STAFF

Meet our dedicated staff

Howard Neukrug

Howard Neukrug

Executive Director

hneukrug@upenn.edu

Bio

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.

Meg Kramer

Meg Kramer

Director of Strategic Development

megkra@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Meg comes to The Water Center at Penn with a recently earned Master of Environmental Studies (MES) from University of Pennsylvania, hands on experience with land conservation, watershed education and environmental sustainability at the local level and a keen interest in water issues. She combines her interest in water with management expertise developed through decades of business and entrepreneurial experience to help The Water Center at Penn achieve its vision of becoming the preeminent center that provides real world solutions to critical urban water problems.

Karl Russek

Karl Russek

Director of Programs and Applied Research

russek@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Karl Russek has over 25 years of experience in the areas of legacy pollutants, natural resources damage assessment, emerging environmental risks, industry/regulatory interface, and stakeholder management in the United States and globally. He holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Quality Science from the University of Alaska where he focused assessment and restoration of freshwater systems. He most recently founded and managed the international environmental business for a leading global insurer.

Swati Hegde

Swati Hegde

Senior Academic Research Coordinator

swatih@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Swati joined the Water Center at Penn as a Senior Academic Research Coordinator and brings her applied and real-world oriented research expertise in multidisciplinary areas such as biotechnology, chemical engineering, and sustainability. Swati’s has several years of research experience in food-water-energy nexus, water and wastewater analysis, bioremediation of pollutants such as textile dyes, crude oil and organic compounds, algal blooms and energy production from wastewater. Her doctoral research focused on the conversion of food processing wastewater to biofuels such as ethanol and butanol, organic acids and biogas using fermentative technologies by using experimental and systems approach. Her research interests include integrated wastewater management, desalination, emerging pollutants and runoff issues.

Erica DePalma

Erica DePalma

Research Program Coordinator

edepalma@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Erica DePalma is a Master of Applied Geosciences candidate with a focus in hydrology at the University of Pennsylvania. While in graduate school, she hopes to bridge her professional work at the Water Center at Penn with the technical and scientific skills she’ll be learning in the classroom. 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 at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.
Andrea Garay

Andrea Garay

Communications & Office Manager

agaray@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Andrea joined us from the College of Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Pennsylvania where she was an administrative assistant for three programs: Master of Chemical Sciences, Master of Environmental Studies, & Master of Science in Applied Geosciences. She possesses a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Logistics and Intermodal Transportation and a Master of Business Administration Concentration in International Business. Andrea’s previous work experiences range from raising money for foundations, handling customer service, sales and logistics for different businesses, and assisting faculty and students in different academic programs. At the Water Center, Andrea manages all offices and communications related duties including events, social media, website and graphics. Ultimately, she seeks to improve the visibility of the Water Center by efficiently communicating the importance of our mission and vision to the public.

Stephanie Chiorean

Stephanie Chiorean

Senior Fellow

Scott Moore

Scott Moore

Senior Fellow

Water Resource Specialist

Bio

Scott Moore is a political scientist whose work focuses on water politics and policy, especially in China and South Asia. Scott is currently a Senior Fellow at the Penn Water Center as well as Director of China Programs in the Office of the Provost at the University of Pennsylvania. Until 2018, Scott was a Young Professional and Water Resources Management Specialist with the World Bank Water Global Practice, where he co-led a study of China’s water sector with the Development Research Center of the State Council and was a co-author of two flagship reports, High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy, and Uncharted Waters: the New Economics of Water Scarcity and Variability. Previously, Scott served as Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer for China at the U.S. Department of State, where he worked extensively on the Paris Agreement on climate change, and prior to that was Giorgio Ruffolo Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University. He has published widely on the full range of global water issues in leading publications including Nature, Foreign Affairs, and The New York Times. He is also the author of Subnational Hydropolitics: Conflict, Cooperation, and Institution-Building in Shared River Basins, published in 2018 by Oxford University Press. Scott holds a doctorate in Politics and a master’s degree in Environmental Change and Management from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton.

Byron Sherwood

Byron Sherwood

Senior Fellow

Senior Fellow

Bio

Originally trained as an oceanographer and microbial ecologist, Byron is broadly interested in understanding how the behavior and physiology of microorganisms influence ecosystem function and global biogeochemical cycles. For most of his career, Byron’s work took the form of quantifying how microscale interactions between bacteria and dissolved molecules or other microorganisms, for example, scale up to affect the global exchange of carbon (and carbon dioxide) between the ocean and atmosphere. Since joining the Department of Biology at Penn, Byron applied a similar systems biology approach to better understand the urban aquascape of Philadelphia and the ecology of human-microbe interactions. In collaboration with undergraduate students in the Department of Biology, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, and the Water Center at Penn, Byron’s research and teaching efforts are focused on understanding the ecological principles governing microbe-human interactions of urban aquatic ecosystems with an eye toward addressing some of the unique challenges faced by a socioeconomically and culturally diverse urban society.

Alison De Luise

Alison De Luise

Senior Advisor

Advisor

Bio

Alison applies 15 years of international development policy, program and partnership experience towards urban sustainability challenges.  Completing a Master in Environmental Management at Duke University, her research focused on how cities can harness green stormwater infrastructure investments to maximize delivery of other social, environmental and economic co-benefits. At WCP, Alison is developing holistic strategies to address interconnected water challenges faced by Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers communities.

Previous roles have included community development in Swaziland, representing the Australian government in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands, managing the agricultural productivity program for the Australian aid program, and leading strategic partnership development for an international research organization focused on safeguarding and use of agricultural biodiversity.

William Senft

William Senft

Senior Advisor

Advisor

Bio

Analyzing governance and financing models for Municipal Integrated Water Management systems – drinking water, waste water and storm water. Focusing on the comparative pro’s and con’s of three basic models: municipally operated vs. privatized for-profit vs. nonprofit (501c12 coop or 501c3). Seeking further research funding for in-depth analysis to determine the attributes of community water systems most compatible with each of the three models – including, among other factors, geography, topology and hydrology – population density and trends – existing legacy systems and their operational soundness – community financial strength and debt load – political climate and municipal & regional leadership – opportunities for regional solutions – and access to expertise and technical support. Also analyzing financing sources and relative costs of capital for each of the three models..

Volunteers

Mairead Helmes

Mairead Helmes

Volunteer

Bio

Mairead Helmes is a Master of Environmental Studies candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focus is on water sanitation and water policy. She plans to apply her education and field experience with the Water Center to bridge the knowledge gap between her employment in health care and her future career aspirations in the environmental industry. Mairead holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a certificate in environmental policy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She currently works full time at Change Healthcare and volunteers for the Water Center as much as possible.
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