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Drinking Water 1-2-3 Academy: Event #1 Recap

Water Affordability

This event was made possible through the generous support of Christopher B. Burke Engineering

Many thanks to our speakers who made the June 17 event informative, engaging, and inspiring! Click here to view a recording of this event (transcript), and continue reading for a recap of the day’s presentations: 

Speaker Bios:

Director, Institute of Public Utilities, Michigan State University
Dr. Janice Beecher has served as Director of the Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University since 2002. Her areas of interest include regulatory principles, institutions, governance, and pricing and she specializes in applied research on the water sector. She is a frequent author, lecturer, and participant in professional forums and Editor of the journal Utilities Policy (Elsevier). She co-authored the book Risk Principles for Public Utility Regulators (MSU Press). Dr. Beecher is presently serving on the U.S. EPA’s Environmental Finance Advisory Board and previously served on Michigan’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission and chaired the water rates subcommittee of the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee. She has also advised states and cities on water policy, pricing, and affordability. She previously held positions at The Ohio State and Indiana Universities and the Illinois Commerce Commission. She is a faculty member in MSU’s Department of Political Science (Adjunct, Economics) and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University. 

SUSAN M. CROSBY, ESQ. (Panelist)
Deputy Revenue Commisisoner for Water, City of Philadelphia Department of Revenue
Susan M. Crosby was appointed to the position of Deputy Revenue Commissioner in charge of the Water Revenue Bureau (WRB) in November 2020.  In this role she oversees the Accounting, Collections, Customer Assistance, Customer Operations and Technical Operations Divisions.  The core function of WRB is the daily generation and collection of water bills for the City of Philadelphia.  Prior to her appointment as Deputy Revenue Commissioner, Ms. Crosby worked as a Divisional Deputy City Solicitor for the City’s Law Department. During her eight-year tenure in the Law Department’s Tax Unit, she represented the City’s legal interests in the collection of delinquent business tax and water/sewer debts, managed the Mass Revenue Litigation Division’s operations, and supported both the Revenue and Water Departments in rate proceedings. 

Ms. Crosby has two Bachelor of Science degrees (History and Political Science) from Florida State University. She received her Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law and is admitted to practice in Florida (inactive) and Pennsylvania. A Georgia native, Ms. Crosby serves on the Mayor’s Commission on Women as its Secretary and volunteers for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania at the Service Unit and Troop levels in several roles. 

Project Manager of Community Planning, Elevate
Anthena is an innovation strategist using design, systems thinking and agile management practices to produce actionable solutions to intractable problems. Elevate’s mission is to advance equity through climate action. As a project manager at Elevate, Anthena helps communities and cities plan and implement climate and energy planning projects at scale, for which she was mentioned as an expert by The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.  

Anthena served on a select team from Elevate Energy providing consultation to the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) on the Deep Decarbonization Action Plan and America’s Zero Carbon Action Plan. She was also a founding advisory council member of the Environmentalists of Color Network. Currently, Anthena is a member of the leadership team of the Metropolitan Planning Council Planning Coalition providing strategic thought partnership on the historic We Will Chicago Citywide Plan and serves as a buildings and energy lead for the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge.  Anthena holds a degree in communications and economics, and certificates in business management, public interest design and enterprise design thinking. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and reading a good book. 

ZACH GREEN (Panelist)
Senior Consultant, Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc.
Zach has an interdisciplinary background in water sector economics, science, and utility management, in both public and private settings. He is a frequent speaker at local, state, and national conferences, and focuses on utility financial and strategic planning, cost-of-service and rate studies, cost-benefit analyses, shared service assessments, and affordability research. Zach’s typical projects aim to achieve deep collective understanding through facilitated multi-stakeholder strategic decision-making processes supported by strong analytical foundations. 

State Representative, Illinois District 19
Lindsey is currently serving her first term as State Representative of the 19th District on Chicago’s Northwest Side. The district includes portions of Chicago’s Big Oaks, Dunning, Gladstone Park, Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Union Ridge, West Portage Park neighborhoods, River Grove, Elmwood Park, Norridge, and Harwood Heights. 

Lindsey’s priorities include making health care, including mental health care, more affordable and accessible; supporting teachers and first responders who strengthen the communities in her district, and ensuring Illinois’ tax system is fair to everyone—not just the very wealthy. Lindsey has been a long-time advocate for protecting critical human services, violence prevention programs, and reforming our criminal justice system to align with evidence-based and humane practices that have proven to make communities safer at a much lower cost to taxpayers. She currently sits on the Energy and Environment Committee, the Labor and Commerce Committee, the Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee, the Public Safety Appropriations Committee and the Mental Health Committee. 

PAUL D. MAY, P.E. (Presenter)
Executive Director, Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency (NSMJAWA)
Paul May is the Executive Director for the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency (NSMJAWA), which serves water to 500,000 consumers in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.  Mr. May is a licensed Professional Engineer and Certified Water Operator, and has over 25 years of experience as a civil engineer, public works director, and utility administrator.  Mr. May holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Valparaiso University and a MBA from the University of Wisconsin.  Mr. May has been serving NSMJAWA since 2015. 
Mr. May has a lifelong passion for water resources and has been honored to be a part of several advisory groups which have assisted in defining the direction for the future of water use in our region, including work with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), and the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT).  Mr. May has authored publications and frequently presented to the AWWA, regional councils of government, and legislative advisory groups on water-related matters, including serving as an advisor to the CMAP On to 2050 regional planning document.  Mr. May currently is a member of the CMAP Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the MPC Water Resources Steering Committee. 

Investigative Reporter, Chicago Tribune
Cecilia is a reporter on the Chicago Tribune’s investigative team who has written about water affordability and homelessness issues. Originally from Mexico, she is interested in housing and social justice.

MPC wishes to express its appreciation for this event’s Premier Sponsor:

Started in 1986, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. is a full-service consulting engineering and surveying firm specializing in civil, transportation/highway, municipal, traffic, construction, water resources, environmental, structural and mechanical engineering.