Young Professionals Summit

Thank you to everyone that joined us for this memorable event!  I hope you made new friends, learned new things you can take to your current roles and to growing your careers. 

Check back for news on 2024 YP Summit. 

And special thanks to all our sponsors!


Sponsor Opportunities

Email to express your interest.

Support the future of water! The Young Professionals Summit offers a variety of sponsorship opportunities to enhance your company's impact and visibility throughout the conference. 

Co-hosted by AWWA and WEF, The YP Summit is the premier water and wastewater industry workshop for young professionals. 

Show your support of these future industry leaders by taking advantage of the sponsorship opportunities listed below. Being a conference sponsor is a great way to leverage your presence at the conference, increase your brand awareness, and put your organization’s name in front of these up and coming YPs! 


YP Summit attendees will learn about emerging issues in our industry and connect with a diverse group of water industry peers. The program is intended to challenge attendees to think critically about our industry (present and future) and to establish lasting connections with peers. Where else can you find so many professionals facing the same issues as your organization and learn how others are addressing those challenges? Are there solutions you’re not aware of? 

The Justification Letter has several tips to guide you in your request for approval to attend YP Summit.

Check back for the 2024 Justification Letter


Stay tuned for 2024 speaker line-up.



The theme for YP Summit 2023 is The Future of Our Water 

This year’s Young Professionals Summit will focus on the future of our water. We will explore current industry trends and how young professionals can take ownership in the direction we want the water sector to move, reflecting on what we want to accomplish, the innovation that will lead us there, and what levers exist to create change. 

Speaker Line-Up

Mark Knudson

Strategies for Enhancing the Effectiveness of Water Professionals 

Mark will share observations, insights, and strategies for tackling some of the significant challenges facing the water industry. Mark’s thoughtful perspectives and inspiring stories are drawn from his 40-year career in the water industry and are sure to help enhance the effectiveness of water professionals. 

Mark has over 40 years of experience in the water industry, working from an entry level operator at a wastewater treatment plant to eventually becoming the CEO of the Tualatin Valley Water District, the second largest water utility in Oregon. Along the way, Mark worked for the Portland Water Bureau, Carollo Engineers, and TVWD.  

Mae Stevens 

Senior Vice President and Chair of the Banner Water Infrastructure Practice 

Mae provides strategic environmental and infrastructure policy expertise to a diverse range of corporate, municipal and nonprofit clients. Prior to leaving Capitol Hill, she served as Environmental Policy Advisor to Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), handling the Senator’s responsibilities as the top Democrat on the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, including serving as the lead staffer on key legislation including the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016 – the federal response to the Flint water crisis – and America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018 – the most consequential revisions to Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) since 1996. 

Adam Tank 

Adam Tank is a sustainability driven entrepreneur and public speaker whose career has spanned leadership roles in Fortune 100 companies, international small businesses, and venture capital backed technology startups. He currently serves as the Chief Customer Officer of Transcend, a VC-backed generative design SaaS startup. Their software enables capital planners, project developers, and engineering professionals to rapidly generate preliminary engineering designs for critical infrastructure, including a variety of water and power assets. 

Lauryn Magno

As an early environmental policy professional, Lauryn centers her work around innovative environmental policy development and community-centered decision-making. As a Water Policy Associate at EPIC, Lauryn focuses on the equitable allocation of federal water infrastructure funds and increasing disadvantaged communities’ capacity to develop more sustainable water infrastructure projects. She previously served as an intern and fellow at EPIC where she worked on water affordability and federal water policy. Prior to her work at EPIC, Lauryn interned for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Embassy of Suva, Fiji where she conducted research on WASH initiatives and coastal management practices in the face of climate change, and Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). She holds a Bachelors or Arts in International Relations from Oakland University. 


Robert Cheng, PhD, PE 

Cheng is the Assistant General Manager at the Coachella Valley Water District (Coachella, CA), where he has served since 2013.  In this role, Cheng helps to manage a staff of nearly 570 employees, and represents the organization on imported water contract discussions.  In this role, Cheng holds board positions on various organizations related to the California State Project Water and serves as a principal negotiator for CVWD on Colorado River discussions. 

Cheng has worked in the public water sector for over three decades, where he has served in various technical and management positions at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Long Beach Water Department.  He has a strong water quality and operations background, having conducted studies in support of a number of federal drinking water regulations and managing the largest federally-funded seawater desalination research program in the US. 

Cheng is actively involved in various water-industry volunteer activities with the American Water Works Association (including serving on their Board of Directors and as a member of the AWWA Journal editorial board).  Cheng previously served as an appointed member of the California Drinking Water Operator Certification Board. 

Cheng is a graduate from Vanderbilt University with a BE and MS in Chemical Engineering, and PhD in Civil Engineering from UCLA.  He is a CA registered professional engineer, registered professional operator, and has CA drinking water T5 and D5 certifications. 

Reena Thomas

Reena Thomas is an Associate Civil Engineer with the East Bay Municipal Utility District Office.  Reena has been working at EBMUD for the past five years in the Office of Water Recycling, providing project management and engineering planning expertise for the District’s recycled water program.  Prior to her work at EBMUD, Reena worked as an engineering consultant providing water, wastewater, and recycled water planning, design, and construction management for private developments and public agencies throughout California.  She currently serves as co-chair of the Bay Area Clean Water Association Recycled Water Committee.  Reena is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley. 

EBMUD has been producing and using recycled water for over 40 years.  The District’s goal is to be able to provide 20 millions gallons per day of recycled water by the year 2040 to broaden its water supply portfolio.  This presentation will provide an overview of the District’s existing recycled water program, and its future plans to meet its goals.   Participants will gain an understanding of the challenges to the program implementation and operations, as well as potential program opportunities. 

2023 Utility Young Professional Scholarship

2022 Student YP Recipients

Thanks to all who applied for the Water Equation YP Summit Utility Scholarship!

AWWA’s Water Equation is pleased to announce the award of YP Summit scholarships to twelve young professionals working in utilities.  This is a $15,000 investment in the water workforce!



Chareen Hsai


Cody Weddon


Courtney Trivett

West Virginia

Michael Fontanez


Michael Miller


Nicole Barber


Nicole Martindale


Skylar Reed


Terrian Tyler


Tigist Yedako



Congrats YPs! We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Check back for 2024 YP Leader Training Day information.

2023 - Past YP Leader Training Day 

AWWA’s YP Leader Training is geared to all young professionals and students in water-related roles that are interested in investing in their careers by learning more about AWWA programs, engagement opportunities, and networking with the industry leaders. Students and YPs will have the opportunity to meet AWWA leadership and fellow YP leaders, cultivate leadership skills, gain some soft skills, and have discussion among peers about the issues we face in the water industry.  This event is free to young professionals and students that register for YP Summit.

Monday, March 27th - Start time is TBD - however lunch is provided. YP Summit Welcome Reception begins right after this event.

Registration for YP Leader Training Day is included in the YP Summit Registration.



11:00am: Registration / Check-in

11:30am: Kickoff Lunch Reception

12:00pm: Welcome & AWWA Overview

12:20pm: Your Personal Marketing Plan

1:50pm:  Break

2:00pm: Transformative Water Leadership Academy

3:30pm: Snack Break

3:45pm: Section Sharing

4:15pm: Table Topics

5:00pm: Recap - Cliff Notes for your Section Board or Employer

5:05pm: Remarks

5:15pm: Closing Comments & Adjourn

6:00pm - 9:00pm -   AWWA/WEF YP Summit Welcome Reception - Coin-Op Game Room, 908 K Street



Stay tuned for 2024 YP Summit Agenda




2023 WEF/AWWA YP Summit Program

Date: March 28, 2022

8:00AM-8:30AM                Morning Coffee & Networking

8:30AM-8:45AM                Icebreaker Activity

8:45AM-9:00AM                Welcome/Introductions

9:00AM-9:05AM                Social Media Contest Kick-Off

9:05AM – 9:15AM             Recognition for Utility Scholarship Winners

9:15AM-10:00AM              Strategies for Enhanced Effectiveness of Water Professionals

Speaker:               Mark Knudsen


10:00AM-10:15AM            Break

10:15AM-11:15AM            Young Water Leaders: Shaping a Resilient Future

Speaker :             Mae Stevens

11:15AM-12:00PM            Policy and Innovation for the Environment

                                           Speaker:               Lauryn Magno

12:00PM-1:00PM              Lunch

1:00PM-1:10PM                Platinum Sponsor Spotlight: Kennedy Jenks

1:10PM-1:40PM                AWWA & WEF Leadership Remarks

1:40PM-2:45 PM                OneWater Utility Spotlights


Spotlight 1: EBMUD’s Recycled Water Program

Speaker:               Reena Thomas,

Facility:                East Bay Municipal Utility District

Spotlight 2: The World of OneWater, Where Do I Fit In?

Speaker:               Robert Cheng

Facility:                Coachella Valley Water District

2:45PM-3:00PM                Break

3:00PM-4:15PM                Looking to Lead? Don't be Imitative. Be Innovative

Speaker:               Adam Tank

4:15PM-4:35PM                Closing Remarks


4:35PM-4:45PM                Group Photo

6:00PM-8:00PM                YP Summit Networking Reception