The William R. Gianelli Water Leaders Class is a one-year program that identifies young community leaders from diverse backgrounds, including members of minority and ethnic communities, and educates them about water issues. The program enhances individual leadership skills and prepares participants to take an active, cooperative approach to decision-making about water resource issues. Leading stakeholders and top policy-makers serve as mentors to class members. Designed as a program for young working professionals, participation involves a time commitment from both the class member and his or her employer.

William R. "Bill" Gianelli served as Assistant Secretary for the Army in charge of the Corps of Engineers from 1981 to 1984 and Director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) from 1967 to 1973 during major construction on the State Water Project. He began his career with DWR in 1946 and continues as a Consulting Civil Engineer. He is past president of the Water Education Foundation. He resides in Monterey, California. In 2002, he made a generous gift to the Water Leaders Class as an investment into the future of water resources management.

The William R. "Bill" Gianelli Water Leaders Class is primarily funded through grants, with partial support from tuition fees. Tuition is $2,500 for the year-long program, which helps to cover attendance at Foundation events. Each year, some scholarship funding is available for several members. To contribute to the Water Leaders Class, contact Beth Stern.

Criteria for Acceptance

  • Commitment to understanding water issues;
  • Interest in seeking leadership roles on public boards and commissions, or key staff positions;
  • Commitment to the community through volunteer activities;
  • Potential or existing opportunities for advancement to key leadership roles within your own organization.

Participant Requirements

  • Attend a special one day class orientation in January;
  • Attend two Foundation water tours (each tour is three days);
  • Attend the Foundation's 1 day Executive Briefing in April;  
  • Spend a day "shadowing" a major water leader your assigned mentor from government, urban, agriculture, environmental organization, private businesses, or public interest group;
  • Interview the mentor about a water issue selected by the class;
  • Attend a special meeting in July to develop a class Power Point about the assigned water topic.
  • Attend December Board of Directors meeting to present the Power Point. 

Each year, class members research different water-related issue. Past examples include the state's Bulletin 160 process, water and growth. Each year's class runs from January to December, with applications for the next year's class accepted in the fall. Contact Jean Nordmann for information on the 2009 class.

Water Leaders Association

In 2004, a group of graduates from the Water Leaders Program established an alumni organization. The Water Leaders Association was created to provide for continued networking among graduates, fundraising efforts that directly support the program and to be available to future classes of Water Leaders as informal mentors. The Water Leaders Program proved beneficial as a one-year program, but this Association is a way to build upon and multiply the benefits found through participating.

Because of this Association, continued networking has already begun to occur among graduates of the Foundation's Water Leaders Classes, most recently at the Water Education Foundation's March 2004 Executive Briefing. At this event, graduates sponsored a reception to be able to connect with the current class of Water Leaders and to re-connect with old friends. The Association also hosted the Second Annual Silent Auction to help raise funds for the program.

By having this alumni Association, a database of graduates of the program has been developed to facilitate interaction among former and current Water Leaders. The Association encourages each graduate of the program to use the secure form to provide the Foundation with up-to-date contact information.

Water Leaders Association Steering Committee

Coral Cavanagh,

Wesley Lujan,

Jason Miller

Class Rosters


Elizabeth Betancourt
Watershed Coordinator
El Dorado Irrigation District

Jeanne Brantigan
Water Resources Engineer

Erin Field
Government Affairs Analyst
Western Growers

Catherine Freeman
Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst
Legislative Analyst Office

Jenny Gain
Water Resources Engineer
Brown and Caldwell

Carolyn Ginno
Chief of Staff
Assemblyman Mike Duvall

Stefanie Hedlund
Best Best & Krieger, LLP

Margaret-Anne Herston
Assistant Engineer
Delta Diablo Sanitation District

Campbell Ingram
Program Manager
Nature Conservancy, The

Manisha Kothari
Water Resource Specialist/Project Manager
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Tina Lunt
Regulatory Affairs Specialist
Northern California Water Association

Jacob McQuirk
Senior Project Manager
California Department of Water Resources

Jessica Pearson
Special Assistant
California Department of Water Resources

Megan Robinson
Jones and Stokes

Adriana Romo
Government Analyst I
Riverside Local Agency Formation Commission

Tracy Schohr
Director of Rangeland Conservation
California Cattlemen's Association

Amy Steinfeld
Hatch & Parent

Monique VanderMarck
Associate Civil Engineer
East Bay Municpal Utility District


Curtis Anderson
Senior Engineer
California Department of Water Resources

Viola Brooks
Executive Fellow Jr. Policy Consultant
Hoopa Valley Tribe

Heather Cooley
Research Associate
The Pacific Institute

David Eggerton
El Dorado Irrigation District

Christian Kropf
Hydrogeologist II
Washoe County Department of Water Resources

Sara Martin
Water Resources Project Coordinator
Jones and Stokes

Ryan Murdock
Civil Engineer

Alejandro Paolini
Conservation Specialist
Reclamation District No. 2131

Melissa Poole
Nossaman, Guthner, Know & Elliott LLP

Zarka Popovic
City Administrator/Water Operations
City of Williams

Traci Roberts
Environmental Resources Coordinator
Monterey County Farm Bureau

Priya Sathyanarayan
Project Manager
CH2M Hill

Andy Slack
Spot Water Management, Inc.

Miriam Torres
Program Assistant
Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

Ana Ulloa
Associate Civil Engineer
East Bay Municipal Utility District

Gina Veronese
Water Resources Planner/Resource Economist

Kate Wheatley
Taylor & Wiley

Dawn White
Water Quality Manager
Golden State Water Company


Elizabeth Ayres
Natural Resource Specialist
US Bureau of Reclamation

An Bartlett
Associate Civil Engineer
East Bay Municipal Utility District

Josh Bergstrom
Science Assessment Coordinator
East Bay Watershed Center

Debra Kaye
Operations and Maintenance Manager
Truckee Meadows Water Authority/CA-NV AWWA

Andrew Lloyd
Staff Attorney
Pacific Legal Foundation

Elyse Lowe
San Diego Councilmember Jim Madaffer

Tam Ma
Assistant Consultant
Office of Senator Sheila Kuehl

David Marquez Water
Hatch & Parent

Sandi Matsumoto
Project Manager
The Nature Conservancy

Mike McCullough
Director of Turfgrass Services
Northern California Golf Association

Eric Miller
Program Manager
Butte County Water & Resource Conservation

James Nickel
Special Projects Manager
Nickel Family LLC

Kanwarjit Qua
Somach, Simmons & Dunn

Mark Smith
Legislative Aid
Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee

Andrew Tauriainen
Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard

Ming-Yen Tu
Associate Engineer
MWH Americas, Inc.


Jeffrey Brown
Staff Geologist
ENGEO Incorporated

Mike Conner
The Nature Conservancy

Aaron Ferguson
Regulatory Affairs Specialist
Northern California Water Association

Alicia Gasdick
Water Resources Specialist
Science Applications Int. Corp.

Jan Lee
Associate Civil Engineer
East Bay Municipal Utility District

Salvador Lopez Cordova
Project Manager
Camp Dresser and McKee Inc.

Meghan Maloney
Peace Corps Fellow
University of Arizona

Kelly McDonald
Defenders of Wildlife

Eric Mills

Stephanie Parsons
Wildlife Biologist and Regulatory Compliance Specialist
Jones & Stokes

Michelle Pingel
Project Engineer

Nicole Sandkullav Water Resource Analyst

Chris Scheuring
Somach, Simmons & Dunn

Nathan Solov
Legislative Aide
Assemblymember Fran Pavley

Eduardo Valerio
Valerio Resources


Water Leaders are required to attend two Water Education Foundation tours during the year-long program.


Jolene Allred
Education Specialist
Eastern Municipal Water District

Katherine S. Brophy
Water Quality Project Manager
California Water Service Company

John Chester
Utility Resource Planner
City & County of San Francisco, PUC

Emily Franciskovich
Program Assistant
California Rangeland Trust

Jennifer L. Harder
Associate Attorney
Downey, Brand, Seymour & Rohwer, LLP

Christopher Hentz
Senior Engineer

Mary Lee Knecht
Water Resources Planner
Jones & Stokes

Marie Su-ming Liu
Legislative Aide
State Senator Betty Karnette

David Ramirez, Jr.
Hydraulic Engineer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Paola Ramos
Policy Analyst
Latino Issues Forum

Edgar E. Ruiz
Program Manager
Council of State Governments - West

Judi Tapia
Contract Branch Chief
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Andrew Werner
Vice President
Layne Water Development & Storage, LLC

Min Yu
Senior Engineer


Kaylee Allen
Assistant Regional Solicitor
U.S. Department of the Interior

Kristi Arcularius
The Ferguson Group

Joseph Arlotto
Water Quality Supervisor
The Zoological Society of San Diego

Ryan S. Bezerra
Bartkiewicz, Kronick & Shanahan

Rosario Cortes
Assistant Director of Legislation
California Department of Parks and Recreation

Tanya DeRivi
Legislative Analyst
Los Angeles Dept. of Water & Power

Daniel "PK" Diffenbaugh

Eric Ginney

Phelicia M. Gomes
Regulatory Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Georgeann "Gigi" Hanna
Public Affairs Representative
MWD of Southern California

Paula Kehoe
Executive Assistant to the General Manager
San Francisco PUC

Carrie Metzger
Environmental Engineer

Jason Miller
Associate Attorney
Ellison Schneider & Harris

Brady Moss
Project Associate
The Trust for Public Land

Vanessa Nishikawa
Supervising Engineer

Sara Price
Senior Deputy Attorney General
Nevada Attorney General's Office

David Sieperda

Diana Sokolove
Environmental Planner
San Francisco Planning Department, Major Environmental Analysis Section

Peter Weschler

Upon completion of the class, each member receives a certificate.


Jennifer Carbuccia
Resource and Outreach Manager
Hatch and Parent

Coral Cavanagh
Water Resources Planner
Curalium Consulting

Susan Fry

Lynne Galal
Chief, Project Manager Branch
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Edmund Gee
Assistant Regional Solicitor
U.S. Department of Interior

Dana Haasz
Water Conservation Administrator
San Francisco PUC

Maurice Hall
Project Manager
CH2M Hill

Nicholas Jacobs
Associate Attorney
Somach, Simmons & Dunn

Ellen Levin
Water Policy Analyst
San Francisco PUC

Geoff McQuilkin
Executive Director, Operations
Mono Lake Committee

Tina Shields
General Superintendent, Department of Resources, Planning and Management
Imperial Irrigation District

Crystal Thompson
Community Relations Representative
Central Arizona Project


Kathryn I. Alcantar

Rishiraj Das

Steve Escalera

Paeter E. Garcia
Weston Benshoof Rochefort Rubalcaca MacCuish, LLP

Martha Guzman
Legislative Analyst
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation

Will J. Harris
Engineering Geologist
California Department of Water Resources

Jose Huizar

Shana Kaplan
Special Projects Manager
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Jason G. Larrabee
Senior Legislative Assistant
Congressman John Doolittle's Office

Susan Lien Longville
Council Member
City of San Bernardino

Wesley Lujan
Legislative Advocate
Advocations Inc.

Carlos A. Michelon
Associate Engineer
MWD of Southern California

Mary M. Paasch
Water Resources Engineer

Bruce Rolen
Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District

Chris Tapio
Legislative Assistant
Assemblymember John Dutra

Mark R. Tompkins
Water Resources Engineer

Peter L. Yolles
The Nature Conservancy

Each class begins with a one-day orientation in January.


Alvin Bautista
Water Resources Engineer
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Valerie Calegari
Field Representative
The Nature Conservancy

Richard Cummings

Torri Jon Estrada

Mike Fuller

Andy Funchess

Chris S. Gaido

David Gershwin
Communications Deputy
City of Los Angeles

Mark Graham
Supervising Engineer

Kimberley M. Knox
Water Conservation Administrator
San Francisco Water Department

Corinna Lu
Wetlands Biologist
USGS, Humboldt State University Foundation

Anjanette M. Martin
General Manager
Colusa Basin Drainage District

Amelia Minaberrigarai
Assistant General Counsel
Kern County water Agency

Alfred E. Smith, II
Nossaman, Guthner, Knox & Elliott, LLP

Maria C. Solis

Mike Urkov
Project Manager
CH2M Hill


Ann Grether DeMartini

Stephen M. Fischer

Sarah Holmgren
Senior Environmental Scientist

Margie Lannom Wheeler
Unit Manager
MWD of Southern California

Lisa Lawson Murphy

Scott Morris
Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard

Julio Sanchez

Alysia Sklavounos

Richard (Rick) John Strobel

Wendy Turner

Each class is required to produce a year-end report on a certain water research topic.

The Foundation began the Water Leaders Program in 1997.


Luis Manuel Arteaga
Senior Policy Analyst
Latino Issues Forum

Peter L. Candy
Hollister and Brace

Edgar G. Dymally
Senior Environmental Specialist
MWD of Southern California

Marco A. Firebaugh

Erick H. Johnson

Denise L. Kruger
Vice President
Southern California Water Company

Patricia "Patty" Logoluso

Jag B. Salgaonkar
Manager Water/Wastewater Reclamation Engineer/Marketing
CH2M Hill

Fiona M. Sanchez
Diverse Corporation/CTSI

Kelly M. Tennis Doornbos

Arlene K. Wong

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