Alliance for Water Efficiency Appoints Three New Board Members

Leaders in Water Policy, Communications and Programs Bring Vital Expertise to Alliance Mission


CHICAGO, Ill. – The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) Board of Directors announced that it elected three new Directors in December 2016.  AWE also welcomed Pete DeMarco of The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials as incoming 2017 Board Chair.

The following new Directors have been appointed to a 3-year term expiring in 2019:

SteveGombosSteve Gombos is the Manager of Water Efficiency at the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario and has been in this role for 16 years. His responsibilities include the development of their Water Efficiency Master Plan, and delivering water conservation programs. He is a past chair of the Ontario Water Works Association Water Efficiency Committee and remains active in committees associated with the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association and the Canadian National Water Efficiency Network. He participates in water conservation research, and plumbing-related standards development with organizations such as the Canadian Standards Association and NSF International. He is a past member of the Great Lakes Charter Annex Advisory Panel, and also assisted the Council of Great Lakes Governors’ Conservation Committee develop Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin regional water conservation objectives. Prior to focusing on water, Steve spent 10 years developing and implementing municipal Waste Management programs.

BenGrumblesBen Grumbles is Maryland's Secretary of the Environment, appointed by Governor Larry Hogan and confirmed by the Maryland Senate in 2015. His responsibilities include chairing the Governor's Chesapeake Bay cabinet, Maryland's State Climate Change Commission, and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. Ben has also served as President of the US Water Alliance, Arizona's Cabinet-level Director of Environmental Quality, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water and Acting Associate Administrator for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, and Environmental Counsel for the US House of Representatives' Transportation and Infrastructure and Science Committees. Ben helped to launch the EPA WaterSense® program and National Water Program's Climate Adaptation Strategy and has fostered national initiatives on "One Water" management, the "Value of Water," and the energy-water nexus.

Maureen Westbrook photoMaureen Westbrook is the Vice President, Customer and Regulatory Affairs at Connecticut Water Company. In her 28 years with the company, Maureen has held various positions in the areas of source protection, water resource planning, regulatory compliance, business development, community outreach, customer communications,  , and customer service. Her focus is on developing strategies, legislation and programs that balance the interests of the company, its customers, and other stakeholders, protecting water supplies and promoting environmental stewardship. Her contributions have resulted in the passage of legislation providing tax credits for open space donations and ratemaking tools that support infrastructure replacement and water conservation. Prior to joining Connecticut Water Company, Maureen worked in the Connecticut Department of Public Health and as a town planner in a local community.

“The Alliance is thrilled to welcome these highly qualified and forward-looking leaders to our Board, and to welcome Pete DeMarco as our incoming Chair,” said Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. “The water challenges we face today and into the future must be solved through innovative and collaborative policies, public engagement strategies and technical solutions that balance competing demands for a finite and interconnected resource. These Directors bring experiences and accomplishments in each of these disciplines, as well as connections to diverse sectors and new decision-makers, which will help the Alliance deepen our impact.”

Beginning in 2017, Pete DeMarco, Executive Vice President of Advocacy & Research at the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, joins the Executive Committee as Board Chair. Deven Upadhyay, Manager, Water Resources Management Group at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will assume the role of Secretary. They join Kirk Stinchcombe of Econics, who serves as Vice-Chair and Jeff Taylor of Freese and Nichols, Inc., who serves as Treasurer.

In 2016, the Alliance Board also expressed deep appreciation to five departing Board members, including Kelly Kopp, Professor & Extension Specialist, Department of Plants, Soils & Climate, Utah State University (Utah), who served as Board Chair from 2014 to 2016. Additional Directors transitioning off the Board include Board Secretary Tim Brick (Managing Director, Arroyo Seco Foundation), Dave Bracciano (Demand Management Coordinator, Tampa Bay Water), Richard Harris (Manager of Water Conservation, East Bay Municipal Utility District) and Glen Pleasance (Water Efficiency Coordinator, Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario).

The Alliance for Water Efficiency is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the efficient and sustainable use of water in the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Chicago, the Alliance works with more than 400 water utilities, water conservation professionals in business and industry, planners, regulators, and consumers. AWE delivers innovative tools and training to encourage cost-effective water conservation programs, conducts cutting-edge research, and pursues programs and policies necessary for a sustainable water future. In 2014 the Alliance won the U.S. Water Prize in the non-profit category for its work. For more information, visit