NAWC - National Association of Water Companies


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Our Team

Robert F. Powelson
President and Chief Executive Officer


Robert F. Powelson is the president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC).

Prior to joining NAWC, he served as a Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner. Powelson was nominated to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by President Donald J. Trump in May 2017, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 4, 2017.

Commissioner Powelson came to FERC from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, where he served since June 2008, and led as Chairman from February 24, 2011-May 7, 2015. Under Commissioner Powelson's leadership, Pennsylvania ratepayers have had an active voice on issues such as nuclear power production, renewable investment, broadband deployment, infrastructure development, unaccounted-for water and cyber security.

In 2011, Commissioner Powelson served on Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, which reviewed the Commonwealth’s existing statutes, regulations and policies and provided recommendations to develop a comprehensive strategic proposal for the responsible and environmentally sound development of Marcellus Shale.

Powelson is past president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, where he also was a member of the Board of Directors. He served as chairman of the NARUC Committee on Water and represented the Water Committee on NARUC’s Task Force on Climate Policy. He was active in NARUC activities involving critical infrastructure and nuclear waste disposal. Commissioner Powelson worked very closely with NARUC leadership on aggressive pipeline safety standards with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Prior to joining the Pennsylvania PUC, Powelson served as president of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. In 2005, he was selected by the Eisenhower Presidential Fellows to be a U.S. fellow in Singapore and Australia. His previous employment includes service as the director of Government Relations for the Delaware County Chamber and staff assistant to former Congressman Curt Weldon.

A native of Pennsylvania, Powelson is a graduate of St. Joseph’s University and received a Master of Governmental Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Vice President of Legal and State Regulatory Policy
Ballou brings to NAWC deep experience in utility regulation, previously serving as a legal advisor to NAWC CEO and President Robert Powelson while he was a Commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Ballou began her legal career as an Attorney-Advisor in the Energy Markets Division of FERC’s Office of the General Counsel. In addition to her experience at the federal level, Ballou possesses extensive knowledge of state utility issues from her time at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PAPUC) where she worked on a variety of regulatory matters under then-Chairman Powelson's leadership. Ballou co-authored a number of National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Water Committee resolutions and was involved in the implementation of Act 11 of 2012, which among other things, permitted combined revenue requirements for water and wastewater utilities. Ballou has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Washington & Lee University School of Law.


Michael J. Horner

Michael J. Horner
Director of Administration and Membership

Mike Horner has worked for the NAWC for more than 20 years and is our Director of Administration and Membership. Mike has had a variety of duties over the years, ranging from publishing a quarterly magazine and planning events to managing the organization's finances.

Prior to joining the organization, he worked for the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and Bachner Communications, a public relations firm specializing in association management. Mike is a native of Washington, DC, and a graduate of the University of Virginia. He serves as a Chief Election Officer in Arlington, VA, and is an avid dog owner, softball player and drummer.

Executive Vice President of Strategy & External Affairs
Rikardo Hull, Esq., brings an extensive working knowledge of state public utility law and a firm understanding of the state legislative compact. He carries a wealth of legislative and legal experience to his new role, helping the organization embark on an aggressive state legislative strategy. Hull previously served as a senior policy advisor to FERC Commissioner Rob Powelson where he provided legal, policy and strategic guidance on issues related to the Commission’s oversight of wholesale energy markets, natural gas pipeline siting and oil pipeline rates until Powelson’s departure to join NAWC in August 2018. Prior to that, he served as Chief Counsel to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman. Hull spent nearly a decade at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), serving in the Commission’s Law Bureau before being hired by then-Commissioner Powelson, appointed in June 2008, as his lead counsel. Mr. Hull advised Powelson on all major legal and policy issues before the Commission, notably during his tenure as Chairman from 2011 to 2015. Mr. Hull played a key role in helping to develop Pennsylvania’s markedly successful water regulatory climate. Mr. Hull earned his bachelor’s degree at Millersville University of Pennsylvania before graduating as valedictorian from Widener University School of Law.

 

Marybeth LeonginiMarybeth Leongini
Director of Communications   

Marybeth is responsible for the external positioning and overall communications strategy for NAWC. She brings over fifteen years of experience in marketing and public relations to the team. Throughout her career she has worked on behalf of a wide range of industries including health care, financial services, transportation and manufacturing.

Her most recent position prior to joining NAWC was serving as vice president, communications and marketing for the Consumer Bankers Association where she oversaw all marketing and public relations initiatives. During her tenure with CBA, her media relations efforts centered on proactively positioning and raising the profile of CBA, CBA’s leadership and key events and programs.

She also has the unique experience of having worked on the agency side of the business where she was responsible for developing and implementing strategic communication plans for B2B clients as well as new client acquisition. Marybeth holds a bachelor's degree from Belmont Abbey College and a master's degree in mass communications/public relations from the University of South Carolina. She currently resides in Alexandria, VA.

Jean Smith

Jean Smith
Executive Assistant

Jean Smith is executive assistant to the President & CEO and provides overall office and administrative support to our entire team. Jean has extensive senior management support experience specific to the unique needs of associations, including serving as Senior Coordinator, Communications and Government Relations at the National Association of Manufacturers and as Executive Assistant and Office Manager with the American Public Works Association.




Colleen Newman

Colleen Newman
Director, Government Relations

Colleen Newman has worked on energy and environmental policy issues in both the public and private sectors for over 24 years. She served as a policy advisor to Puerto Rico’s former Governor Luis Fortuño in Washington D.C. In that role, she worked with government officials in Puerto Rico to develop strategies to diversify Puerto Rico’s

energy generation mix from diesel and bunker fuels to cleaner and cheaper sources of energy such as natural gas, solar and wind technologies. In addition, she worked closely with various federal agencies to obtain funding and technical support for infrastructure projects on the island. 

Prior to joining the Governor’s office, she worked for Congressman Fortuño on the Hill and advised him on energy, natural resources, and agriculture issues. Ms. Newman has also spent several years working in the private sector. Prior to joining NAWC, she served as the principal liaison to Capitol Hill for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. She also held legislative and regulatory policy roles with the law firm of Brickfield, Burchette, Ritts and Stone, P.C. and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.
Ms. Newman has a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD and a M.A. in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia.



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