Speakers for the 2018 SGV Water Forum

In alphabetical order:

Stephen Arakawa
Bay Delta Initiative Manager
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Stephen Arakawa, manager of the Bay-Delta Initiatives Program at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, has a background of 30 years working in the water field as a civil engineer.

At Metropolitan he is responsible for the plans and activities to secure a reliable supply from the state water project through environmental and water supply improvements in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. A key initiative within the program is completion of a Bay-Delta Conservation Plan which entails the environmental review, permitting and preliminary design for both environmental restoration of the Delta and an improved water delivery system in the Delta.

Prior to that he served as group manager of the Water Resource Management Group for over 10 years where he was responsible for managing the district’s planning activities and policy guideline development related to Metropolitan’s water supply plans and integrated resources plans; the development and implementation of Metropolitan’s resources programs for conservation, local resources projects, and groundwater recovery and conjunctive use programs; and the management and negotiations of resource contracts related to the State Water Project, Colorado River deliveries and water transfers and purchases.

Before coming to Metropolitan in 1987, Arakawa worked for the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in Sacramento for seven years. For DWR he conducted studies regarding the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. He is a registered engineer in California. He is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a degree in civil engineering.


David Biggar
Meteorologist, NBC4 Southern California

David Biggar is a meteorologist for NBC4 Southern California. He can be seen during NBC4 News at 11 a.m. and the weekend morning news “Today in L.A.”

Passionate about meteorology from a young age, Biggar brings a natural enthusiasm for reporting weather conditions for the widely divergent micro-climates of Southern California. Though “atmospheric measurement” and “remote sensing” may not be in everyone’s vocabulary, Biggar thrives on all climate components and dynamics to dive deep in his weathercasts.

A resident of California from an early age, he began his career as an intern at KCRA in Sacramento. He quickly moved up from rendering graphics to anchoring the weekday noon and weekend morning newscasts. In 2014, Biggar earned an Emmy award for anchoring the station’s weather.

No stranger to drastic weather conditions, Biggar also reported on major events, such as East Coast blizzards, and has tracked national storms in Oklahoma.

A graduate of the University of California at Davis, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Science and is a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist.

When he’s not reporting weather conditions, Biggar follows all forms of racing, from NASCAR to Formula 1 and is a licensed racecar driver. He is also an aviation and flight simulator enthusiast.

Biggar was born in South Salem, New York and currently lives in Los Angeles.

Caitrin Chappelle
Associate Center Director Water Policy Center, Public Policy Institute of California

Caitrin Chappelle is associate director at the PPIC Water Policy Center, where she manages research and operations. Her own research focuses on natural resource management and California water policy. She has co-authored work on the statewide drought, funding gaps in water management, and multiple ecosystem stressors in the Sacramento¬–San Joaquin Delta.

Previously, she worked for the U.S. Geological Survey. She holds an MPP from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley and a BS in ecology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Oliver Chi
City Manager, City of Monrovia

Oliver has over seventeen years of extensive government experience at both the state and local level. Most recently, he was appointed to serve the City of Monrovia as City Manager on October 13, 2014. Prior to that, he held a variety of management and staff positions with the cities of Barstow, Rosemead, Claremont, and Arcadia.

Oliver has extensive experience in a variety of municipal disciplines, including economic development, human resources management, budgeting, and intergovernmental relations. In addition, his background includes research and implementation of performance measurement and benchmarking initiatives, process improvement, teambuilding, strategic planning and organizational development.

During his career, Oliver has served in number of leadership positions for a variety of local government related associations. In 2004, he was elected president of the Municipal Management Association of Southern California. He has also been a board member for the California City Management Foundation, assisted the Cal-ICMA Preparing the Next Generation initiative, and participated in the Alliance for Innovation. He currently serves as a Board Member on the Institute for Local Government, an organization dedicated to the advancement of innovative best practices for municipal agencies.

As an active member of ICMA, Oliver authored the March 2004 cover story for Public Management, titled “Rising from the Ashes: Lessons Learned from the Southern California Wildfires of 2003.” He has also served as a speaker at numerous local government workshops and conferences.

Oliver, who is an Eagle Scout, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. He also holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.

Belinda Faustinos
Executive Director, Nature for All

Belinda Faustinos is the Executive Director of Nature for All. Prior, Belinda served as the Executive Officer of the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC). She was also the Executive Officer of three joint powers entities: the Watershed Conservation Authority, the San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority and the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority. She retired from these positions in May of 2011 after 40 years as a California State employee. A native of Southern California, Belinda was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Pitzer College.

Patrick Healy
General Assignment Reporter, NBC4 Southern California

Patrick Healy is a general assignment reporter for NBC4 Southern California. Since joining NBC4 in 1984, Healy’s been an iconic figure on the NBC4 weekly newscasts. He can been seen on the NBC4 News at 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. His most recent news stories can be viewed here.

Known for his journalistic consistency and integrity, Healy is a dominant force in breaking news and reporting issues of consequence. He is experienced at covering the legal system, and has reported gavel-to-gavel a number of high-profile court cases, dating back to the controversial trial that acquitted four police officers of excessive force in the landmark Rodney King case. He was the lead reporter on the Bryan Stow beating case and trial of his attackers, the trial of Conrad Murray, MD, as well as the student molestation case involving former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt.

Healy was the first reporter in the country to break the news about secret tapes made by Charles Manson follower Charles “Tex” Watson and the efforts of the Los Angeles Police Department to obtain them. The story became national news. Healy is also particularly proud of his “Life Connected” segment that profiled veterans with post traumatic stress disorder assembling sensors intended to help reduce traumatic brain injuries among soldiers currently serving in combat areas.

Healy has won a number of honors for his exceptional reporting. He was part of an NBC4 team that won the 2012 Golden Mike for best spot news reporting of the situation surrounding Los Angeles Unified Police Officer Jeffery Stenrous. He has been honored twice by the Los Angeles Press Club for outstanding hard news reporting, won an additional Golden Mike for best spot news coverage and a local Emmy for the arrest of the infamous “Night Stalker” suspect. He also received an Associated Press (AP) Award for best news writing and two AP Certificates for best miniseries and best spot news. Most recently he was honored with a John Swett Award for his “Teacher Jail” investigation that exposed shortcomings in the school district process for handling allegations of teacher misconduct.

Healy graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, which he credits for helping him grasp the scientific and mathematical elements of stories he’s encountered over the years. It was at UCLA that he developed a passion for reporting, holding a series of positions at the Daily Bruin Newspaper, working at KLAC Radio and interning for the Los Angeles Times. He began his career in broadcasting at KTTV as a writer/producer.

An avid mountain biker and distance runner, Healy regularly emcees at local charitable and community events. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their two daughters.

Rich Nagel
Vice President, Los Angeles Office CH2M

Rich Nagel recently joined CH2M (now Jacobs) and serves as Vice President in the Los Angeles office. Prior to joining CH2M, Rich has 31 years of experience in public service with water utilities, most recently as General Manager of the West Basin Municipal Water District (WBMWD) from 2006 to 2017. Under his guidance, WBMWD obtained the first permit in California to deliver 100% indirect potable reuse water to the Water Replenishment District of Southern California and injected by Los Angeles County Department of Public works into West Coast Basin Barrier Injection Well System. Rich currently serves as a President of the California WateReuse Association and Vice Chair of the Urban Water Institute.

Jennifer Pierre
General Manager, State Water Contractors (SWC)

Jennifer Pierre is the General Manager, overseeing implementing the SWCs objectives and overall operations. She and her staff work to provide technical, legal, and scientific support to the SWC members to ensure a sustainable water supply from the State Water Project. Ms. Pierre has over 15 years of experience with Delta management including but not limited to restoration planning, operations criteria development and regulatory compliance. She leads SWC’s participation in guiding and developing the framework for the state’s management of water supply and ecological issues within the Delta. Additionally, Pierre manages coordination with the CA Department of Water Resources regarding statewide water supply management, and the programs, policies and regulations affecting SWP.

Renee Purdy
Assistant Executive Officer, Regional Water Quality Control Board

Renee Purdy is the Assistant Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which is part of CalEPA. In her position, she oversees surface water and groundwater permitting programs, including the MS4 stormwater permitting program, as well as the TMDL, water quality standards and basin planning programs. She provides executive leadership for the State Water Board’s Strategy to Optimize Resource Management of Stormwater (STORMS) and was responsible for updating the LA County MS4 Permit in 2012, including incorporating new provisions to implement TMDLs, and led the effort to establish the new paradigm for permit implementation through Watershed Management programs. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of William and Mary and a Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Curt Schmutte
Consultant, Retired Delta Water Manager

For three decades, Curt Schmutte has led multiple programs and projects involving the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and Suisun Marsh, including levee improvement programs, land subsidence research, seismic risk analyses, dredged material reuse projects, water quality studies, wetlands restoration projects and serving as an expert witness. Mr Schmutte has vast experience implementing seismic flood risk mitigation strategies, giving presentations, leading tours, assisting with legislative and policy strategies, planning emergency actions to protect Delta smelt and salmon and advancing new conceptual water conveyance alternatives. As a consultant to MWD and the State and Federal Contractors Water Agency, he has managed large-scale ecosystem restoration projects, facilitated land acquisition, analyzed and designed alternatives for the Yolo Bypass BiOp project.

Deven Upadhyay
Assistant General Manager, Chief Operating Officer Metropolitan Water District

Deven Upadhyay is the Assistant General Manager and Chief Operating Officer for Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is responsible for managing the operational business functions of the district, which include system operations, engineering, planning and water resources management. In this position, one of his primary duties is to implement the Chief Executive Officer’s Business Plan and initiatives, as well as, to oversee the application and operational practice of the Board’s policies and directives.

Upadhyay began his career with Metropolitan in 1995 as a resource specialist in the Planning and Resources Division. In 2005 he left Metropolitan to work for the Municipal Water District of Orange County on water policy issues. In 2008, he returned to Metropolitan as the Budget and Financial Planning Section Manager before becoming Group Manager for Water Resources Management in 2010.

An avid tennis player and a devoted Angel’s baseball fan, Upadhyay earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from California State University, Fullerton and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of La Verne.

Tony Zampiello
Executive Officer Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster
Executive Officer – Raymond Basin Management Board

As Executive Officer for the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster and Raymond Basin Management Board, Mr. Zampiello answers directly to the Board of Directors and oversees groundwater quality and supply management activities as well as administration of the Basin’s groundwater adjudication. He directs staff functions associated with basin management as it directly relates to groundwater production, well construction, groundwater treatment and resource planning.

Mr. Zampiello was appointed to the position of Executive Officer for the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster in 2012 and to Raymond Basin Management Board in 2002. Including his time with Watermaster, Mr. Zampiello has more than thirty years of water management and resource planning experience in the San Gabriel Valley with local Municipalities and Special Districts. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and is certified by the State of California as a Water Treatment Operator and Water Distribution Operator.

Mr. Zampiello is currently President of The Association of Ground Water Agencies (AGWA) and currently serves on the Greater Los Angeles IRWMP as Water Management Area Representative for Groundwater. He is also the Executive Secretary for the San Gabriel Valley Water Association and Central Basin Water Association, and Secretary/Treasurer for the California Groundwater Coalition.