Speakers for the 2018 SGV Water Forum will be announced soon.

Below are the 2016 SGV Water Forum speakers:

In alphabetical order:


Stephen Arakawa
Manager, Bay-Delta Initiatives

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 been 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.


William Blomquist
Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

William Blomquist is Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). During Fall Quarter 2016, he is a Landreth Visiting Fellow in the Water in the West program at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment. His research interests concern governmental organization and public policy, with a specialization in the field of water institutions and water management. His publications include four books– Embracing Watershed Politics (2008) with Edella Schlager, Integrated River Basin Management through Decentralization (2006) with Karin Kemper and Ariel Dinar, Common Waters, Common Streams (2004) with Edella Schlager and Tanya Heikkila, and Dividing the Waters (1992). He is also a member of the editorial board of Policy Studies Journal, an Associate Editor of the journal Water Resources Research, and a member of the board of directors of the White River Alliance.


Shane Chapman
General Manager, Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District

Mr. Shane Chapman is the General Manager of the Upper District, one of the twenty-six member-agencies that comprise the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). For nineteen years prior to assuming his role at Upper District, Mr. Chapman held various management positions at the Metropolitan Water District, including his most recent role as the Assistant Manager of Water System Operations. While serving in this position, Mr. Chapman was responsible for the overall operations regarding the Colorado River Aqueduct and distribution system; five treatment plants; the oversight of its environmental health and safety, fleet operations, emergency management and security. Mr. Chapman’s experience in water resources management includes system operations, capital project development and finance, as well as both strategic and resources planning. Mr. Chapman is a former member of the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Rates and Charges Committee, and serves as a board member to both the Urban Water Institute and the California Utility Emergency Association. Mr. Chapman holds a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, Price School of Public Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Claremont McKenna College. Shane is a lifelong resident of the greater San Gabriel Valley, where he continues to live today with his wife and two children.


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.


John Gillett
Energy Inspectors

Mr. Gillett has worked for 14 years at Energy Inspectors helping to build the companies operational capacities across 5 western states. Over that time period, the company has provided 3rd party inspection services for over 200,000 production homes.

With a focus on energy efficiency, water conservation and sustainable consulting, the company now works with 18 of the top 20 homebuilders in one or more of their markets throughout the United States. Currently employing over 120 personnel, Energy Inspectors has grown to become one of the preeminent building science consulting firms in the nation under Mr. Gillett’s stewardship.


Brandon Goshi
Manager of Water Policy and Strategy Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Brandon Goshi is the Manager of Water Policy and Strategy at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. His expertise is in long-term strategy and defining approaches to maintain reliable water supplies for Southern California in the face of growing challenges and uncertainties. With Metropolitan for more than twenty years, Brandon now leads a team responsible for the planning and analysis of water supply, demand and storage portfolio. He oversees development of regionally-based water resource programs, policies and strategies for Metropolitan’s 5,200 square-mile service area with a population of nearly 19 million. Brandon has played a key role in the development of many of Metropolitan’s strategic policies, outlined in the Integrated Resources Plan, Regional Urban Water Management Plan, Water Surplus and Drought Management Plan, and Water Supply Allocation Plan.


Mark Grey, Ph.D.
Director of Environmental Affairs and Technical Director Building Industry Association of Southern California Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality

Mark Grey is the Director of Environmental Affairs for the Building Industry Association of Southern California (BIA/SC) and the Technical Director for the Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality (CICWQ). In these roles, Dr. Grey directs education, research and advocacy programs on behalf of the building industry in California, primarily focusing on water quality issues. Dr. Grey has worked in the fields of water and air quality research and regulatory affairs for the past 30 years in the Pacific Northwest and California. Before joining BIA/SC and directing CICWQ, Dr. Grey operated his own consulting practice and was the Director of Technical Services for Synagro Technologies, Inc., the nation’s largest organic waste recycler. Dr. Grey holds a Ph.D. in Soil Chemistry and M.S. in Forest Ecosystem Analysis from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA and a B.A. in English from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA.


David Gutierrez
California Department of Water Resources

David Gutierrez is currently the Executive Program Manager for the Groundwater Sustainability Program and Chief of the Division of Safety of Dams within the Department of Water Resources. He has worked for the Department in several capacities over the past 35 years including the Deputy Director for Public Safety and the Deputy Director for Business Operations. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering and Master of Science Degree specializing in Geotechnical Engineering from California State University, Sacramento. He is a registered professional civil and geotechnical engineer.

Robert Harding
System and Resource Analysis Unit Manager
Water Resource Management Group The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Robert Harding is the Unit Manager of the System and Resource Analysis Units in the Water Resources Management Group at The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is responsible for the development of long-term facilities and water resources plans, including Metropolitan’s Integrated Water Resource Plan (IRP) and Integrated Area Study (IAS). Robert is also Metropolitan’s Seawater Desalination Program Manager and the Treasurer for CalDesal. Robert has been at Metropolitan for more than 29 years. He worked in the Engineering Section for two years before transferring to Water Resources Management. Robert worked on developing water transfers and groundwater storage programs in California’s Central Valley before becoming the System and Resource Analysis Unit Manager. Robert has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in business administration from Pepperdine University.


Dominique Hargreaves
Executive Director, U.S. Green Building Council- LA Chapter (USGBC-LA)

Dominique Hargreaves joined the U.S. Green Building Council- LA Chapter (USGBC-LA) in 2008 as the Events Chair while working for a real estate development company in Downtown Los Angeles, and she has served as USGBC-LA’s Education & Program Manager, and now as Executive Director. During her tenure she has doubled its membership, broadened its influence, and cemented its role as a leadership voice in the global sustainability movement.

USGBC-LA’s LEED green building program has been the cornerstone of Dominique’s efforts. Since its national launch more than 2,000 local commercial and residential projects participate in LEED. Nearly 3,000 LEED professional credential holders are engaged in advancing this global movement.

The scope of work at USGBC-LA reaches beyond LEED to include a robust network, participation in the Center for Green Schools, the Center for Green Building and Human Health, and the development and deployment of a variety of technology platforms.


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.


Steve Johnson, P.E.
President, Stetson Engineers, Inc.

Mr. Johnson, Corporate President/CEO and a principal of Stetson Engineers Inc., is the supervising engineer in charge of the Covina office, and has been with Stetson since 1977. Mr. Johnson supervises, directs, or performs in a wide variety of projects. Mr. Johnson has been involved in a multitude of studies and projects and maintains close contact with all active clients, attending meetings regularly for the public clients. He has been involved in water treatment design, water system master plans, water system analyses, water rights quantification and analysis, supplemental water requirement studies, alternative water supply studies, annual reports, water quality monitoring reports, groundwater management studies, and project feasibility studies. Mr. Johnson has extensive experience with municipal and water district level issues, having been working directly as District Engineer for the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster and for several watersheds in southern California on such matters as water supply, water quality, management, and financing.

Mr. Johnson was named and continues to perform as the Project Manager for the entire Baldwin Park Operable Unit (BPOU) groundwater contamination remedy. This assignment includes four (4) central treatment projects (including ion exchange), wells, booster stations, and pipelines. Full treatment plant design, integration and controls are included, along with full regulatory permitting. Three treatment facilities produce nearly 7,800 gpm each, and one plant produces 2,500 gpm. The budget for this work is nearly $150 million.


Jeffrey Kightlinger
General Manager, CEO, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Jeffrey Kightlinger is general manager and chief executive officer for The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The Metropolitan Water District is the largest municipal water provider in the nation delivering an average of over 2 billion gallons of water a day to 19 million customers across Southern California. Metropolitan serves one out of every two Californians in the six counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura. Kightlinger was appointed general manager in February 2006. As general manager, he manages the District’s $1.8 billion annual budget and 1,800 employees to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of high quality water every day throughout Southern California. He reports to a board of 37 members representing 26 member agencies. Kightlinger has an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from Santa Clara University. He serves on a number of boards including the Coro Foundation, the USC Price School of Public Policy, the UCLA Sustainability Advisory Board, the Climate Action Reserve, the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, the Los Angeles Economic Development Council and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, among others.


Cindy Montanez
Chief Executive Officer, TreePeople

Cindy Montanez is Chief Executive Officer of TreePeople, a leading California nonprofit creating climate-resilient and water-secure communities. Prior to joining TreePeople, Cindy was Assistant General Manager at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest publically-owned electric utility and Founder and President of a full-service government relations and public relations firm that provides a diverse set of clients with sophisticated government relations, strategic planning, coalition-building, policy insight, political intelligence and communications expertise. Her clients included the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Sempra Energy, a fortune 500 energy company; local nonprofits such as the Center for Public Health Advocacy and various local organizations and private entities who need representation before federal, state and local jurisdictions. Cindy was the youngest woman ever elected to the California State Legislature where she played a key leadership role as the Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee and Chair of the Select Committee on Environmental Justice. In addition, Cindy served on the Judiciary, Natural Resources, Budget, Utilities & Commerce, Banking & Finance Committee, and Health Committees. Cindy has been deeply engaged in policies relating to climate change, environmental justice, local water supply, urban greening, renewable energy, transportation, modernizing education facilities and consumer issues. Prior to being elected to the State Assembly, Cindy was elected councilmember and Mayor of her hometown of San Fernando. Cindy currently serves on the board of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and is a Legislator-in-Residence at the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.


Jeff Nordschow
Senior Vice President Rose Hills Cemetery

Jeff Nordschow has held many positions within Rose Hills starting with a finance and accounting role in 1997 to currently serving as Senior Vice President of Operations. In this capacity, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the largest memorial park in North America including mortuary and cemetery operations and the development and maintenance of the 1,500 acre memorial park. Prior to joining Rose Hills, Mr. Nordschow held various accounting and finance positions at Baskin-Robbins and American Restaurant Group. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of California (inactive).


Jim Peifer
Government Affairs, City of Sacramento Department of Utilities

Jim Peifer currently manages the Government Affairs section of the City of Sacramento Department of Utilities.  Jim has 22 years of combined consulting and public sector experience in water management.  Previous work includes preparing numerous urban water management plans, water supply plans, conservation plans and development of water supply development and water use efficiency programs.   Jim has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Davis and is a registered professional engineer.


Tim Quinn
Executive Director, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

With more than 30 years of experience in California water issues, ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn has helped shape some of the most significant developments in state water policy in recent decades. His involvement in developing ACWA’s Statewide Water Action Plan and the Brown Administration’s California Water Action Plan has helped advance comprehensive solutions to meet the state’s 21st century water needs. Over the course of his career, Quinn has been a leader in many events that have transformed California water management, including passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 and enactment of Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion general obligation water bond overwhelmingly approved by California voters in November 2014. In addition, he played a key role in developing the California Legislature’s historic 2009 comprehensive water package, which ushered in a new era in water policy focused on the coequal goals of improving the state’s water supply reliability and restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem. He also was actively involved in developing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the 2000 CALFED Record of Decision, the 1995 Monterey Agreement, the 1994 Bay-Delta Accord, and the 1991 Governor’s Drought Water Bank. Other accomplishments include successfully negotiating numerous water marketing agreements and legislative initiatives. Prior to joining ACWA as executive director in 2007, Quinn served as deputy general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and represented the district on numerous state and federal water issues during his 22-year tenure. He joined MWD in 1985 as principal economist, and became deputy general manager in 1994. Before coming to MWD, Quinn was a project manager at the RAND Corporation, specializing in research on natural resources and environmental policy issues. He earned a Master’s degree (1976) and PhD (1983) in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Ty Teissere
Greywater Action

Ty Teissere is an ISA Certified Arborist and GWA Certified Greywater Installer. He specializes in holistic fruit tree care, from building the soil life to pruning the canopy, and the irrigation systems in between. Ty installs greywater systems along the Foothills of Los Angeles with Earth Steward Ecology LLC, and offers greywater education through the non-profit organization Greywater Action.


Kathleen J. Tiegs
President, Association of California Water Agencies

Kathleen J. Tiegs was elected to a two-year term as president of the Association of California Water Agencies on Dec. 2, 2015. She assumed the office Jan. 1, 2016. She has served on the Cucamonga Valley Water District Board of Directors since 2005. During her tenure on that board, she has served as board president and vice president. Prior to her board service, she retired from a career in water resource management, working for a wholesale water agency for more than 30 years. During that time, Tiegs was instrumental in establishing the Water Education Water Awareness Committee (WEWAC), a consortium of water agencies promoting the efficient use of water, increasing public awareness, and expanding partnerships with educators to incorporate the conservation message into school curriculum. Tiegs was elected vice president of ACWA in December 2013 after serving a two-year term as vice chair of the Federal Affairs Committee. She has served on the ACWA Local Government Committee as well as the ACWA Region 9 Board of Directors. She also currently serves on the California Special Districts Association Board of Directors and has served on the ACWA/JPIA Board of Directors.