Water Data Forum: Cybersecurity & Interoperability

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March 9, 2023
1:00 pm
March 9, 2023
2:00 pm
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Water Data Forum: Cybersecurity & Interoperability

Water Data Forum – Cybersecurity & Interoperability

Presented by the Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA), Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub (MBDH), and Water Environment Federation (WEF)

MARCH 9, 2023 | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET


The Water Environment Federation and VT SWIM will lead a conversation on the intersection of interoperability and cybersecurity as it relates to data integration in water infrastructure asset management. A curated panel discussion with experts in the field will be followed by Q&A.


Participants can expect to learn:

  1. Examples of gathering data to inform business intelligence systems while maintaining a high level of cybersecurity. 
  2. Overcoming cybersecurity challenges in IT and OT projects that involve interoperability of systems and applications.
  3. Guidelines and resources for managing risk.


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Dr. Sunil Sinha

Professor and Director of Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) Center | Virginia Tech

Dr. Sunil Sinha is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) Center of Excellence at Virginia Tech. Dr. Sunil Sinha is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award recipient in the area of sustainable water infrastructure management systems. 

Dr. Sinha’s research, teaching, and consulting activities are focused in the areas of infrastructure management, sustainability, pattern recognition, sensor informatics, and resilience, especially water systems. Dr. Sinha has documented and disseminated the results and findings from research in over 450 publications in referred journals, and reports. 

Dr. Sinha was featured in “90-minutes” PBS documentary titled “Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure,” that throws light on a long-buried problem — America’s aging water system. He has given many NPR interviews and featured as a water infrastructure expert in a History Channel documentary titled “The Crumbling of America.”

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Zonetta E. English

Strategic Initiatives and Project Delivery Director | Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District

Ms. Zonetta English is the Strategic Initiatives and Project Delivery Director for the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District.  Ms. English has 30 years in the wastewater industry in various capacities:  Laboratory Management and Certification, Operations Support, Research and Capital Project Management.   Selected as one of 20 professionals from across five (5) disciplines:  Chemists, Wastewater, Industry Experts, State Regulators, and Environmentalists that was selected by US EPA Office of Water to serve on the Federal Advisory Committee for Detection and Quantitation to propose a new Method Detection Limit (MDL) procedure  for  40 CFR Part 136 Appendix B .  

Currently, Ms. English leads research for new processes and advanced technologies that will enhance any aspect of MSD (i.e. wastewater, storm water, etc.) as assigned by Executive Leadership.  Develops and oversees the development of complex technical reports.  Presents findings and recommendations to MSD Board, senior staff, community, and technical peer groups. Provides direction for strategic initiatives (i.e. biosolids, artificial intelligence, capital funding sources, etc.) in the way of research, historical knowledge, technical support, financial analysis, and project delivery.  Develops and directs strategic partnerships with the Water Research Foundation (i.e. LIFT), Universities, Utility Partners and Global Technology Approval Organizations (such as Isle Inc.).  Works with executive team and operations leadership to interpret regulatory obligations and to develop strategies to address new requirements.  Develops and maintains processes and procedures consistent with best practices, federal, state and local laws.  Provides 24-hour emergency response to assist Senior Leadership to resolve environmental issues and emerging contaminants of concern.

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Michael Thompson

Critical Infrastructure & ICS Cyber Outcome Lead | The MITRE Corporation

Michael Thompson is a Critical Infrastructure & ICS Cyber Outcome Lead at The MITRE Corporation. Michael joined MITRE in 2021 after spending more than 25 years in the process control, functional safety engineering, and industrial control system cybersecurity fields.  Michael has deep knowledge and experience in the chemical, nuclear, water, and oil and gas industries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in information systems science from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in systems engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.

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Dr. Zdenko (Cello) Vitasovic

Principal Investigator | WRF 4806 Project (UAIM)

Co-Principal Investigator | WRF Project 5039 (Smart Utilities and Intelligent Water Systems)

Past Chair | WEF Intelligent Water Systems Committee

Recipient | WEF Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal for outstanding Research (1998)

Project Team Lead | WEF WISE Program

His focus has been on mathematical modeling, operational technology and real time controls, and information systems. He has executed a number of projects for water sector utilities in North America, UK, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia.


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Elkin Hernandez

Director, Maintenance Services | DC Water
Member | WEF Intelligent Water Technology Committee

Mr. Elkin Hernandez currently serves as DC Water Director of Maintenance Services, in this role, he oversees the maintenance of the over 40,000 assets used at Blue Plains AWTP.  He has over 20 years of experience in the design, construction, commissioning and maintenance of water treatment and power utilities. For the past 9 years, he has worked at DC Water Blue Plains AWTP. Prior to joining DC Water, he worked in the consulting and construction engineering fields as a design, development and commissioning engineer and manager.

Mr. Hernandez is the immediate past chair of WEF’s Intelligent Water Technology Committee, his background includes work on telecom cation, automation, process control and cybersecurity. Currently his work is focused in the fields of smart water, management, and maintenance optimization. Mr. Hernandez holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s engineering degree in Electrical and Computer science.


More About the Water Data Forum Series:

The Water Data Forum is a series of interactive web sessions that engage cross-sector experts in an exploration of utility, industry, and research approaches to collecting, managing, and measuring water data for impact. Topics in this free, virtual forum will range from new sensor and control technologies to broader application spaces such as water data for environmental justice and climate resilience.

Presented by the Cleveland Water Alliance, Water Environment Federation, and Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub, this series aims to demystify water data for experts and the public.