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Staff

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Melissa Meeker

Chief Executive Officer

Melissa has over 30 years of experience in water resources management with an emphasis on water supply diversity and resiliency through alternative sources including reuse, stormwater, and desalination. Having worked in public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, Melissa's broad range of expertise covers public policy, regulation, and management with a focus on innovative technologies, workforce development, and public engagement. Throughout her career, Melissa has demonstrated a unique grasp of state, federal and international dynamics, keen political instincts, and a proven track record of working with decision makers and boards to develop effective programming to address the water industry’s most pressing challenges. Her ability to quickly form relationships that result in powerful alliances has created water resource management opportunities across the United States and around the world.

Melissa currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The Water Tower at Gwinnett and The Water Tower Institute, two nonprofits focused on enabling solutions in research, technology, training, and engagement around water. Pursued to take on this role in 2018, Melissa was the primary architect around the creation of this one-of-a-kind innovation center and has been with the project from inception, through construction and marketing, and into full operations.

Melissa views The Water Tower as the culmination of her diverse professional experiences, including running the largest water management district in Florida and multiple water-related research foundations. In 2022, Melissa was recognized with the One Water, Water Innovation Award, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Moxie Influence Award, and was invited to participate in multiple conferences, webinars, and podcasts. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Resources Management and can be found on Twitter @MLMeekerWater and on LinkedIn @mlmeekerh2o.

Melissa@theh2otower.org

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Kristan VandenHeuvel

Director of Impact and Engagement

Kristan has over 10 years of experience in the water industry in research program planning, working with stakeholders and technical experts, project and grant management, as well as a passion for helping others understand the importance of water for every aspect of life. In her previous role at The Water Research Foundation (formerly the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation and WateReuse Research Foundation), she managed 40+ water reuse and desalination projects for the water community valued at over $15M. In her current role at The Water Tower, Kristan is responsible for directing communications, outreach, and development efforts to foster strategic partnerships and steering programming to engage stakeholders and nextgen water workforce to advance cooperative innovation.

Kristan@theh2otower.org

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Chris Impellitteri, Ph.D.

Director of Research & Development

Chris has over 20 years of experience in the water industry with a focus on critical drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and water reuse research. In his previous role as Associate National Program Director at the EPA Office of Research and Development's Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program, he led EPA research on water treatment and infrastructure that focused on comprehensive water management in support of EPA’s Program and Regional Offices and State partners for protecting water resources.

cai@theh2otower.org

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Chad Wilbanks

Director of Training and Technology

Chad has 20 years of experience in the water industry. He joins TWT from Gwinnett County DWR where he previously served as Wastewater Manager of the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center, Superintendent of the Crooked Creek WRF, and Pump Stations Section Manager. Prior to joining TWT, he also served as a subject matter expert for the training department where he developed specific training programs to help DWR's 600+ operations and maintenance staff not only pass their certifications, but hone their skills to maximize advancement opportunities.

chad@theh2otower.org

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Peggy Alexander

Office Manager

Peggy has extensive experience organizing and managing dynamic office environments for public, private, and nonprofit entities. She is responsible for overseeing office operations, administrative functions, paperwork management, and keeping the boss out of trouble.

peggy@theh2otower.org

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Courtney Lee

Training Development and Events Specialist

Courtney has over 10 years of experience working in curriculum design, science instruction, and community engagement in public school settings. At The Water Tower, she organizes Continuing Education courses and coordinates training events with key partners, collaborators, and members of the community. Courtney’s expertise also involves developing and executing outreach programming to engage and recruit the next generation of water workers. She joins us from Gwinnett County Public Schools, where she was a chemistry teacher and curriculum developer.

courtney@theh2otower.org

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Brittany Fitts

Data Management and Analytics Specialist

A recent graduate from Georgia Gwinnett College, Brittany brings three years of valuable experience in data visualization, business intelligence, and database-related fields. At The Water Tower, Brittany manages the organization's database, develops interactive dashboards that enable stakeholders to make strategic decisions based on key metrics, and collaborates with the team to design and implement new processes. The focus of Brittany's role involves contributing to the tracking of data aligned with TWT's mission and goals, ensuring that initiatives are both data-driven and supportive of organizational objectives.

brittany@theh2otower.org

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TWT Interns

We have a terrific group of hardworking interns who are working on various projects in applied research, marketing, engagement, and educational programming to support our mission.

Anna Impellitteri, Research Intern

Abbey Kennedy, Research Intern

Vivian Rodriguez, Engagement Intern

The Water Tower Diversity and Inclusion Policy

The Water Tower is committed to a diversity and inclusivity in all of our departments, programs, and facilities. All employees, volunteers, contractors, partners, visitors, and program participants must feel valued and respected whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or disability. We are committed to a nondiscriminatory and equitable workplace and provide equal opportunity for employment and advancement in all of our departments and programs. We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages and ensure that all voices are valued and heard.

We are committed to modeling diversity and inclusion for the water industry nonprofit sector, and to maintaining an inclusive environment with equitable treatment for all. To request a copy of the full policy, please contact admin@theh2otower.org.

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