity under the leadership of Chairman Oberstar, Ranking Democrat Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), and the current Chairman, Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR). Ryan has served as the lead Democratic House negotiator for enactment of the Water Resources Development Acts of 2007, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020; the creation of EPA’s brownfields program; and several amendments to the Clean Water Act, including the Great Lakes Legacy Act, and several EPA regional authority and integrated planning authorizations. Ryan’s area of expertise covers the Corps’ Civil Works authorities, the Clean Water Act, Superfund (including brownfields), and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.


Howard Neukrug is the former Commissioner and CEO of Philadelphia Water, where he was responsible for all aspects of utility operations, environmental compliance, engineering, financing, budgeting, capital and strategic planning, customer service, human resources, and legal and policy decisions for its drinking water/wastewater/stormwater system serving 2.3 million people. At Penn, he is the director of the Water Center and teaching courses on the water industry and the role of water in urban sustainability and resiliency. He is also a Principal with CASE Environmental, LLC, where he provides consulting services to cities and utilities in urban planning, systems design, sustainability, organizational development, strategic planning and trends and innovations in the global water industry.


Erica DePalma earned her Master in Applied Geosciences with a focus in hydrology from the University of Pennsylvania. She has conducted water resource projects all over the world and currently leads a variety of the Water Center’s grant funded projects, particularly those focused on water affordability and water equity. Ultimately, she seeks to contribute professionally to mitigating the strain systemic injustices have on ensuring access to plentiful high-quality drinking water. Erica holds a Bachelor of Science from Fordham University and her previous work experience includes natural resource stewardship and fluvial geomorphology research within the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s Stream Management Program.


Miriam Hacker comes to the Water Center with a background in civil engineering from the University of Washington and a passion for understanding social implications from water and wastewater issues. Her professional experience includes stormwater regulation at a local level and strategic coordination in international development. Her doctoral research in civil engineering investigated the coordination of temporary accommodation for people seeking asylum in Germany, Sweden and Lebanon. Most recently, her work as a postdoctoral researcher with the Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) focused on the socio-technical barriers for adoption of on-site water reuse at a city level in the United States. As cities look to adapt water and wastewater infrastructure to climate change, Miriam’s passion lies in the organizational and institutional response to these initiatives and impacts for the local community.


Sponsored by:

  • Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia
  • Penn Club of Chicago
  • Penn Club of DC
  • Penn Alumni Water Forum (PAWF)