A Message from the Chair of the AWE Board of Directors

2024 promises to be an exciting and productive year for AWE and our members. While many faced challenges in 2023 including drought, contentious water negotiations, and new regulatory environments, there were also innovations and strides forward in the ways we can work together to make every drop of water count. AWE continued to have a critical role in helping to clarify needs, bring problem-solvers together and to evaluate and identify best practices.

AWE and its members can be proud of many accomplishments in 2023. Our President and CEO, Ron Burke, has built an impressive team, and they have successfully expanded the influence and impact of our organization. We have retained key staff like Jeffrey Hughes, Director of Operations, and Rachel Austin-DeBruin, Manager of Membership and Events, and recently added Project Coordinator Amanda Christophe.

  • The entire team can take a bow for their impressive first AWE Water Efficiency & Conservation Symposium held in Chicago in August. The event focused on key issues for efficiency practitioners, presented valuable information, and was structured to encourage strong peer interactions, making it unique among other conferences in our field.  
  • Dr. Liesel Hans, Director of Programs, has enhanced our technical stature and peer interactions with efforts like the Conservation Advanced Meter Infrastructure (CAMI) Peer Group, co-hosting an AMI workshop at WSI, developing a partnership with WRF, and more. Exciting new research projects have been launched, including an assessment of Large Landscape/ Irrigation Transformations and the creation of an AMI Primer. 
  • Our policy agenda and influence are stronger than ever under the leadership of Andrew Morris, Senior Manager of Policy and Programs who has successfully brought stakeholders together on a wide range of key issues. AWE will seek to influence codes and standards as well as how the tax code impacts water efficiency incentives. 
  • AWE’s presence in social and mainstream media, as well as with our members, has been enhanced over the last year under the leadership of Kelly Connolly, Director of Communications and Membership.

Our volunteer leadership for standing committees, event volunteers, and board members all contributed to our success this past year, allowing AWE to be involved in significant projects in many states, including California, Massachusetts, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas. Our corporate membership and participation have improved in the past year ensuring diverse leadership and influence on efficiency issues. 

We start 2024 by adding exciting new board members who bring many years of experience, technical knowledge, and respect to our field. We are grateful that Troy Benavidez of LIXIL, Doug Bennett of Washington County Water Conservancy District, Christine Chavez of the City of Santa Fe, Carol Kauffman of the Ohio Environmental Council, Rick Maloy of Central Utah Water Conservancy District, and Summer Ortiz of Southern Nevada Water Authority have joined the AWE Board.

I am honored to serve as the AWE Chairperson and expect more success in our field in 2024.

Karen Guz
Chair, AWE Board of Directors