Ohio River Basin Alliance Steering Committee

Harry Stone, Ph.D., Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist in Ohio Department of Natural Resources (Ohio), ORBA Chairperson
Dr. Harry Stone is an ESA Certified Senior Ecologist who retired after a 38 year career in applied research, teaching, economic development, and business management. He formerly served as ORBA Acting Chairperson (2016), Chairperson (2017 - 2019), Vice-Chairperson (2019 - 2020) and for many years as the Working Group Leader for Sustainable Growth and Competitiveness. He co-authored the USACE Ohio River Basin climate change and adaptation study and contributed to the America’s Watershed Initiative Ohio River report card. Dr. Stone’s academic credentials include a Ph.D. (Miami University, multidisciplinary in ecology, political science, and economics), MBA (University of North Carolina - Greensboro), and an MS (Vanderbilt University, plant physiology).
Craig Butler, Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (Ohio), ORBA Vice-Chairperson
Craig W. Butler was appointed as the executive director/secretary of the MWCD on May 1, 2020. Prior to taking on this new role, Butler was the Executive Director of the Power Siting Board for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. In 2014, Governor John Kasich, appointed Butler as Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a position he held until 2019. Prior to serving as the Director of the EPA, Butler served as the Assistant Policy Director for Energy, Agriculture and the Environment in Governor Kasich’s administration. Prior to his service in the Kasich Administration, Butler served in various positions in the Ohio EPA and is regarded as an innovator and national leader in balancing environmental protection, conservation, public health and economic development issues. Butler holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Environmental Studies from Mansfield University in Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Ohio University.
Charles (Chuck) Somerville, Ph.D., Marshall University (West Virginia), ORBA PastChairperson
Dr. Charles (Chuck) Somerville twice served as Chairperson of the Ohio River Basin Alliance (2014-2015 and 2019 - 2020) and is an Ex Officio member of the Steering Committee (2021-2022). He is Dean of the College of Science at Marshall University and an aquatic microbial ecologist with research experiences ranging from hydrocarbon bioremediation through surface water microbial communities to use of satellite imagery to detect and predict the distribution of phytoplankton in large rivers. Dr. Somerville serves as a Member of the US Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board and previously on the Steering Committee of America’s Watershed Initiative.
Kari Mackenbach, ms consultants (Ohio), ORBA Treasurer
Ms. Mackenbach is the Director of Sustainability for ms consultants. Ms. Mackenbach leads all sustainability efforts for the company. Ms. Mackenbach has over 20 years of experience in many facets of sustainability. In particular her expertise in green infrastructure (GI) applications is well-known. One of Ms. Mackenbach’s key responsibilities’ is to leverage lessons learned from other cities across the County whether its GI design innovations or new O&M strategies and work to standardize these approaches within ms consultants overall deliverables. Mackenbach’s background as a Board Certified Environmental Scientist (BCES), Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), ENVISION SP Certified Professional and as an American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) accredited professional provides her with unique capabilities to work with communities and other professionals on multiple levels as it relates to sustainability and more specifically green infrastructure initiatives. Ms. Mackenbach served many years as the Enterprise and Infrastructure Working Group Lead for ORBA.
Jen Bowman, Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Knowledge and Education to Inform Decisions Working Group Leader
Jen Bowman is the Director of Environmental Programs at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The Voinovich School is a leader among public service schools, working in public-private partnerships to find solutions to challenges facing communities, the economy, and the environment. Jen has over 20 years of experience in water quality assessment and watershed data management. She aligns environmental needs in the region to the expertise across the University; bringing ‘real-world’ projects to the School where students, faculty, and professional staff work collaboratively to solve complex environmental issues. Over the course of the past 15 years Bowman has led the effort to produce an online ESRI GIS based data platform called watersheddata.com to host chemical and biological data for the state of Ohio, containing over 83,000 records of data. She was appointed by Governor DeWine to serve on the Soil and Water Conservation Commission for Ohio. Jen holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geology and a Master of Science in Environmental Geochemistry both from Ohio University.
Sarah Hippensteel Hall, Ph.D., Miami Conservancy District (Ohio), Reliable Flood Control and Risk Reduction Working Group
Leader Sarah believes that water is critical for community health and prosperity and communities who enjoy their rivers are more likely to protect their water. She currently serves as the Manager of Watershed Partnerships for the Miami Conservancy District, a 105-year old watershed agency. Since 2003 she has raised more than $14 million dollars to protect, restore, and preserve rivers, streams, and aquifers, and promote river recreation. Sarah leads cross-jurisdictional partnerships that focus on water protection, including the creation of one of the nation’s first nutrient trading programs. She earned a Bachelor of Science from The Ohio State University, a Master of Arts from Antioch University Seattle, and a Ph. D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. In 2012 she was presented with a Distinguished Service Award by the Water Management Association of Ohio. In 2015 she was selected to give a TedX Talk on water.
Richard Harrison, P.E., Executive Director of the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), (Ohio), Abundant Clean Water Working Group Leader
Mr. Harrison was appointed to the position of Executive Director of ORSANCO on April 1, 2015. ORSANCO is the water pollution control agency for the Ohio River and its tributaries. An interstate agency, ORSANCO represents the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the federal government. Mr. Harrison was previously Vice President of Engineering, Distribution & Production at Northern Kentucky Water District. Harrison managed engineering services, water treatment, production and treatment related facility management, distribution system maintenance, and IT services for the District. He worked for the Northern Kentucky Water District since 1988. Mr. Harrison is a past President and current member of the Covington Rotary Club and a member of the Northern Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers. He is also a member of the American Water Works Association. He is a 1996 graduate of Leadership Northern Kentucky. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky and is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Kentucky.
Martin (Marty) T. Hettel, American Commercial Barge (Indiana), River Transportation and Commerce Working Group Leader
Marty Hettel started in the inland waterways industry as a deckhand in 1980. He knows the industry profoundly, having held positions in logistics, purchasing, operations, insurance/ claims, personnel, shipping & receiving, freight sales, and regulatory. The last 19 years he served with AEP River Operations in the capacity of logistics, sales, and regulatory. American Commercial Barge Lines (ACBL) recently purchased AEP River Operations and ACBL named Mr. Hettel to Vice President of Government Affairs where he currently serves. Mr. Hettel served as Past President of the Illinois River Carriers Association, Ohio River Basin Alliance Steering Committee Member since 2010, Board and Executive Committee Member of Waterways Council, Inc., Chair of the Inland Waterways User Board, and Board Member of the River Industry Executive Task Force. He also serves on the Transportation Research Board Subcommittee on Inland Water Transportation and Member of the US Chamber of Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation, Infrastructure, and Logistics.
Jordan Lubetkin, National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center (Michigan), Healthy and Productive Ecosystems Working Group Leader
Jordan Lubetkin works at the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center in Ann Arbor, MI, where he serves as Communications Director. Mr. Lubetkin also serves as Communications Director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, a 160-member coalition that is co-led by NWF and that has, since its inception in 2005, secured a regional ecosystem restoration plan for the Great Lakes as well as more than $3.5 billion in federal funding to implement the plan through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Mr. Lubetkin participated in the crafting of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes in 2005. Mr. Lubetkin has been a key part of the Coalition’s advocacy efforts to elevate the strategy in the national spotlight, build robust support in the eight-state region, and win the backing of elected officials, including Republican and Democratic governors, members of Congress, and presidential aspirants. Through the work of the Coalition, the GLRI has, over the last 10 years, invested more than $3 billion in more than 4,500 projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. A top priority of Mr. Lubetkin and the National Wildlife Federation is to secure a strong, visionary science-based ecosystem restoration plan centered around principles of equity and justice for the Ohio River—and the federal funds to implement it.
David Wicks, Ed. D., Ohio River Recreation Trail (Kentucky), Nature Based Outdoor Recreation Working Group Leader
Dr. Wicks is Co-Chair of the Ohio River Recreation Trail that is engaged with numerous organizations to establish a 274-mile land and waterway self-guided adventure trail that connects people to opportunities for outdoor adventure, recreation and discovery on and along the Ohio River from Portsmouth, Ohio to West Point, Kentucky. Dr. Wicks is Board Chair of River City Paddlesports (Louisville). He is Adjunct Faculty at the University of Louisville teaching interdisciplinary classes on the Ohio River and its tributaries. Wicks currently serves on the editorial board of the international journal: Applied Environmental Education & Communication. He was the Executive Producer of Beargrass: The Creek in Our Backyard and serves on the board of the Future Fund Land Trust, Dr. Wicks retired after 30 years as the Coordinator of the Jefferson County Public Schools Environmental Education program and as the Co-Director of the Center for Environmental Education at the University of Louisville’s Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development. He served as President of the North American Association for Environmental Education, board president of the Kentucky Conservation Committee and three times president of the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education.
Mekayle Houghton, Cumberland River Compact (Tennessee)
Mekayle has been the Executive Director of the Cumberland River Compact since 2014. With her innovative and committed team, the Cumberland River Compact is growing to address the scope of the challenge to engage millions of stakeholders in efforts to ensure a clean and abundant supply of fresh water for the people and thousands of species that call the Cumberland River Basin home. Today, the Compact benefits from its founders' wisdom, who created an environmental NGO that is non-litigious, creative, and able to build partnerships with entities across the social and political spectrum. Recent organizational accomplishments include: the restoration of free flow to an urban stream system, designated as Exceptional Waters, by removing four low head dams; the launch of a public-private campaign to restore Nashville's tree canopy by planting 500,000 trees by 2050; and a partnership with National Fish and Wildlife Federation and local NRCS chapters to make soil health practices accessible to all farmers in our target watersheds. Mekayle serves on the Tennessee Solar Energy Association, the steering committee of TN H2O, a water planning initiative supported by past and current Governors, and the advisory board involved in Nashville's compliance with the Global Covenant of Mayors. Mekayle has degrees from the University of Chicago in Anthropology (AB) and Interdisciplinary Studies of Social Movements (AM).
Carey Johnson, Assistant Director, Kentucky Division of Water (Kentucky)
Carey Johnson is the Assistant Director of the Kentucky Division of Water. He assumed the Assistant Director role in November 2018 and has since helped lead the Division in accomplishing goals in floodplain management, dam safety, Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act activities. Additionally, Carey manages the Cooperating Technical Partnership (CTP) activities between the Division of Water and FEMA. Carey has played a leading role in statewide efforts to collect LiDAR terrain data and currently serves on the KY statewide LIDAR advisory committee. He is a member of the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC) and has represented the Division on the National Dam Safety Review Board (NDSRB) and as an Ohio River Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) Commissioner proxy. He also serves on the KY State Hazard Mitigation Council and is a founding member, past chair, and current board member of the Kentucky Association of Mitigation Managers (KAMM). In June of 2020, Carey was elected as the chairperson of the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM).
John King, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (West Virginia)
John King is an Environmental Resource Analyst with West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (WVDEP) Office of Environmental Advocate (OEA). In 2010, WVDEP created two new positions within the advocate office due to an increased public awareness of environmental issues. John serves the northern region of the state and provides special assistance to communities and individuals who need help resolving environmental issues or finding pertinent information. John graduated from Marshall University in 2002 with a BA in Criminal Justice and earned an MS in Physical Science in 2007. Prior experience includes serving as an Environmental Inspector within the Division of Water and Waste Management. He is a founding member of the Morris Creek Watershed Association (MCWA) located in the Upper Kanawha Valley.
Chris Lorentz, Ph.D., Thomas More University (Kentucky)
Dr. Chris Lorentz is a Professor of Biology at Thomas More University in Crestview Hills, KY. He teaches a variety of classes including Aquatic Biology, Genetics and Evolution, among others. He has been awarded several teaching grants focusing on the improvement of K-12 STEM education throughout the region. Alongside his teaching, he serves as the Director of the Center for Ohio River Research and Education at the University’s Biology Field Station. Through the Center, he and his students conduct research projects related to the ecology of the Ohio River, particularly with fish and mussel populations. In addition, he works closely with the USEPA and US Fish & Wildlife Services in the areas of aquatic toxicology and water quality issues.  
Robin Peak, Tennessee Valley Authority (Tennessee)
Robin Peak, TVA River Management, graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in May 1983. She began her career at TVA as a Nuclear Steam Supply System Engineer for TVA’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. In 1991, Ms. Peak was given the opportunity to work in TVA’s River Management organization. She began in the River Forecast Center and worked up to a position of lead engineer – the first female lead engineer in TVA’s River Forecast Center – in 1995. Ms. Peak worked on several special projects and teams, including a RIT/USA Today Quality Cup Award winning team in 2001 and as the TVA River Management liaison to the 1996 Olympics for the canoe and kayak events held on the Ocoee River. She was promoted to management in 2000 and continued working on special projects. One of the bigger projects she worked on was the River Operations Study that was issued in 2004. This study guides the operations of the TVA integrated reservoir system to this day. Ms. Peak is currently the Manager of Hydrometrics, Planning and Contracts in River Management. Her responsibilities include managing a group of technicians spread over the TVA Valley that maintain all of TVA’s dam headwater and tailwater gages, along with the rain and stream gages. She provides the long term – up to 30 years – forecast for TVA’s hydro generation and capacity for inclusion in TVA’s power planning processes. She represents TVA on the Southeastern Power Administration and US Army Corps of Engineers’ Team Cumberland.
Annie Quinn, 3 Rivers Wet Weather (Pennsylvania)
Annie Quinn is a Pittsburgh native. At American University, in Washington, DC, she studied Environmental Science and Political Science. Following her undergrad, she worked as an environmental, health and safety permit manager at a large manufacturing facility in Cleveland Ohio. Following that, Annie attended Duquesne University and received a M.S Degree in Environmental Science and Management, with a focus on Conservation Biology. She transitioned to working in restoration ecology, environmental education, and mission based non-profit roles during her degree. Her last position was as an executive director at Jacobs Creek Watershed Association, where she developed a deep understanding of the water quality and quantity issues effecting our rural and urban creeks. She currently works as the program manager at 3 Rivers Wet Weather.
Jeff Thomas, Electric Power Research Institute (Ohio)
Jeff Thomas is a Senior Technical Leader at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). He leads the Water Quality Assessment program coordinating research projects designed to assist power producers with meeting water quality objectives in a resource-efficient manner. Current efforts involve mercury and selenium environmental impacts, development of a multi-ion toxicity model to assess total dissolved solids impacts, and implementation of climate change adaptation strategies, among several others. He is co-leading EPRI’s Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Project and the Ohio River Basin Ecological Research Interest Group. Before joining EPRI in 2017, Mr. Thomas was the Biological and Water Quality Programs Manager at the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) in Cincinnati. During his 18- year career with ORSANCO, he focused primarily on the fish tissue contaminants program and designing and implementing biological and water quality assessments of the Ohio River, including developing assessment tools such as the modified Ohio River Fish Index (mORFIn). Mr. Thomas participates on the Steering Committee of the Ohio River Basin Fish Habitat Partnership and has served as a member of the National Water Quality Monitoring Council. He has written numerous technical reports and peer-reviewed publications related to water quality, fish tissue contaminants, and biological assessments. Mr. Thomas received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Thomas More College and a master’s degree in aquatic biology from Eastern Kentucky University.

Steering Committee Minutes