Keynote Speaker
dr. Robert Mace
Robert Mace is the Executive Director and Chief Water Policy Officer of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and a Professor of Practice in the Department of Geography at Texas State University.

Robert has a B.S. in Geophysics, an M.S. in Hydrology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and a Ph.D. in Hydrogeology from The University of Texas at Austin.

With over 30 years of experience in hydrology, hydrogeology, stakeholder processes, and water policy, mostly in Texas, we are honored to have Dr. Mace as our keynote speaker.
Speakers & Panelists
Jason D. Afinowicz, P.E.
Principal & Vice President
Freese and Nichols
Jason Afinowicz is the national practice leader for Water Resource Planning at Freese and Nichols. In his almost 20 years of planning experience, he has managed or participated in five rounds of regional planning for the Region H Water Planning Group as well as other regions throughout Texas. His team is responsible for the development and management of sustainable, resilient water solutions including supply projects and demand management. Jason’s educational experience includes both a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering and a master’s degree in biological and agricultural engineering from Texas A&M University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana and is a member of the American Water Works Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Amber Batson
Associate Vice President
Carollo Engineers, Inc.
Amber Batson is a project manager in Carollo’s Houston office and also is a board member for the Gulf Coast Authority. She has over 20 years of experience with water systems and has held roles in both the public and private sector in Texas and Florida. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and is a proud Florida Gator.
Ekaterina Fitos
Planning Director Houston Water
Houston Public WOrks
Ekaterina Fitos is the Planning Director for Houston Water. Houston Water is a service line within Houston Public Works whereby the Houston Water Planning Branch develops long-range plans and advises on delivery of water and wastewater services for current and future demands.  Ms. Fitos has over 22 years combined experience in the public and private sectors. Among extensive experience in project management and analysis, she was the first State of Florida Geographic Information Officer, and proud to be a newer Houstonian. She is a certified GISP, and has a Master in Business Administration (MBA), a MA in Geography, and BS in environmental science.
Scott Galaway
Financial assistance outreach specialist
Texas Water Development Board
Scott Galaway is an Outreach Specialist with the Texas Water Development Board. He promotes TWDB’s state and federal financial assistance programs and helps utilities and communities find options for financing water-related infrastructure. Scott has over three decades of experience with utility infrastructure operations and management, including water resources planning, capital improvement plans, construction, and project management. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Texas State University and is a Licensed Water and Wastewater Operator.
Dr. Stephanie Glenn
Vice President Research, Water
Dr. Stephanie Glenn is the Vice President Research, Water at HARC, specializing in ecology and hydrology.  Stephanie leads a team of scientists, sustainability experts and support staff that work to incorporate independent research into advancing scientific solutions relating to climate and water issues. In addition to her leadership activities, Stephanie’s research focuses on the analysis and dissemination of data relating to water quality and quantity, watershed health, climate impacts on water and the health and productivity of coastal watersheds and the Gulf of Mexico. Stephanie has experience managing and analyzing large environmental monitoring data sets, developing climate and water risk indicators, and disseminating science-based information to stakeholders and the public.
Sarah Kirkle
Director of policy and legislative affairs
Texas water conservation association

Sarah works with members of TWCA to develop policy positions through TWCA’s legislative committees and to subsequently advance those policy initiatives through education and advocacy at the Texas Legislature. Previously, Sarah was at Texas 2036, where she was the director of policy and planning and focused on education, infrastructure, health, government performance, and natural resources policy. Sarah also spent 13 years at the Sunset Advisory Commission, where she was a member of the agency’s executive management team and worked across most sectors of state government to make government work smaller and smarter.
Kelsey Kosik
Water Conservation specialist
City of fort worth
Kelsey is a native Floridian and a 2010 graduate of the University of Central Florida. For over a decade, she blazed a trail to become the first female Senior Herpetologist at the renowned Fort Worth Zoo, earning her stripes in the #1 ranked zoo in the country as a distinguished conservationist. With a passion for ecology, education, data and animal behavior, Kelsey now brings her expertise to the City of Fort Worth Water Department as the Senior Water Conservation Specialist. Here, she has transformed conservation program analysis, updated conservation programs to increase diversity and inclusion, and actively enjoys developing new conservation outreach opportunity ideas with the rest of the Conservation team.
Whitney Milberger
Communications & conservation manager
Bge, inc.
Whitney Milberger is a Certified Arborist and Licensed Irrigator at BGE, Inc. She holds a B.S. in Agronomy from Stephen F. Austin and an M.S. in Soil and Crop Sciences from Texas A&M University. She primarily serves as the Communications & Conservation Manager for the North Fort Bend Water Authority. When not in the office, she and her two boys (and pup Rosie Perez) live, farm, and play a ton of sports in Matagorda County.
Trino Pedraza
Executive director of public works and utilities
city of Galveston
As the Executive Director of Public Works and Utilities for the City of Galveston, Trino Pedraza is responsible for the day-to-day operation of Water Distribution, Water Supply, Metering, Wastewater Treatment, Pre-Treatment, Sewer Collections, Streets, Traffic and Drainage divisions. Trino has over 17 years of experience in the water/wastewater and the electric utilities industry, having served in roles ranging from Technical Planner at San Antonio Water System (SAWS) to Director of Water/Wastewater at both New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) and at the City of Galveston, Texas. Trino also served in the United States Army prior to his utility career. Trino earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Engineering.
Dr. Charles Porter
A full list of credentials and expertise can be found at 
Elected Chair of the Education Standards Advisory Committee, 2022; Appointed to the Committee by the Commissioners of the Texas Real Estate Commission 2019-2023. Appointed by the Commissioners to serve as Alternate to the Broker/Lawyer Committee at the Texas Real Estate Commission 2022-2023. Co-Author of the Legal I and Legal II Mandatory Continuing Education Manuals for 2022-2023 for the Texas Real Estate Commission. Appointed Chairman of the Advisory Council of the University of Texas Briscoe Center for American History 2022-2024. 47 Years of Working Expertise in The Texas Occupations Code Chapter 1101, The Texas Real Estate License Act, The Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission, the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors
Charles Swanson
extension landscape irrigation specialist
texas A&M agrilife extension service
Charles Swanson is a TCEQ Licensed Landscape Irrigator and conducts training programs to support the Irrigation Industry. Based at Texas A&M University in the Biological & Agricultural Engineering Department, Charles coordinates the Texas A&M School of Irrigation and manages the daily operation of the Texas Evapotranspiration Network and the WaterMyYard Programs. He also manages the Smart Irrigation Laboratory where he performs testing and evaluation of smart irrigation controllers, soil moisture sensors and irrigation sprinklers.
Philippe Tissot
Professor and Chair for Coastal Artificial Intelligence
Conrad blucher institute
Bio coming soon!
Sanaan Villalobs, P.E.
Vice President
Carollo Engineers, inc.
Sanaan Villalobos is the Texas Business Development Manager and Vice President with Carollo Engineers, Inc. and has 23 years of experience in civil and environmental engineering.  Ms. Villalobos received her BS degree in Civil Engineering and MS degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. She has served as the project manager for El Paso Water’s Advanced Water Purification Facility for the last decade as the project has been developed, piloted, and designed. She serves as a trustee on the Texas WateReuse board and ACEC El Paso.
Dr. Joe C. Yelderman Jr., Ph.D., P.G.
Professor and chair of geosciences
Baylor university
Dr. Joe has experience in government, industry and 40 years in academia with a research focus in hydrogeology. He has a B.S. in Geology and Environmental Studies, an M.S. in Geology with Environmental Emphasis, and a Ph.D. in Hydrogeology with a minor in Environmental Planning. He grew up on the Gulf Coast in Needville, Texas.
This one-day program will provide information on implementing successful water conservation programs, funding opportunities for water conservation projects, effectively engaging customers, and planning for the future. Below is the tentative symposium schedule:
Registration & Continental Breakfast
Please bring a copy of your registration confirmation and/or form of identification. After registration, we invite you to enjoy assorted breakfast pastries, fruit, coffee, and tea.
Speaking Program
- Welcome Remarks
- Region H Water Planning Update
- 2023 Texas Legislative Session Water Highlights
- Keynote Address
- Climate Impacts Panel
Speaking Program
- Water Loss Control (AMI)
- WaterMyYard Recommendations and Updates
- Water Conservation Measures and Funding Mechanisms Panel
- Customer Engagement in Water Conservation: Lessons Learned from the Field
- Houston Runs on Water
- Direct Potable Reuse
Symposium Ends
Who will be at #GCWCS24?
Water Resource Managers, Planners, Consultants, and Engineers
Water Utility Managers and Board Members
Water Conservation and Efficiency Professionals
Regulatory Agencies
Outreach and Communication Professionals
Green Infrastructure Professionals
Municipal/Regional Government Officials
Product and Service Providers
Leak Detection Professionals
Water Auditors
Distributors and Manufacturers
Scientist and Researchers
Educators and Students
Thank you to our Sponsors!
Available Sponsorship Opportunities
This year’s symposium will be in person and include a continental breakfast, lunch, refreshment breaks, and an incredible speaking program. We are looking for sponsors to help cover the costs of symposium logistics. All sponsors will receive prominent recognition before, during, and after the symposium.

To view a summary of sponsorship levels and benefits, please click here.
Embassy Suites - Energy Corridor
11730 Katy Freeway
Houston, Texas 77079

Parking: The venue offers self-parking at no charge in their parking garage.

Sessions will be held in the Lonestar Ballroom.
Lunch will be served in the Grand Texan Ballroom.

*Because this is a one-day event, there will not be a group room block. If you require hotel accommodations, please contact the Embassy Suites directly.
News & Updates
Posted October 2, 2023
Online registration opens on December 4, 2023, and will close on February 16, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. (CST)
Sponsorships Available Now
Posted October 2, 2023
Be a part of something great by sponsoring the symposium!

Contact [email protected] to learn more.

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