2021/22 All About Water Presenter Profiles

Omar Muhammad

Omar is from Augusta, GA where he earned his Biology degree from Augusta State University. He currently works for the Department of Natural Resources as a Fisheries Biologist. He is married to Tawana Muhammad for seventeen years with their son, Aamir, where they reside in Charleston, SC. 

 

Omar has worked as a community advocate and activist since 2007 as a volunteer for the Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities (LAMC). He has served as LAMC’s web-site content coordinator and community engagement liaison. Currently, he serves as LAMC’s Executive Director. Omar completed a 9 month training with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) Region IV’s Environmental Justice Academy and was selected Valedictorian for the inaugural class. He is also a past participant in a joint EPA Region IV and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Leaders in Environmental Action Pilot (LEAP) inaugural class. He has successfully led efforts to engage the LAMC communities through various outreach strategies. Omar has successfully funded community research initiatives to train residents, conduct a community-based health survey to assess health service gaps at the community level, conduct a zoning analysis for Environmental Justice communities and several other Citizen Science projects. Omar has been instrumental in leveraging relationships with academics and governmental agencies.

 

Omar has been instrumental in securing mitigation dollars totaling over 4 millions dollars to address quality of life concerns in low-wealth communities. Specifically, he has led efforts to create the only Community Land Trust in the City of North Charleston, negotiated 4 million dollars in mitigation with Palmetto Railways, led an effort to complete the very first Community Benefits Agreement for a local community and a warehouse developer. Omar is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Community and Urban Planning with a policy focus at the College of Charleston to move the LAMC organization into becoming a community developer.

 

Jonathan Nelson

Jonathan Nelson is a Senior Advisor for Technical Assistance and Community Engagement to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox. The Office of Water works to ensure that drinking water is safe, wastewater is safely returned to the environment, and surface waters are properly managed and protected. 

 

Prior to joining EPA, Jonathan served as the Policy Director for the Community Water Center. He is a nationally recognized expert on strategies to secure access to safe and affordable drinking water for underserved communities, building resilient drinking water institutions, and growing trust and partnership with frontline community water leaders.

Monica Daniels

Monica is the Finance Asset Manager for Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) of the City of Detroit. She manages the $400M capital improvement program, planning and financing. She also monitors the construction projects for watermain, sewer line replacement, facility improvements and other capital purchases such as vehicles. Monica was an active leader in the bifurcation of assets and the transition to stand-up Great Lakes Water Authority’s (GLWA), fixed asset and capital program. 

 

She is a native of Chicago area, relocated to Detroit in 1998.  Graduated from University of Missouri-Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She began her career in public accounting as an auditor at KPMG Peat Marwick in Kansas City, MO after graduation in 1996. Then relocated to Detroit and worked for a local CPA firm, Gregory Terrell & Co. In 1999 Gov Engler instituted a $1.3Billion bond program to renovate and improve the 265 Detroit Public Schools. Barton Malow Construction was awarded the construction manager to oversee the improvements and hired Gregory Terrell & Co. to perform the review of all invoices for the T&M work submitted by the contractors. Based on this experience, she transitioned to the construction industry, first as Controller in 2002 for E.L. Bailey & Co., a father and son general contractor company as they were awarded the $300 Million bond program management project with WCCCD. She went on to work for DES Electric as the controller to help stand up a newly formed partnership and then on to Sachse Construction as the assistant controller in 2013, in 2015 joined DWSD

 

Monica is an active member of both the National Association of Black Women in Constriction (NABWIC) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and most recently appointed on SEMCOG’s Water Infrastructure Task Force. 

 

 

Monica Lewis-Patrick

Monica Lewis-Patrick is an educator, entrepreneur, and human rights activist/advocate. Along with the other four founders of We the People of Detroit (WPD), she, with the leadership of volunteers and community experts, placed herself and WPD at the forefront of the water justice struggle in Michigan, across the country and globally. Lewis-Patrick is known throughout the environmental justice community as The Water Warrior. She is actively engaged in the struggle for access to safe, affordable water for all under-resourced communities. 

 

She currently serves as a member of several organizations, boards, and committees dedicated to the advancement of water equity, including the National Water Affordability Table, All About Water/Freshwater Future – Subcommittee, PolicyLink- Water Energy Resource Caucus (WERC), Michigan Water Unity Table, End Water Poverty, Healing Our Waters/Equity Advocacy and Action Committee, and D-REM.org. In October of 2015, she was named to the World Water Justice Council. In 2019 she was appointed to the International Joint Commission (IJC) Great Lakes Water Quality Advisory Board, and she received an appointment to the Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice by Gov. Whitmer.

 

As a former Lead Legislative Policy Analyst for Detroit City Council, Monica has authored legislation, conducted research, and delivered constituency services to thousands of city residents. Lewis-Patrick attended the historic Bennett College. She is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Sociology and a Masters of Arts of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in Criminal Justice/Sociology and Public Management. She is currently one of the leaders at the forefront of the water rights struggle in Michigan.

 

Jill Ryan

Jill Ryan received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Grand Valley State University in Michigan, her master’s degree in zoology from the University of Maine, and her law degree from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. She has a background in nonprofit management and capacity building, environmental toxicology, and human services, and has taught environmental law and legal research. Jill has held positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is now the Executive Director of Freshwater Future, where she has been since 2000.  

 

In addition to building Freshwater Future, Jill’s passion focuses on increasing grassroots capacity to protect waters in the Great Lakes region, including assisting with a variety of planning processes, board development, facilitation and bi-national collaborative efforts. She serves on the Healing Our Waters Governance Board, helped spur creation of the growing Great Lakes Network and monitors emerging issues in the region. Jill enjoys paddling, cycling and camping with her family who reside in Jamestown, New York.

2021 Presenters

Jon Bernstein

Jon Bernstein currently serves as the Assistant Chief of Ohio EPA’s Office of Financial Assistance (OFA) within the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance. Jon oversees staff working within Ohio’s two state revolving fund loan programs, the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund and the Water Supply Revolving Loan Account, along with the wastewater compliance assistance unit. Jon has worked as a project engineer, engineering supervisor, and loans and grants manager in OFA. Jon began his time with the Agency as an environmental specialist in the Division of Surface Water’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation NPDES permitting program.

 

Jon earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Ohio University in 2007. He holds a professional engineering license and a Geographic Information Systems Certificate.

Kelly Green

Having been born and raised in Michigan, Kelly Green has spent most of her life surrounded by the Great Lakes and fresh water. She has worked in Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy for the past 15+ years working mainly on asset management, and funding and financing opportunities for local communities undertaking water infrastructure projects. 

 

Her current role is the Water Infrastructure Financing Section Administrator where she oversees the State Revolving Fund programs as well as several state and federally funded grant programs. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management and is a veteran of the U.S Air Force.  

Kay Christensen

Kay Christensen works for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Bureau of Community Financial Assistance, Environmental Loans Section. Kay is the outreach coordinator for Wisconsin’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. To raise program awareness and interact with potential and current program users, she acquires and staffs a booth at various local government, and water and wastewater industry conferences. 

 

She manages the Environmental Loans E-Bulletin (electronic newsletter) to alert the readership of upcoming program deadlines; to highlight program changes, and state and federal regulation changes; and to explain topics that need clarification. Kay manages the Environmental Loans web pages by updating and posting information in a timely manner. She develops useful, reader-friendly publications to help program users understand and navigate the loan process.