Board of Directors
Maria is Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs in Earth & Environmental Science at UPenn. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Rutgers University and a Master of Science in engineering geology from Drexel University. Maria's professional experience in the environmental field ranges from applications of analytical soil and water chemistry to multiple facets of environmental consulting. Her focus of interest has been the behavior and interaction of inorganic and organic pollutants in the environment. Maria has been teaching at Penn since 2002 and is currently the Associate Director for Undergraduate Programs in Earth & Environmental Science. Maria has been involved with UP EWB and GWA on the Guatemala projects and has encouraged her many students to participate in GWA activities [eg, annual conferences].
Patrick Cairo has over 45 years of experience in the water industry working in both the public and private sector. Patrick recently retired from SUEZ, a multinational water and waste company, where he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Development responsible for acquisitions, P3 projects and all other growth activities in North America. Previously, he was based in Paris and served as SUEZ’s Corporate Director for Global Technology and Innovation. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS and MS in Engineering, Patrick started his professional career with the Philadelphia Water Department and he served as Deputy Commissioner and COO in charge of operation and engineering services. He oversaw the upgrading and expansion of Philadelphia’s three large wastewater treatment plants and biosolids management facility which substantially improved the quality of the Delaware River. Mr. Cairo has considerable experience in structuring, financing and managing large water and wastewater projects North America, Europe and the Developing World. Patrick was also instrumental in managing the recent GWA wastewater symposium and is also active with IGEL/Wharton.
Dr. Arun Deb has more than 50 years’ experience in teaching, research and consultancy in water and wastewater management. During the last 25 years, while working for Weston Solutions, Inc., Dr. Deb started his volunteering activities with a goal to help poor people of developing countries in providing them safe drinking water and good sanitation. Many of those projects tie into volunteer activities for Water For People. In early 1990s, Deb initiated WFP projects to bring safe drinking water to about 10 schools with nearly 1,000 students each. Deb, who has served two terms on the Water For People board, is the man behind the project in India to remove arsenic from drinking water. Deb spends several months each year in Kolkata, India. During the last five years, he initiated and completed sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in about 15 schools in West Bengal. When he learned of the huge numbers of villagers suffering from arsenic poisoning caused by contaminated groundwater, Deb helped raise $10,000 with the help of PA Section of WFP for a research grant to support the Bengal Engineering and Science University in designing an arsenic-removal process. Now that the project is under way for the last 18 years, Deb’s reward consists of the responses from villagers during his visits to India that they are so proud of their arsenic-removal unit. This project received many national and International awards. Arun Deb demonstrated his passion for delivering safe drinking water and improving the quality of life. At present, as a Board Member of GWA, Dr. Deb is involved in a safe drinking water supply project for many schools in West Bengal and involved in improving education and health of students.
A multitasker extraordinaire with an upbeat and super charged energy level; that is our Angelita. Angelita Fasnacht-Cuellar has 21 plus years of experience in Environmental & Civil Engineering, Grant Management and Engineering Management, specializing in Water and Community Health. She obtained a Master’s in Public Health degree from Emory University’s International Public Health program. Her professional and academic experience include managing and supporting projects for Safe Water Network, AguaAyuda, International Rural Water Association, Catholic Relief Services, Pan-American Health Organization, and WaterAid through Kosovo-Addis consulting group. She lectures at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and the Center for Public Health Initiatives, and at the School of Public Health of Drexel University. At that school she is now enrolled as a PhD student. She has represented Millennium Water Alliance (twelve-partners alliance, including UNICEF), and served as an adviser to private and federal grantees on program design and M&E formulation. She negotiated and managed grants and contracts with several donors in the USA and Colombia, including UNICEF, USAID, Conrad Hilton Foundation and the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. She has also worked for CARE’s Senior Advisor for WASH, and participated on his behalf on El Salvador’s national water agenda planning meeting. In Colombia, she managed development projects for a local NGO in Huila. In 2015 Angelita led a student and faculty team to the World Water Forum in South Korea. And, because she had already so much on her plate, she became an environmental scientist in the Research and Development group of American Water. Angelita lives in New Jersey, but she keeps her roots in Colombia alive and thick with frequent travels.
Dr. Vivian Fuhrman has spent over a decade working on environmental and health initiatives at the intersection of science and policy, including roles as an environmental consultant, researcher on trans-boundary water threats, and national authority on consumer waste management. Vivian completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Risk and Policy from Ben Gurion University in Israel, using risk assessment to determine the health and policy implications of emerging contaminants in the aquatic environment. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Duke University, a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and conducted graduate research on environmental protection at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. As the Director for Policy and Programs at the Product Stewardship Institute, Vivian helped government agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, law enforcement, waste companies, and others work together on safe disposal of leftover medications and other household waste streams. She addressed audiences across the U.S., and globally, to raise the level of discourse about drug stewardship. Facilitating communication and cooperation between groups that share a stake in environmental and health challenges is the cornerstone of her long-term goals.
Richard R. Riegler
Former Vice President Aqua America, Inc. Riegler held numerous positions with Aqua America throughout his 38 year career, the last as Vice President, Engineering and Environmental Affairs . Riegler was responsible for the management and oversight of the engineering, water quality, laboratory and environmental affairs functions, as well as purchasing and fleet operations. He also managed the corporation’s annual $250 million capital budget until retirement in 2008. Riegler has served on the Board of Directors of Water for People from 2000 through 2007 and was a member of the Rotary Task Force. Riegler is also a founding member of Global Water Alliance (GWA ) ,formerly Philadelphia Global Water Initiative (PGWI) . He has served on its Board of Directors and had responsibility for the development of the organization’s Strategic Plan. Riegler is a former chairman of both the Pennsylvania Section and the Resources Division of the American Water Works Association (AWWA). He has served on Advisory Committees of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (DER), the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin. He also served on the Board of the Settlement Music School, Philadelphia. A graduate of Drexel University’s Civil Engineering Program, Riegler was a licensed Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida prior to his retirement.
Dr. Neha Sunger is an Assistant Professor and Track Coordinator of Environmental Health program in the College of Health Sciences at West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCU-PA). She specializes in environmental statistics, human health risk and exposure modeling. She received her Ph.D. from Drexel University, her M.S. from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)- in Kanpur, India and her B.S. from MBM Engg. College, India. At WCU, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental health, risk assessment, and waste management. As an Environmental professional, she has worked in various capacities such as foundation and ground engineer, senior executive design engineer for water and wastewater treatment solutions, and as exposure research fellow for development of high-throughput computational programs to screen industrial chemicals. In addition to teaching and research, she is also very active in professional associations. Her research interest includes work on Human health and environmental risk assessment, Dose-Response modeling, High-throughput exposure programming, database management, GIS application to environmental health, infectious disease assessment, waste management and water/wastewater treatment.