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Clean, Safe, and Sustainable: The City’s Water


Seyi Fabode
Varuna, CEO & CoFounder

Seyi has more than 16 years of experience developing, deploying and investing in technology solutions for the utility industry. Prior to founding Varuna, Seyi spent several years consulting with the leading utilities in the US and in emerging markets on their technology strategy and product development. This came after founding, raising venture capital, hiring an amazing team for and eventually selling Power2Switch, the leading retail energy marketplace technology company. Prior to this, he worked in operations and software development for a 1000MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Power Plant in London serving 500k residents of the city. Seyi has an MBA from the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago, and an MSc in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Warwick University in the UK.

Jonathan Quarles
SolAir Water Inc, Founder & CEO

Jonathan Quarles is a strategic leader, visionary and change maker. A serial entrepreneur, he started his first business as the top-selling paperboy in the neighborhood at the age of 8. Twenty-nine years later, Jonathan has started and grown more than 10 businesses, ranging from a design custom T-Shirt business to creative printing company. He is an avid angel investor, setting his sights particularly on innovative value-add companies.

Jonathan infused his passions for entrepreneurship and service with his business acumen and operational effectiveness to establish The BTL Group. As Founder and CEO, he helped transform both private and public sector organizations through the elevation of their financial and social impacts. One of the country’s most well-known connectors, Jonathan has developed and managed strategic partnerships for multi-billion-dollar corporations and social impact organizations alike, while also positioning them for sustainable growth. He has driven more than $20 million in net new revenue and raised more than $200 million for not-for-profits, earning him a place as one of the most sought-after advisors for securing local, state and federal funding and identifying revenue growth opportunities for high-growth innovative companies.

Through his interactions with government officials, advocacy experts, scholars, and diplomats, Jonathan has successfully gained public diplomacy skills, while serving as a spokesperson for the United States of America. In 2018, Jonathan developed a strategic partnership with Meridian International (U.S. State Department Program) to form ENVEST (Entrepreneurs Investing In Change). ENVEST benefits marginalized populations, targeting women and youth in developing and global emerging markets. Local aspiring and established entrepreneurs are equipped with tools to train remote communities in business and financial fundamentals. ENVEST works directly with local entrepreneurial experts and their communities to build customized programs to help with the launch and growth of their companies.

As a native of Flint, Michigan, Jonathan took a personal interest in the water contamination crisis plaguing his hometown. In response, he took it upon himself to craft a solution, founding SolAir Water Inc., a premium water cultivated from the latest in innovative technologies. Jonathan chose SOURCE, a solar-powered drinking water solution, as SolAir’s water supplier. He
recognized the value of SOURCE’s first-of-its-kind renewable water technology that harvests water solely from sunlight and fresh air. No electricity and no pipes. It’s a solution that puts water quality ahead of all else, while offsetting harmful CO2 within our environment.

Jonathan started SolAir to bring fresh water to the city’s residents and provide much-needed jobs, while also bringing about a positive environmental impact and a recurring source of funding for water improvement. With a goal to help fund life-changing water projects within the community, Jonathan designed SolAir to provide a revenue share earmarked for a dedicated Flint Water Fund that will support a variety of water related projects for Flint residents.

Jonathan’s life mission is to eradicate poverty by empowering business ownership and collective economics.

Erin Autin
Zpryme, Director, Research Programs

As Director of Research Programs, Erin Autin manages Zpryme’s research & content team and serves as a client liaison for all research efforts. She also helps develop event and webinar content focused on emerging technologies for utilities and vendors.

Prior to joining Zpryme in 2016, Erin worked at the Texas General Land Office, where she coordinated the U.S. – Mexico Border Energy Forum, an annual bi-national conference focusing on cross-border energy issues.

Erin started her career as a research specialist at RW Armstrong, an engineering and management consulting firm, where she worked on several airport management projects.

Erin holds a Master’s degree in International Business and a B.S. in Business Administration, both from the University of Florida.

Suzanne Scott
San Antonio River Authority, General Manager

Suzanne Scott began her career with the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) in May 2000 and was appointed General Manager in September 2007.  Scott is responsible to an elected Board of Directors, directs SARA’s programs and projects and manages the agency’s annual budget.  She oversees and works with a talented staff including engineers, scientists, environmental managers, field crews and a host of other professionals to extend SARA’s environmental leadership, stewardship and expertise and to broaden appreciation for the San Antonio River and its ecosystem.

Under Scott’s leadership, SARA has advanced its mission to inspire actions for healthy creeks and rivers within the San Antonio River Watershed by working closely with a multitude of governmental partners, citizen stakeholders and private sector contributors.

She has led the agency’s efforts to plan, develop and secure funding for the $384 million San Antonio

River Improvements Project in Bexar County to enhance access to and restoration of 13 miles of the San Antonio River.  The project has added miles of hike, bike, and paddling trails to the river, while restoring the environment and creating more appreciation and value from this treasured natural resource. The completion of the river’s restoration served as a key factor for the nomination and inscription of the San Antonio Missions as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2015.  The restoration of the river has also been a catalyst for the investment by Bexar County and the City of San Antonio in the creation of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park which, in addition to providing enhanced flood control and revitalizing the natural habitat, will also reconnect the community to a place of great historical significance through the creation of a world class linear park that reflects the unique culture of Bexar County. The legacy of investment in the San Antonio River was recently recognized with the San Antonio River’s receipt of the prestigious Thiess (sounds like peace-“Teace”) International RiverPrize.

Scott is equally proud of the lasting improvements SARA has made in the health and appreciation of the San Antonio River through its nationally-accredited water quality laboratory; the creation of nature parks and paddling trails throughout the agency’s four-county district; the development and implementation of flood mitigation projects; and water quality improvements to promote sustainability throughout the San Antonio River Basin and the district’s lead role in advocating for and funding projects to increase use of Low Impact Development and other sustainable stormwater management practices.

Scott was raised in San Antonio very near the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and the San Antonio River.  Her love for the natural, historical and cultural resources of San Antonio and a strong desire to connect the community to these resources have inspired her throughout her 30 year career in the public sector.

In the wake of the Flint Water Crisis and chemical contamination of water throughout the country, municipal  leaders, water utilities, and businesses are working to build a safer water infrastructure system. How can cities leverage new technologies to ensure that they can sustainably deliver clean water to their communities?