An interview with Amy Jensen, Director of Finance & Operations


What drew you to The Water Council?
It was actually a presentation that Rich Meeusen gave at Rotary sometime last fall that completely opened my eyes to what The Water Council is doing.  In all honesty, I had thought of it as more or less another way to ‘brand’ Milwaukee. I was truly inspired when Rich spoke with such passion and vision about the long connection to water in Milwaukee, and about what the City could actually mean to the world with this incredibly unique synergy between companies, universities and entrepreneurs. Months later when a colleague forwarded the job posting my way, I knew I had to give it a closer look and I am very glad I did.

As a side note, after twenty years in arts management, the shift may seem a bit surprising on the surface of it. But considering that my first undergraduate degree was in Geological Sciences (from UW-Milwaukee, by the way), I feel as though my work life is coming full circle.

What are you most looking forward to working on at The Water Council?
The list is much too long and varied for me to choose one thing.  Right now, I’m really enjoying the fact that I need to be ready for just about anything – new or expanding programs (Alliance for Water Stewardship, pilot projects, seminars, seed funding), new facilities (the potential of Global Water Center 2) and a new online water industry platform to name just a few.  Figuring out how I can best support and contribute to each of these initiatives will keep me busy for quite some time.

What would you like to accomplish in your new role?
In the short term, the first key accomplishment will be putting the systems, policies and structures in place to be prepared for the kind of growth and new opportunities that The Water Council is primed to experience in the very near future. The Water Council already has a terrific team and my goal is to provide the support and resources to enable them to thrive and function at top efficiency and capacity.

In the longer run, I look forward to getting a grasp on the extremely varied elements that comprise the water industry and helping to support the development of new businesses and technologies critical to the future of freshwater globally. Ultimately, my overarching goal is to help The Water Council to always be ready to embrace the next important opportunity.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lean Customer Development seminar with Cindy Alvarez

The Water Council will host esteemed author Cindy Alvarez in a morning lecture on Lean Customer Development this Thursday! Registration closes at 5pm tomorrow; limited seating available, don’t wait!

Cindy Alvarez_2015_Public

Join us for this valuable “Lean” workshop!  Cindy Alvarez will teach about Lean Customer Development strategies and provide guidance on how to ask questions and put aside assumptions in order to rigorously validate ideas. You will learn the value of differentiating customer ‘wants’ from ‘needs’ and building constant learning into your product development culture.

During the session you will learn to:

  • Increase you next product’s chance of success.
  • Help your organization move faster and work smarter.
  • Validate your market or product idea to maximize your efforts.

lrgCindy Alvarez is the author of Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy. After seeing many organizations struggle, she wrote Lean Customer Development as practical, hands-on guide to effectively talk to customers. Through the tactics in the book, organizations will learn how to rigorously validate their ideas, differentiate customer ‘wants’ from ‘needs’, and build constant learning into their product development culture.

Cindy’s career has focused on interaction design, customer research, and product management for both startups and Fortune 500 companies. In her current role she runs user experience and product design for Yammer (a Microsoft company) and evangelizes lean tactics throughout the company as part of Microsoft’s UX Leadership Team.

May 21, 2015
Registration/Coffee/Introductions 8:00 – 8:30 AM
Workshop 8:30 – 11:30 AM

UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences
Room #3080
600 E. Greenfield Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53204


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reed Street Yards Water Feature Set for Start Up

Reed Street Yards Green

The state-of-the-art water filtration demonstration project at Reed Street Yards is set to start its first season of operation.  The lively water feature pumps dirty canal water through a Watertronics Portable Ultra-Filtration unit, aerates it through a series of cascading streams, then delivers clean water back into the Menomonee Canal.  The system cleans 15,000 gallons of canal water each day using ultra-filtration technology to clean the water to the 0.01 micron (virus) level.  The system incorporates triple redundancy using UF filtration, UV light and residual chlorine disinfection.   This demonstration project is intended to showcase state-of-the-art water filtration technology that can be used for disaster relief, surface water clarification, well water clarification, Cryptosporidium and Giardia removal and wastewater reuse.

The water feature contains four major thematic elements that bring the canal water through the cleaning process:  first, canal water is pumped from through the Watertronics UF filtration unit and into a 5,000 gallon storage cistern.  The water is then time-released into a standing pool at the top of the water feature.  On a regular basis, the standing pool is emptied into a series of pools and streams as a “storm event,” causing water to dramatically surge through the system.  The stream tumbles and aerates the water, adding oxygen to system before returning to the canal as clean, potable water.

The water feature will allow visitors to the Global Water Center and Reed Street Yards to witness cutting edge water filtration in a fun and educational way. The water feature will run continuously from May 1 to October 15 each year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NET ZERO MILITARY BASES – At the Nexus of National Security & Water

As the relentless acceleration of global energy and water use continues unabated, effective resource conservation has become connected to national security priorities and global stabilization.

Net Zero Military Bases – at the Nexus of National Security & Water
June 24, 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

RADM Steve Smith USN (Ret.), Director of Disaster Planning & Risk Management, U.S. Small Business Administration (D.C.)
Mark Sales, CEO, Greyter Water Systems (Canada)
Marianna DeMyer, CEO, Roving Blue, Inc. (Wisconsin)
Chip Laingen, Commander U.S. Navy (Ret.) and Executive Director of Defense Alliance (Minnesota)

As a result of the relentless acceleration of global energy and water use, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) “Net Zero” initiative for its bases is an industry standard for programs that procure water technology and incentivize technology improvements. DoD’s needs for water in operational settings is driving further technology gains.  Learn how DoD is responding to a challenging water future, and working with industry to achieve its goals. Understand some of the global challenges and possible opportunities for commercial engagement.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn how you could work with the Department of Defense!

Register HERE for Water Summit 2015!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

May 2015 Q2 Member Meeting Recap

May 6 marked the second Quarterly Member Meeting of 2015! Thank you to our hosts the Milwaukee Bucks for the accommodation and to Bango for aiding in a very engaging Water Council member meeting.

Milwaukee Bucks Welcome Blue
After nine years of red and green, the team colors of the Milwaukee Bucks have taken a turn to reflect the state they come from. Ted Loehrke and Marc Malterer of the Milwaukee Bucks gave Water Council Members an inside look at their new logo and its rich meaning. New colors: Cream City Cream, Great Lakes Blue and Good Land Green represent more than a surface glance of Wisconsin, they pull from the landscape, architecture and history of the state. Good Land Green is a hallmark of the Bucks brand and symbolic of the state’s dense forests and rich agricultural industry. The cream mirrors the Cream City brick original to Milwaukee Architecture.

milwaukee_bucks_logo_tertiary_detailLast, and most exciting to The Water Council and its members, is Great Lakes Blue. Reserved for use in the third logo, a rendering of Wisconsin, it defines where water borders the state and has been forecasted as a potential home game jersey color. The incorporation of blue underlies the importance of 15K inland lakes, 84k river miles and the Great Lakes which have helped define Wisconsin and Milwaukee’s industrial history and are now propelling a new economy forward. The integration of Great Lakes Blue is further testament to Milwaukee’s emerging water-driven industry.



KEYNOTE: Making Connections Overseas – World Water Forum in Korea
South Korea, a country long overshadowed by bustling China and Japan, is now looking at accelerating its own economy by adding their name to the list of global water clusters. After the Ministry of Environment budgeted $330 Million (USD), South Korea began a global search for the best example of what they would like to accomplish, alas discovering The Water Council and the Wisconsin water cluster.

They called upon Julia Taylor, President of the Greater Milwaukee Committee & Water Council Board Member, Preston Cole, Deputy Commissioner of the Department for Public Works for the City of Milwaukee, and Dr. Woo-Jin Chang, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UW-Milwaukee, to provide insight into ‘the secret sauce’ that makes the Wisconsin water cluster truly great. Taylor, Cole, and Dr. Chang discussed the success of public/private partnerships within the Global Water Center and southeast Wisconsin, and the potential for Water Council members to expand into South Korea’s opening market.


Already, over 200 water companies from around the world have agreed to set up offices in Daegu City, South Korea and kick-start their cluster. With a well-funded, middle-class market, the benefits come not only from what lies inside their borders, but also from the surrounding Chinese, Japanese, and Russian Markets, creating an enticing prospect for companies looking to expand into the Korean market.

Creating A One Water Region
Water Summit 2015 is just over a month away! Delegates will be flying in from across the world to expand on this year’s theme “One Water.” Dean Amhaus, The Water Council President & CEO, debriefed on “One Water,” a topic that will soon move from an idea in the periphery to a necessary movement in propelling the water industry forward. The key focus of this topic removes the notion of dividing storm water, wastewater, and energy utilities into separate silos, but rather how they should move to an integrated support system. As the time urgently approaches for U.S infrastructure to be replaced, now is the time to be thinking about a “One Water Region” and putting this concept into action.

Join us at Water Summit 2015 to elevate your business! New this year, attendees can easily connect and schedule meetings ahead of time with ‘Meeting Mojo’ an online scheduling software set to launch in the coming weeks.

Marketing Update
As The Water Council pushes forward with a new website, the integration of a Water Network Map takes center stage! The Network Map will be a useful resource that promotes Water Council Members with a business profile to visitors around the world, while also showcasing the vast reach of our Member network. How can members engage? Each primary contact has the opportunity to fill out a survey providing current information that The Water Council can use to visually show the strength of the Wisconsin water cluster. Stay tuned for more information on the new website due to launch this fall! To participate in the survey, and ensure your company is represented in the Network Map, contact Isaiah Perez, Member Services & Development Coordinator, at

Center of Excellence- Opportunities to Grow and Expand Your Small Business!
In May The Water Council’s Center of Excellence for Small Business will host two workshops, the first focused on Lean Customer Development with esteemed author Cindy Alvarez on May 21, and later a webinar highlighting water technology opportunities with the Department of Defense. In the summer months, ExporTech for Water Tech, a three month export focused seminar, presents a unique scale-up opportunity for small and medium sized businesses.

Roxanne Baumann of the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) discussed how in the past 10 years, Southeastern Wisconsin experienced a 6% decline in domestic sales but a 6% growth in exports, suggesting the success of these companies depends on finding new markets outside of the U.S. After taking the ExporTech seminar, graduates have achieved sales increases averaging $900,000 in 6-9 months after completion. Further details on ExporTech can be found here. Interested in signing up for the program? Contact Karen Frost, Small Business Program Manager, at


Talent and Education Committee Update
The Water Council’s Talent and Education Committee has made many advances in the past few months by reaching out to youth and connecting them with water industry leaders. This year their primary focus will be on connecting students with internship opportunities. Internships offer low overhead with high reward for companies looking to bring on new talent. Looking to bring an intern onto your team? Contact Elizabeth Thelen Tap into the monthly Tide newsletter for more opportunities to engage.

What’s BREWing?
BREW Batch 2 winners have exceeded expectations over the closing months of the accelerator program’s second year. Cadens LLC, a hydro-technology company, received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant for their work, and first BREW winner to receive such an award. Pellucid Water, another BREW Batch 2 startup, has advanced into the final 12 companies competing in the WI Governor’s Business Plan Contest. BREW resources expand as UW-Madison Law Clinic will host office hours at the Global Water Center, utilizing grad students to aid in legal services, consulting, and market need assessments. The next round of cutting edge water technology startups will be unleashed within the Global Water Center when BREW Batch 3 winners are announced during Water Summit 2015!

Q2_2015_6A huge thank you to the Milwaukee Bucks for hosting a great Quarterly Meeting! Save the date for our Q3 Member Meeting hosted by ABB on Wednesday, September 9th, more details to come!

Click here for the full slide presentation.

Interested in joining The Water Council? Please contact Isaiah Perez, Member Services & Development Coordinator, at

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Water Council Hires Matt Howard as New Director of Alliance for Water Stewardship, North America

M Howard Headshot 3 2013MILWAUKEE, May 14, 2015 – The Water Council announced yesterday that Matt Howard has been hired as the first Director of the Alliance for Water Stewardship, North America. Last June, the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), a global collaboration of leaders in sustainable water resource management, announced The Water Council as the North American headquarters of AWS.

Matt Howard, who has served the City of Milwaukee as the Sustainability Director for the last five years, will begin working for The Water Council on June 8. As the Director of AWS North America, Howard will lead the development of The Water Council’s stewardship and sustainability initiatives.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the dynamic team at The Water Council. Water put Milwaukee on the map and now The Water Council and AWS North America will ensure the city’s flag is the global epicenter for water sustainability thought leadership and manufacturing,” Howard said. “We’ve taken fresh water for granted too long. When implemented at sites across North America, the new AWS Standard will change water stewardship for generations.”

The Alliance for Water Stewardship ( is a multi-stakeholder international organization dedicated to enhancing water stewardship capacity, and guiding, incentivizing and differentiating responsible water use. AWS’s programs are designed to build capacity and provide a forum through which knowledge on water stewardship can be generated, accessed and shared, helping organizations and communities address our shared water challenges. At the heart of the program is the stakeholder-endorsed AWS Standard.

In 2010, Mayor Tom Barrett appointed Howard to position Milwaukee as a leader in environmental sustainability and performance in the 21st Century. In his role with the City, Howard has developed programs and policies that cut costs and promote the long-term sustainability of businesses, residents and municipal operations. Howard helped raise $100 million for City initiatives, oversaw programs that improved over 1,300 homes and 200 businesses in Milwaukee all while stimulating over $30 million in economic activity. He also led the development and release of Milwaukee’s first sustainability plan called ReFresh Milwaukee.

Previously, Howard created a national Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative while with the U.S. Department of Commerce, researched patents and innovation for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and served a special assignment at the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

“We are extremely pleased to have Matt join our team as we help locations address their water issues through innovative technologies and novel water management approaches,” stated Dean Amhaus, president & CEO of The Water Council. “With the Western half of the United States seeking solutions for the ongoing drought Matt’s talents and experience could not come at a more important and pressing time.”

With nearly two decades of policy development, Howard is a LEED Green Associate and has his Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification. He graduated from The George Washington University with an M.A. in International Economic and Trade Policy and currently serves as an appointee on the federal government’s National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Water Technology R&D Opportunities with the DoD Webinar

Join The Water Council, Defense Alliance, and TechLink, for a free, one-hour informational webinar on Department of Defense (DoD) R&D funding opportunities for innovations in water-related technologies.

shutterstock_31380424In this webinar, you’ll learn about specific opportunities with DoD, how to find them, and how to more effectively approach them.  You’ll also learn how to actively engage with Defense laboratories, how to cost-effectively access technologies developed in those labs, and how to become a Defense “insider” to be better positioned for long-term Defense and government contracting success.


Ray Friesenhahn is SBIR and Technology Transition Manager for TechLink, and an Advanced Technology Scout for MilTech, a separate DoD Partnership Intermediary.  He’s been assisting companies nationwide in winning SBIR/STTR for over 15 years, receiving a 2007 National Tibbetts Award for individual SBIR service.  He was previously a technology transfer manager supporting NASA, and had ten years as a Defense industry scientist and engineer, along with start-up business experience.  Ray is a former physicist, with an MBA (entrepreneurship), and is a Certified Licensing Professional.

Karen Frost is the Small Business Program Manager for The Water Council, which is developing a Center of Excellence for Freshwater Innovation and Small Business Development.  Karen has an extensive background in economic development.

TechLink is DoD’s primary national Partnership Intermediary, and a partner with Defense Alliance, that has helped small businesses win hundreds of millions in R&D funding, and helped companies with new technology development resulting in well over $3 billion in economic impacts.  DoD spends billions on R&D, with over $1.5 billion annually that’s exclusively and/or preferentially for small businesses R&D, and with many opportunities relevant to Water Council members.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, this week welcomed The Water Council to the OPIC Partners Program. The Milwaukee-based Water Council aligns the world’s freshwater industry and research communities to promote access to water technology and innovation as a key pillar of economic development.

As a participant in the OPIC Partners Program, The Water Council can connect its network of globally-minded, U.S.-based innovators with OPIC’s unique development finance tools and four decades of development finance experience leveraging U.S. business growth in global emerging markets.

To inaugurate the partnership, the two organizations co-hosted a seminar on April 28 at the Global Water Center in Milwaukee for small businesses seeking to enter international markets. The seminar provided education on OPIC products and services to enable U.S. business growth in developing countries.

“We are excited to join OPIC’s Partners Program in an effort to present further opportunities for our members to foster economic development in overseas emerging markets,” said Dean Amhaus, president and  CEO of The Water Council. “Wisconsin is truly one of the world’s most significant hubs for water research and industry. As water technology exports increase, OPIC will be a great resource for our companies.”

“Partnering with forward-thinking groups like The Water Council allows OPIC to better carry out our mission of catalyzing the private sector for life-improving global development impact,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “The Water Council’s promotion of the intrepid work in the U.S. clean water access sector aligns with OPIC’s goal to show what American business innovation can achieve when it turns its attention to global development. I look forward to the products of this partnership.”

The only organization of its kind in the United States, The Water Council is capturing the attention of the world and transforming the Milwaukee region into a World Water Hub for freshwater research, economic development and education.

OPIC offers U.S. businesses financing and political risk insurance to enable their growth in developing markets. OPIC’s mission is to catalyze private capital as a tool for global development by leveraging investment in high impact sectors like healthcare, renewable energy, food security, housing for the poor and clean water access. Partnership with The Water Council will allow businesses and researchers in the water sector to learn about how OPIC tools can help them realize progress in their business ventures.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


startup-593296_1280Veolia, The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation announce mentorship program to attract entrepreneurs 

MILWAUKEE,  April 16, 2015 –  Veolia, The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation have reached an agreement to launch a national competition to support entrepreneurship and economic development while fostering sustainability efforts in the field of water.

Veolia and the two organizations agreed to work together to develop a new, two-year program called “POW!  emPowering Opportunities in Water.” The joint program will provide a special opportunity for innovators and social entrepreneurs to fast-track water-related ideas that can improve sustainability and resiliency efforts in the field of water.

Under the parameters of the agreement, Veolia and The Water Council would issue a nationwide challenge to entrepreneurs and startup companies revolving around specific areas of interest. Startups that have the highest likelihood of solving the challenge, will be chosen to enter the program.

“It’s great news that the major international water company, Veolia, selected Milwaukee to house its entrepreneurship program and this further validates that southeastern Wisconsin is the nation’s home of water technology commercialization and entrepreneurship,” Governor Scott Walker said.  “In recent years, Milwaukee has seen a dramatic increase in the number of startups attracted to the Global Water Center, and we are pleased to develop this program with a global leader in optimized resource management.”

Submission guidelines and further details about the “POW!” program will be announced soon.

“This program provides a great opportunity for emerging water-technology companies to take the next step by partnering with The Water Council and the technical experts at Veolia,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “WEDC is very pleased to be part of this partnership.”

“We are thrilled to be working with Veolia on a major entrepreneurship project,” said Dean Amhaus, The Water Council’s President & CEO, who signed a memorandum of understanding in Paris with Laurent Auguste, Veolia’s Senior Executive Vice President Innovation and Markets. “Milwaukee is truly the home of water technology and water entrepreneurship in the US, as seen by the increasing number of startups that have been attracted to the Global Water Center since its opening.”

About Veolia

Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 179,000 employees* worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them. In 2014, the Veolia group supplied 96 million people with drinking water and 60 million people with wastewater service, produced 52 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 31 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of $29.6 billion* in 2014.

(*) 2014 pro-forma figures, including Dalkia International (100%) and excluding Dalkia France. 

About Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), formed in 2011 as a public-private entity, leads economic development efforts for the state and nurtures business growth and job creation by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. Visit or follow WEDC on Twitter @InWisconsin to learn more.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Early Bird Ends TODAY!

Early Bird Registration Closing4
Save $50 dollars by registering today! Early bird registration closes at midnight. Don’t wait! More information on registration and other Water Summit information can be found HERE.

Do you live outside the Milwaukee area? Are you looking to stay in the downtown area for easy access to the Water Summit? Book your hotel NOW! The Rolling Stones have been announced to play at Summerfest the night of June 23rd  and downtown hotel rooms are booking up fast.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment