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Water: Access, Supply, and Sustainability: Symposium Speakers

Supplement to the 3-part virtual forum, Oct. 27-29, 2020


Flooded street in Kansas City, MO, July 2017
(source: KMUW; Brian Grimmett/KS News Service)

Turkey Creek Waterfall Park in Merriam, Kansas

John Redmond Dam in Coffee County, KS
(source: USGS)

Speakers: Moderator & Day 1

(photo: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Dr. Gallo's work in oceanic exploration is well known.  He co-led an expedition to create the first comprehensive map of the RMS Titanic. He's also working to locate the wreckage of Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the HMS Endurance.  He's currently Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives and Programs at RMS Titanic Inc., and is a member of movie director James Cameron’s Deep Ocean Task Force.


(photo: Aspen Institute Global Innovators Group)

The Navajo Water Project is an Indigenous-led enterprise of the Navajo Nation. It works to bring hot and cold running water to homes without access to water or sewer lines.  The Project creates high-paying jobs, many with benefits like 100% employer-paid health coverage. It's the first system of its kind in the United States.


Photo of S Roy

(photo:Virginia Tech University)

Siddhartha Roy is an environmental engineer who has spent years studying failures in drinking water infrastructure (leaky pipes).  He is a founding member of the Virginia Tech research team that helped uncover the city's water crisis in 2014-15.  The group's efforts led to the declaration of a national “Public Health Emergency” by President Barack Obama, launching a national conversation on safe drinking water.  

Flint Water Study website: 


Selected Publications:

* = available in print at Linda Hall Library

Photo of Tracy Streeter

(photo: Kansas Rural Water Association)

Tracy Streeter served 14 years as director of the Kansas Water Office (KWO). He brings 33 years of experience to his work at Burns & McDonnell, where he provides consulting and project development support for water resource agencies and municipalities.


Photoof G White


Gary White co-founded with actor Matt Damon in 2009.  The organization enhances the health and livelihoods of more than one-third of the global population, simply by bringing clean water and sanitation facilities to their homes and/or communities. reached its first million people in 2012.

Gary holds degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  


Speakers: Day 2 & Keynote

Photo of Terry Leeds

(photo: NACWA)

Terry Leeds is a Civil Engineer with 28 years experience in the water industry. He started his engineering career with Black & Veatch, working on water/wastewater projects as a design engineer and project engineer. In 1995, he began working for the Water Services Department of Kansas City, holding various positions including Manager of the City’s Overflow Control Program. Leeds became the Director of KC Water Services in 2012. 


(photo: Drake University)

Amahia Mallea is an Associate Professor of History at Drake University. Her first book,  A River in the City of Fountains (2018) focuses on the "Environmental History of Kansas City and the Missouri River". The two are connected in a sometimes complimentary, sometimes adversarial relationship through economic, environmental, public health, political and public planning concerns.  Mallea earned her doctorate in 2006 from the University of Missouri, focusing on environmental history.



Photo of Sandra Postel

(photo: National Biodiversity Teach-In)

In her role as the founding director of the Global Water Policy Project, Sandra Postel works to bridge science, policy and practice to build a more water-secure world for people and nature.  Postel is a leading authority and prolific author on international water issues, and has been hailed for her “inspiring, innovative and practical approach” to promoting the preservation and sustainable use of freshwater.


* = available in print at Linda Hall Library


  • Sandra Postel: Troubled Waters, Nat Geo Live (2013; 14:37. Click image below)

Photo of Jon Stephens

(photo: Kansas City Business Journal)

Jon Stephens is an economic development professional who has built a reputation for creativity and collaboration. He currently serves as President and CEO of Port KC (formerly the KC Port Authority), an organization that exists to grow the Kansas City economy through advancing transportation, logistics, and revitalization.


Lecture Resources

Subject-related monographs; curated by Shannon Stipe, Research Specialist