Plenary Speakers

The 2021 Iowa Water Conference Planning Committee is pleased to have the following speakers present during the plenary sessions during the conference.  Browse below to get to know these knowledgeable speakers!

Tuesday, April 6th

Gene Takle

Lessons Learned from COVID-19 for Building Climate-Change Resilient Communities

Gene joined the ISU faculty in 1971 and is a professor emeritus at Iowa State University. Professor Takle has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers in the scientific literature, mostly relating to climate change and wind energy. He is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. Gene was a member of authoring and review teams of periodic assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cited as co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Peter Thorne

Lessons Learned from COVID-19 for Building Climate-Change Resilient Communities

Peter Thorne is Head of the Univ. of Iowa Dept. of Occupational & Environmental Health and directs the Human Toxicology Program. His lab studies health effects of air pollutants and nanotoxicology. Thorne served as Chair of the US EPA Science Advisory Board and as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Environmental Studies & Toxicology. He currently Chairs the NAS Committee on Toxicology. He teaches courses on climate change, global environmental health, and toxicology.

Dr. Silvia Secchi

Lessons Learned from COVID-19 for Building Climate-Change Resilient Communities

Dr. Silvia Secchi, Assoc. Prof. of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences at U of I, has research in environmental impacts of agriculture, conservation policy, and land use science.

Margaret Krome

A Mississippi River Farmer-Fisherman Collaboration

Ms. Krome is Policy Program Director for the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, which is the fiscal agent for the Uplands Producer-Led Watershed Group, of which she is the coordinator. Since 1986, Krome has worked on federal, state, and local policy supporting sustainable agriculture and conservation policies.

Wednesday, April 7th

Eric Tate

Integrating Social Resilience into Community Flood Resilience

Eric Tate is an Associate Professor of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences at the University of Iowa. Using models called social vulnerability indicators, he studies how natural hazards such as hurricanes and floods affect some populations more than others.

Heidi Peterson

Prioritizing Resources to Meet Water Quality Goals

Dr. Heidi Peterson is Sand County Foundation's Vice-President of Agricultural Research and Conservation where she is engaged in and sets its strategic direction in research, and farmer and rancher engagement. Heidi completed her PhD in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Minnesota, and attended Purdue University for her MS degree in Agronomy.

Thursday, April 8th

Ted Corrigan

COVID-19 and Dramatic Decisions: Tales from the Front Lines of Iowa’s Largest Drinking Water Utility

Ted Corrigan, P.E, is CEO & General Manager for Des Moines Water Works. He has been with the utility for more than 30 years. He started his Water Works career in the Engineering Dept. where he spent 10 years, followed by six years as Director of the Water Production Dept., seven years as Director of the Water Distribution Dept. and four years as Chief Operating Officer before becoming Interim CEO and ultimately CEO & General Manager. Mr. Corrigan is a Civil Engineering graduate from Iowa.

James Houle

Breaking Through, a Decade and a Half of Stormwater Research

James Houle is the Program Director for the Stormwater Center. His responsibilities include directing and managing the Stormwater Center's growing body of research projects. Areas of expertise include diffusion of innovative stormwater management solutions, the design and implementation of innovative stormwater control measures including green infrastructure (GI), and low impact development (LID) strategies, planning and implementation, operation and maintenance, and water resource monitoring.

Hank Kohler

2021 Mississippi River Expedition

Hank Kohler is a lifelong fisherman and local business owner. In 2016 he received the Olav Smedal Conservation Award in Story County. Some may remember Hank from the old Happy Joe’s in Ames, and after damaging floods in 2008, he decided to leave the pizza business. This allowed him to spend more time with his other passion…fishing. He started Hank Kohler’s Learn 2 Fish and still continues to take others fishing whether it be in Iowa or around the Midwest.

Dan Smith

Attached is a professional photo for the site. Bio- Daniel H. Smith is the southwest outreach specialist for the Nutrient and Pest Management Program. He is responsible for providing support to county-based UW-Extension, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Land and Water department staff, producers, industry representatives, and agronomists on nutrient and pest management to improve water quality while protecting farm profitability.