Innovation Highlights

June 9 - 12 | Exposition: June 10 - 12 | Colorado Convention Center | Denver, CO | USA

Innovation Lounge

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This year’s expanded lounge features emerging technologies and innovation resources, a robust lineup of programming and speakers, as well as several networking opportunities.

Returning for 2019 is the Isle Tech Pitch Competition, sponsored by Mueller Water Products, where providers of emerging technologies compete in a “Shark Tank” style competition with expert judges determining the most relevant, unique, and promising solutions.

Visit the Innovation Lounge to engage with thought leaders, progressive water utilities, and solutions providers as they share their perspectives about Innovating the Future of Water.



Innovation Lounge Program


Join Gitanjali Rao, hosted by AWWA, Isle, and water sector innovation leaders, at the opening of the ACE19 Innovation Lounge.

Moderator & Speakers:
Gitanjali Rao
David LaFrance, CEO, American Water Works Association
Piers Clark, Chairman, Isle Utilities
Randy Moore, Director of Sales, Tnemec/AWWA Innovation Initiative

An interview with Gitanjali Rao, water innovator and one of the world's most promising young scientists, is prelude to a discussion in which a diverse panel of senior water utility leaders will explore global cultures, leadership approaches, and benchmarking with respect to innovation.

Moderator: Cristina Ahmadpour, President, Isle Utilities
Speaker: Gitanjali Rao

Well-designed pilot tests inform utilities on new innovations to invest in. In addition, developing a standard pilot test format will further accelerate the adoption of new innovations. This session will cover best practices for designing pilot tests and the benefits with collaborating with other utilities to advance innovation in the water industry.

Moderator: Clifford Chan, Director of Operations and Maintenance, East Bay Municipal Utility District

Keith Tyson, Division Manager, Engineering and Environmental Services, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
Pete Schoemann, Director of Operations and Maintenance, Contra Costa Water District
Ofelia Rubio, Waterworks Engineer, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

This must-see session will include a brief update on the AWWA Innovation Initiative with an exciting announcement about the Initiative's continued growth and evaluation by Randy Moore, Innovation Initiative Co-Chair and AWWA Vice President. This is followed by an interview with Dr. Piers Clark, Chairman of Isle Utilities, presenting perspectives on innovation gathered from around the world. Dr. Clark will address concepts such as - defining innovation, measuring success, resourcing innovation, managing risk, and fostering a culture of innovation.

Randy Moore, Director of Sales, Tnemec/AWWA Innovation Initiative
Piers Clark, Chairman, Isle Utilities

Innovators require capital to realize their vision. This session examines the role of financing and funders in early-stage innovation, from investors to grantmakers. Join us for an overview of what makes a company fundable, and how the dynamics of funding water companies are changing in a panel of diverse speakers led by innovation thought leader, Tom Ferguson of Imagine H2O.

Moderator: Tom Ferguson, Vice President of Programming, Imagine H2O

Wine makers, beer brewers, and liquor distillers will discuss internal innovation programs, sustainability goals, and future opportunities

Moderator: Austa Parker, Key Account Manager, Denver Water

Kim Marotta, Head of Sustainability and Alcohol Policy, Molson Coors
Scott Leopold, CEO, Leopold Brothers
Barry Liner, Chief Technical Officer, Water Environment Federation


Solving today's water sector challenges requires critical thinking, innovative ideas, and a collaborative approach among stakeholders to break down barriers and realize results. George Hawkins, Founder and President of Moonshot Partners, hosts an engaging and thought-provoking discussion as teams from utilities, consultants, technology providers, regulators, and academia (the "Family of Five") provide innovative solutions to challenge scenarios in real time.

Moderator: Peter Kraft, Asset Management Practice Lead, The Confluence Group
Host: George Hawkins, Founder and President, Moonshot LLC
Speakers: A diverse panel of speakers representing the “Family of Five”

The Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) was formed to accelerate innovation in water and help move new water technologies and business processes into practice. LIFT works with utilities and technology providers to successfully advance innovation on a national and international level. This session highlights four successful examples from the LIFT program, including a pioneering project on Hydrothermal Processing of Wastewater Solids (HYPOWERS), the first-place winner of the 2018 LIFT Intelligent Water Systems Challenge - the Great Lakes Water Authority featuring an innovative stormwater management approach, LIFT SEE IT scholarship program winners, and LIFT International Partner - the Water Research Commission of South Africa.

Amit Pramanik, Chief Innovation and Development Officer, The Water Research Foundation
Aaron Fisher, Technology and Innovation Manager, The Water Research Foundation
Fidan Karimova, Water Technology Collaboration Manager, The Water Research Foundation

This interactive pitch competition will feature a wide range of promising, innovative technologies, who seek to make a meaningful and positive impact on the water industry. Each company will receive 7 minutes to pitch their solution to a panel of judges, followed by a Q&A. Audience members are encouraged to participate by using real-time polling. The company that exhibits the greatest business potential, uniqueness, and long-term vision will be awarded as the Isle Tech Pitch Competition Winner, announced at the end of the session.

Nicole Kaiser, Senior Client Manager, Western US, Isle Utilities
Megan Holcomb, Watershed Scientist and Community Activator, TAP IN/Colorado Water Conservation Board

Tech Pitch Companies:
Isaac Pellerin, 120 Water Audit
Dan Angelescu, Fluidion
Raphael Costa, Policontrol
Jenny Gelman, KANDO
Luca Sanfilippo, Systea
Robert Galvin, Kupferle

Urban agriculture has seen a global increase as resources in urban areas are limited and there is a demand for fresh fruits and vegetables. Panelists will speak to innovative approaches to water use such as Aquaponics and Hydroponics, challenges faced getting started and growing, and how urban ag can sustain local communities, economies, and the environment.

Jamie Yeast, Manager of Food Production, GrowHaus
Dan Goldhamer, Horticulture Extension Agent, Colorado State University

This informative panel demonstrates how the collaboration achieved by building bridges between stakeholders is applied to drive the industry forward. Panelists representing the "Family of Five" - utilities, technology providers, consultants, regulators, and academics - discuss working together to promote innovation, utilizing the Innovation Framework, and addressing permit requirements to advance potable reuse. Panelists will share stories of strife and how they turned it into a success.

Moderator: Austa Parker, Key Account Manager, Denver Water

Tyson Ingels, Lead Drinking Water Engineer, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Christina Montoya, Communications & Marketing Manager, El Paso Water
Tzahi Cath, Ben L. Fryrear Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
Allegra Da Silva, Regional One Water Leader, Brown and Caldwell

Presenters will showcase their Digital, Augmented, and/or Virtual Reality solutions, created to address sector challenges, reduce costs, engage new audiences, and drive innovation.

Chris White, Director of Technical Sales, Redzone Robotics
Jesse Rowland, Senior Business Development Manager – USA, Igloo Vision

After hearing from our presenters, test their innovative solutions in the Virtual Reality Zone in the Innovation Lounge.


Although 60% of Israel is a desert, and its demand for water is almost twice as much as its natural water resources can supply, Israel exports water to its neighbors. This is due to education, water planning and management, innovation, and reuse. As a result, Israel has 5 desalination plants that provide 80% of its water; uses drip irrigation in 75% of its irrigated fields; and treats 95% of its wastewater, reusing 86% of the treated water for agricultural purposes. In contrast, despite water scarcity in the US, water and wastewater utilities face challenges deploying new technologies to support water reuse. The goal of the Israel – US Water Initiative is to educate US water and wastewater utilities of Israeli solutions that can help solve water challenges. This panel will discuss water reuse and introduce KANDO, an Israeli technology that continuously monitors wastewater.

Moderator: Gili Elkin, General Partner, Israel-Colorado Innovation Fund

Ari Goldfarb, CEO, KANDO
Nicole Poncelet-Johnson, Director of Water Quality and Treatment, Denver Water
David Irish, District Manager, Southgate Water and Sanitation District

Learn how drones offer water and wastewater utilities new opportunities. By incorporating drone data into their facilities management operations, utilities benefit from increased worker safety, enhanced condition assessments, improved maintenance, coordinated operations, reduction in the time and effort to detect leaks, the use of thermal to survey landscapes, and better security throughout their critical infrastructure.

David Forrester, Vice President Tanks Services, Suez
Scott Aldridge, Senior Manager, Innovation and Disruptive Technologies, CDM Smith

Sewage is no longer just a dirty, smelly subject and source of pollution. As a major water resource for the future, it is essential to develop innovative technologies for wastewater reuse. The value of reuse is evident from its potential impact on public health, economic development and job growth, and sustainability. Korea is home to a resident-friendly wastewater treatment and reuse center called the ASAN wastewater and reuse center (AWRC), operated by K-water since 2016. The AWRC combines the wastewater treatment reuse processes together and is one of the most modern treatment facilities in the country, using creative design solutions to provide its 33,000 m3 of treatment capacity and providing water for industrial reuse, including LCD and OLED applications. The AWRC strives to develop the best reuse facility in Korea through technology development and operational innovation.

Speaker: Eunhee Kang, K-Water

Human exposure to microcystins has been of growing concern, especially for those who draw water from the western basin of Lake Erie. A public-private partnership comprised of Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS), Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA), Ohio Seat Grant and Limnotech through a three-year NOAA Ocean Technology Transfer grant is implementing and commercializing an integrated monitoring solution to this challenge. The team is working to integrate the prototype for real-time observing network for HABs currently operated by GLOS with new detection technologies for algal toxins and engage demonstrated operators to commit to long term use of this product. The panel will include key organizations and utility operators engaged with the annual monitoring, reporting, and dissemination of HABs data as well as representatives from the user groups affected by HABs, especially drinking water treatment plant operators.

Bryan Stubbs, Executive Director, Cleveland Water Alliance
Todd Danielson, Chief Utilities Executive, Avon Lake Regional Water
Scott Moegling, Water Quality Manager, Cleveland Water
Kelli Paige, Executive Director, Great Lakes Observing System

Thanks to the Innovation Lounge sponsors

World Water Innovation Fund

No Water No Beer Happy Hour


Tech Pitch Competition Sponsor

CDM Smith

Mixed Reality Sponsor


Mixed Reality Sponsor


Mixed Reality Sponsor

Colorado State Unitversity

Local Innovation Champion

Mazars USA

Innovation Champion


Innovation Champion

Colorado School Of Mines

Innovation Champion


No Water No Beer Koozie

Interested in sponsoring the Innovation Lounge?