| AWWA Member Spotlight – Harold “Hank” Naughton, Clinton, Mass.
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AWWA Member Spotlight – Harold “Hank” Naughton, Clinton, Mass.

Job title and employer: Partner, Napoli Shkolnik Law PLLC and Executive Director of Napoli’s Veterans Advocacy Project

Political background: Member, Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1995-2021; Chair, Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, 2011-21; Chair, Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, 2009-11; Member, International Security Advisory Board, U.S. State Department, 2011-17

Harold Naughton in AfghanistanMilitary background: U.S. Army veteran, multiple tours and missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and elsewhere; Chief of Rule of Law Operations, 4th Infantry Division, Kandahar, Afghanistan; Counterterrorism Officer, United States Forces-Afghanistan (Pictured in fatigues at far left, Hank participating in a tribal Shura, or court, in the village of Sha Wali Kot in Kandahar, Afghanistan)

Education: B.A., Assumption College; J.D., Suffolk University Law School; U.S. Army Judge Advocate General School, University of Virginia

Law practice focus: Represent water districts, municipalities, counties and other organizations whose water supplies have been negatively impacted by per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) used at airports, military bases and industrial facilities. Our firm has a cost recovery program to assist in reimbursement for remediation.

Harold Naughton speaking at podiumWhat compelled you to become a legislative advocate for environmental and water protection? My father was a working foreman at the water department in my hometown for 40 years. My uncles worked at the local reservoir supplying water to the people of Boston. It made an incredible impact on me to witness their dedication to their jobs, their tremendous work ethic and deep respect and understanding of their jobs, and their commitment to protect the environment and provide clean water. These men, sons of immigrants and veterans themselves, knew the importance to their communities of protecting this resource and doing it right. (Pictured right, Hank at podium thanking the Houston Police for finding Tom Brady's stolen 2017 Super Bowl jersey)

What is a success you’re proud of? Three magnificent sons and one incredible daughter.

How are you continuing this work in your new position? When I meet with local water boards, authorities and commissions, it's like sitting around the supper table when I was growing up. The conversations remind me of the discussions my dad and his buddies had on a daily basis. The problems and crises involved with performing this incredibly important work remain one of the most essential tasks in public service. I am proud to be part of a firm committed to working with these dedicated men and women to continue to provide safe and clean drinking water around the country.

What role do you suggest AWWA take in helping solve the challenges of PFAS in water supplies? I think AWWA should continue its advocacy on behalf of members at the national level, continue to educate on the local level, and help make members aware of the resources that can help, such as Napoli Shkolnik's cost recovery program.

As a veteran, do you see the water sector as offering opportunities for veterans – and vice versa? Veterans bring a very important skill set to any job -- maturity, commitment, respect for the job, and the ability to show up on time and get the job done with a minimum of instruction and oversight. Provision of water services is an often overlooked part of national security and infrastructure. I encourage the water sector to advance a consistent program of reaching out to veterans and perhaps initiate training programs similar to "Helmets to Hardhats" in the construction industry or other various recruiting programs.

Based on your military and political experience, do you believe water utilities should be doing more to address cybersecurity? As the Colonial Pipeline attack recently demonstrated, we are all vulnerable in an increasingly dangerous and unpredictable cyber world. On my last major deployment, I witnessed the danger of this type of "Gray Zone" or "Hybrid" warfare up close. All our major infrastructure providers (energy, water, information) should be constantly updating contingency plans with local and state Homeland Security, Emergency Management and National Guard authorities.

Naughton and kids river raftingTell us about your family and interests: I have three sons, Harrison, 23; Tiernan, 22; and Eamon, 18. My daughter, Clare, is 21. As a family we love all outdoor activities and try to constantly take advantage of the beauty of New England. (Pictured left, Hank and his kids white water rafting on the Kennebec River in Maine)

Anything else you’d like to add? After many years in public office, it's been a true pleasure to recently transition into a firm with a real commitment to doing what's right and making people's lives better. The Napoli Shkolnik team is an incredibly talented and dedicated group, and a fun crowd with some unique senses of humor. They take the work very seriously, but don't take themselves too seriously. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you and AWWA, which also is a great organization.