OUR MISSION

Advancing water education to understand global challenges and inspire local solutions

We achieve our mission by:

OUR VISION

Envisioning a world in which action-oriented education enables everyone to understand and value water, ensuring a sustainable future.

Core Beliefs

Our publications , training workshops, global network and community events are grounded in the following core beliefs:

  • water connects us all
  • water is for all water users
  • water must be managed sustainably
  • water depends on personal responsibility
    and action

Meet Our Team

John Etgen

CEO
john [at] projectwet.org
John Etgen , CEO
john [at] projectwet.org

With more than 35 years of experience delivering conservation education, John Etgen has a passion for helping people of all ages to understand our most precious natural resource, water. Whether teaching sanitation and hygiene to schools in developing countries or educating employees of the world’s largest companies about water stewardship, John inspires people to take meaningful action to conserve and protect water.

John has been with the Project WET Foundation for 26 years. His work has spanned more than 75 countries. He holds a Master of Science degree in Science Education from Montana State University and Executive Leadership and High-Performance Leadership certificates from Cornell University. He is credentialed as a Professional Consultant by the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and currently serves as the Chair of the AWS Technical Committee. A former naturalist and environmental education specialist in Glacier National Park, he was awarded the 2000 Montana Conservation Educator of the Year award.

Julia Beck

VICE PRESIDENT OF NETWORKS
julia.beck [at] projectwet.org
Julia Beck , VICE PRESIDENT OF NETWORKS
julia.beck [at] projectwet.org

Before working at Project WET, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar where I lived in a very remote village with no access to clean water. The community I lived in was uneducated. I spent hours every day getting clean water and observed the struggles of my neighbors. I knew if they were better educated, they would have the ability to improve their lives dramatically. I believe education is the primary solution to almost every challenge. Project WET delivers quality education on our most important resource—water.

I have the honor of working with our motivated, dedicated, and passionate global network of implementing partners who use Project WET in their programs. I provide resources and networking opportunities for our partners as well as write curriculum, conduct trainings and develop online trainings and lessons.

Before taking my current position, I managed international projects for Project WET. I received a B.A. in Biology from Colorado College and an M.S. in Wildlife Biology from Montana State University in Bozeman. I have worked as a wildlife biologist studying kit foxes, coyotes and wolves, taught at an outdoor science school and traveled as a student of the world, including serving in the Peace Corps.

Solina Beringer

Organizational Assistant
Solina Beringer , Organizational Assistant

I believe in the power of educating communities about the environmental challenges we face and providing the tools to make a difference. I bring technical skills and marketing experience to the Project WET Foundation. As an Organizational Assistant, I provide support for a variety of programs and organizational needs.

Before coming to Project WET, I worked diligently with the sustainability department at my college. I supplied composting tools across campus, educated students and staff on waste management practices, trained volunteers, and coordinated fundraising events. After graduating, I learned to code and worked as a website and social media manager for various small businesses and nonprofits in the Bozeman area. I received a BA in Sociology from Saint Mary’s College of California, where I conducted research on the #NoDAPL grassroots movement and environmental justice issues regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. Aside from exploring the wonderful outdoors, I enjoy the pleasure of devouring a good book and a delicious meal.

Morgan Close

Vice President of Projects & Programs
morgan [at] projectwet.org
Morgan Close , Vice President of Projects & Programs
morgan [at] projectwet.org

Morgan joined Project WET in 2010 to continue the development of Project WET's international network and the support of multiple ongoing and new projects. She has been integral in the development of multiple educational resources and has facilitated training workshops across the globe from Tanzania to Taiwan.  Prior to this position she spent several years as a buyer in the outdoor retail industry, wrangled horses and children at a Montana guest ranch and taught environmental education in New England. Her experience includes research and travel throughout Eastern Africa, Europe and Asia.

Morgan received a B.A. in Psychology from Bates College with a focus on Experiential Education.

Verna Schaff

Accountant
verna.schaff [at] projectwet.org
Verna Schaff , Accountant
verna.schaff [at] projectwet.org

Verna joined the Project WET Foundation in 2005 as its accountant and assistant to the chief financial officer. In addition to payroll, Verna manages employee benefits, oversees inventory and provides accounting support to Project WET staff.

Verna earned a bachelor’s in accounting from Montana State University–Bozeman.

Kyla Tengdin

Sales and Marketing Manager
kyla.tengdin [at] projectwet.org
Kyla Tengdin , Sales and Marketing Manager
kyla.tengdin [at] projectwet.org

While I was studying abroad in rural Brazil, it wasn’t uncommon for the town’s taps to run dry. Having grown up in water-rich Minnesota, I had never had to wonder whether there would be enough clean water for all my needs. Experiencing water shortages firsthand showed me the importance of education to develop resilient communities. I have the privilege of working with our worldwide network of educators to distribute Project WET’s award-winning educational materials. I also help develop new resources, manage our social media presence, and keep our network updated on current projects. I received a B.A. in Spanish with a Management Studies concentration from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. During college, I studied abroad in Brazil and Argentina. Before joining Project WET, I taught Spanish and Portuguese at language immersion camps and trained electronic medical record users.

Beth Witte

Organizational Assistant
Beth Witte , Organizational Assistant

Prior to moving to Bozeman, I taught outdoor education at a field school on an island in Lake Erie.  We used Project WET in our curriculum, and I enjoyed bringing water education to students through hands-on activities and research projects. Many of our students lived mere blocks from the Great Lakes but had no meaningful connection or understanding of the freshwater resource in their “backyard.” Our work here at Project WET is essential to educate and inspire the next generation of water stewards.

As Organizational Assistant I support Project WET programs and partners in their needs, assist with sales and educational material distribution, as well as other office tasks that need doing (I hear they might teach me how to drive a forklift!)

I have a degree in Secondary Education and Math from St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI. I taught in a traditional high school classroom before transitioning to outdoor education programs. I have a background in designing STEM programs, facilitating professional development and managing grant-funded projects.

Meet Our Board

Richard R. Arnold II

Chair
Richard R. Arnold II , Chair

Currently serving as the Director of STEM engagement at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Ricky has worked for over 30 years as a global educator and more recently as an Astronaut at NASA. He is a certified Science teacher from the State of Maryland and has taught science and mathematics from grades six to twelve in five different countries. He has experience with the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs in both Environmental Science and Biology. He has served in a variety of leadership roles in the Astronaut Office and has completed two missions to the International Space Station totaling over 200 days in space. As an astronaut with a background in Education, he was heavily involved in NASA’s Year of Education on Station during his most recent mission in 2018. Ricky has had the unique experience of conducting science expeditions under the sea in both a submersible and habitat, during a weeklong expedition in a large cave system in Sardinia, and on a tall ship conducting blue water oceanography in the Atlantic. Ricky has a BS from Frostburg State University, an MS in Marine and Estuarine Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, and a D.Sc. h.c. from Frostburg State University.

Kerry Schwartz

Vice Chair
Kerry Schwartz , Vice Chair

I’ve always been wowed bythe wonders of this earth. On my first trip west, as an 11-year-oldcamper from Maryland, I was awestruck by the wide-openwestern landscape, so full of colors other than green! It’sno wonder that I wound up in the magical Sonoran Desert,where water either thunders down or teases,an elusive dream.MYdream became reality in 2000,when I became Director of the Arizona Project WET Programat the University of Arizona’s (UA) Water Resources Research Center.MSand BS degrees in Geosciences and Geohydrology and8 years inenvironmental consultingwith Science Applications International Corporation and Groundwater Resources Consultants in WAand AZprovided me with depth of knowledge in the field. I found humility and new perspectives in a transitional year of Americorps service,facilitatingenvironmental education withYaqui students in Tucson. Now I live my passion;using hands-on exploration and inquiry to drive learning about our most precious resource. Service on the Project WET Board is one of my greatest honors.The UA’s 2019 Extension Faculty of the Year Award and the Project WET Foundation’s Blue Planet Award for 20 years of service areicing on the cake.

Thomas R. Atkins

Thomas R. Atkins ,

As Housing Program Director for USDA Rural Development, Tom Atkins oversees Rural Development activities such as loans, technical assistance and community empowerment in 14 Montana counties. Overall, USDA Rural Development has a $115 billion loan portfolio and is set to administer $20 billion in loans, loan guarantees and grants through its programs during this fiscal year. Mr. Atkins began his career in banking, working primarily in rural Montana and North Dakota before moving to Bozeman, Mont.; to join USDA. He studied at both Montana State University in Bozeman and MSU-Billings, formerly Eastern Montana College.

Tom Atkins has served on the Project WET Foundation Board of Directors since 2010.

Elaine J. Dorward-King

Secretary
Elaine J. Dorward-King , Secretary

With 25 years of leadership and management experience in strategy and implementation of sustainable development, safety, health and environment in the mining, chemical, and engineering consulting industries, Elaine Dorward-King is currently the Executive Vice President of Sustainability & External Relations for Newmont Goldcorp. Before that, Dr. Dorward-King was Managing Director of Richards Bay Minerals in South Africa and global head of Health, Safety and Environment for Rio Tinto, a role she held for eight years following other roles of increasing responsibility. Dr. Dorward-King has also worked for an engineering consulting firm, Ebasco, and for Monsanto Chemical Company, in the agricultural products division. Dr. Dorward-King graduated from Colorado State University with a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry and from Maryville College in Tennessee with a B.A. magna cum laude in chemistry, with emphasis in biology and mathematics.

Elaine Dorward-King joined the Project WET Foundation Board of Directors in 2010.

Heidi J. Paul

Heidi J. Paul ,

Recently retired as Executive Vice-President of Corporate Affairs for Nestlé Waters North America, Heidi Paul was responsible for all aspects of the company's corporate communications and community relations. Prior to taking on the VP position, Ms. Paul served in various brand marketing roles for Nestlé Waters, overseeing the marketing of many of America's most successful spring water brands, including Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Calistoga, Deer Park, Ozarka and Zephyrhills as well as the leading international brands Perrier and S.Pellegrino. Ms. Paul holds an MBA from Columbia University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Heidi Paul has been involved with Project WET since 1998. She was the Chair of the Project WET Foundation Board of Directors from 2006 to 2013.

Edna Primrose

Edna Primrose ,

I am thrilled to join the Project WET Foundation Board of Directors!  I have spent nearly 20 years as a champion for youth education and I have the privilege to lead a national program in rural water and waste infrastructure.  My Board membership enables me to pursue both of these passions.  I look forward to contributing to Project WET’s mission through my public and private sector executive leadership experience, and my dedication to communities, education, economic development, and partnerships.  I currently serve as Assistant Administrator, Water and Environmental Programs, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; I previously served as Chief Operating Officer.  For over a decade, I worked in the Job Corps Program, a national residential education and training program for youth, culminating in serving as National Director.  I have collaborated with national/international partners on global water and education issues.  I’m a proud graduate of Towson University (TU), with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Today, I give back by serving as a Vice President on the TU Foundation Board of Directors, and member of the Board of Visitors and College of Business and Economics Advisory Board.  I also earned a Harvard Kennedy School of Government Public Leadership Executive Certificate.

Alan Rimer

Alan Rimer ,

With a varied, 50-year career in environmental engineering, Dr. Alan Rimer (PhD, DEE, P.E.) has been involved with the planning and design for a variety of water reuse, water resources, wastewater treatment, solid waste management and environmental management projects for local, state and the federal governments, as well as a wide variety of industries. His practice has extended across the United States, Asia, Europe and South America. He recently retired from Black & Veatch where he was Vice President and Director of Water Reuse and joined with a friend in a consulting firm where he will continue his reuse work.

A specialist in water reuse, Dr. Rimer has been involved in every stage of the reclaimed water business, and his work in water resources has ranged from water supply and nonpoint source master planning studies to water treatment plant design, distribution design and rate studies.

In addition to his professional work in the water and wastewater industry, Dr. Rimer has also served as an elected and appointed public official, a member of several charitable boards and a faculty member at two universities. He currently serves on three Boards and recently completed his two terms on the Water Research & Reuse Foundation Board.

Dr. Rimer earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Duke University, an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Duke University/Kennedy Western University.

Dr. Rimer joined the Project WET Foundation Board in 2012.

Will Sarni

Will Sarni ,

Will is the Founder and CEO of Water Foundry. Previously he was the founder and CEO of DOMANI, a sustainability strategy firm that was acquired by Deloitte Consulting. At Deloitte he founded the water strategy practice which provided services to U.S. and non-U.S. multinationals on quantifying and mitigating water-related risks. Following his career at Deloitte, he founded Water Foundry which continues to work with private sector clients as well as innovative water technology startups and early-stage growth companies in addressing water scarcity and quality issues.

An internationally recognized thought leader on water strategy and innovation, Will has authored numerous books and articles and presented on: the value of water, innovations in digital water technology, the circular economy and the energy-water-food nexus.

He is the author of the following books: Corporate Water Strategies (Earthscan 2011, and in Chinese by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press 2013); Water Tech – A Guide to Investment, Innovation and Business Opportunities in the Water Sector (Sarni, W. and Pechet, T., Routledge 2013); Beyond the Energy – Water – Food Nexus: New Strategies for 21st Century Growth (Dō Sustainability 2015); Water Stewardship and Business Value: Creating Abundance from Scarcity (Sarni, W., and Grant, D., Routledge 2018); Creating 21st Century Abundance through Public Policy Innovation: Moving Beyond Business as Usual (Sarni, W. and Koch, G., Greenleaf Publishing 2018); and Digital Water: New Technologies for a More Resilient, Secure and Equitable Water Future (Sarni, W., Routledge 2019).

Will is a Project Board Member of 10.10.10 and ASSET and Founder and Chairman of WetDATA.org. He was a 2016 XPRIZE Bold Visioneer for the Safe Drinking Water Team and is on the: Scientific Program Committee for Stockholm World Water Week; Executive Council of NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS); Editorial Board of the Journal of Water Security; and a Technical Advisor for the Climate Bonds Initiative: Nature-Based Solutions for Climate and Water Resilience.

Will joined the Project WET Foundation Board of Directors in 2018.

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