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Our Team

  • Karen Rouse: Chief Executive Officer
    Qualifications: BSc(Hons), M Env St
    Karen is the CEO of Water Research Australia and brings to the role more than 20 years of experience in the water sector including water resource and environmental management, economic regulation and strategic planning within a state-wide utility, and leading the urban water research program for Australia's national science agency, CSIRO. Karen's career has seen her lead collaborative research initiatives in integrated urban water management; provide sector leadership in climate change response, and negotiate net positive environmental outcomes for wastewater treatment plant upgrades. Karen currently serves on the Board of the Global Water Research Coalition and Water Industry Alliance and is a passionate advocate for collaboration to solve wicked problems and design a better future.
  • Michelle Pfitzner: Business Manager
    Qualifications: MBA, GAICD, CPA, BComm
    Michelle manages all aspects the company's financial management in addition to WHS, risk management and policy development & review. Michelle ensures that business systems are operated effectively so that internal and external financial, contractual and administrative obligations are met. With strong finance and governance skills gained from a variety of industries, including not-for-profit and retail, Michelle brings a holistic approach to WaterRA.
  • Dr Kelly Hill: Research Manager
    Qualifications: PhD (Water Engineering), MSc (Sustainable Catchment Management), BSc Hons (Environmental Management)
    Kelly is a member of the research team and manages research projects especially relating to data science, source water quality, including cyanobacteria, pathogen fate and monitoring, sanitary surveys; and general catchment management including stormwater aspects. Working closely with our utility and research partners she facilitates delivery of high quality and effective research to enable efficiencies and greater understanding of current and future challenges for our membership. With an established background in environmental science and catchment management from the UK, and a stormwater engineering PhD, Kelly brings both specialist knowledge of research practice and catchment management to the research team, as well as expertise and interest across other areas of the business.
  • Dr Christobel Ferguson: Research Manager
    Qualifications: Qualifications: PhD (Water quality modelling), MSc (Environmental Science), BAppSc (Biomedicine), GAICD
    Christobel brings over 25 years' experience in the water sector to her role as Research Manager within the Research Services team. She is a skilled Project Director and Manager with expertise in forming interdisciplinary technical teams to investigate emerging issues of concern including microbial and chemical contaminants, digital disruption and technology implementation. Throughout her career Christobel has contributed to strengthening collaboration across the water sector, including through serving as a Director of the Australian Water Association from 2005 to 2009 and as a member of expert panels for international water research agencies. She will be managing Phase 2 of the Value of Research project to assist members to assess the value of their investment in water research and technology.
  • Dr Arash Zamyadi: Research Manager
    Qualifications: PhD (Civil Engineering), MSc (Agricultural Environmental Engineering)
    Arash has over 14 years of experience working with academics, government agencies, utilities and industry partners in Australia, Canada and the United States to tackle water treatment challenges. He brings to WaterRA his research expertise in how climate change and harmful algal blooms affect water treatment, removal of combined microbial and chemical contaminants, and reuse opportunities. Arash has been leading and managing projects funded by WaterRA, the Australian Research Council, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Water Research Foundation. He has a strong publication record and has frequently been invited to make keynote speeches and conference presentations across the world. He actively volunteers in the water community and contributes as a member of the Australian Water Association, American Water Works Association (AWWA), an International Water Association (IWA) Fellow, and Co-Chief Editor of Water Quality Research Journal, and Guest Editor of a MDPI Water Special Issue.
  • Dr Kathy Northcott: Research Manager
    Qualifications: BEng Hons (Chemical), FIChemE
    Kathy is a chartered chemical engineer and fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), with over 22 years' experience predominantly in the water sector. In her role as Research Manager within the Research Services team, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in water, wastewater and recycled water technologies, water quality risk assessment and management, and dealing with the challenges of emerging contaminants. In addition to her industry experience, Kathy has a strong background in research. She has a solid publication record in areas such as contaminated sites management, advanced water recycling, treatment technologies, water quality risk management and technical training and development. An accomplished science communicator, Kathy is regularly called upon to speak at meetings, seminars and forums on a range of technical and scientific issues relevant to the water industry. Working closely with our utility and research partners she facilitates delivery of high-quality and effective research to enable efficiencies and greater understanding of current and future challenges for our membership.
  • Carolyn Bellamy: Research Capability Manager
    Qualifications: DipCounselling
    Carolyn manages the Research Leadership Program which provides our membership with professional development opportunities throughout all phases of a professional career with a focus on research, leadership and innovation mindset. Carolyn has over 20 years experience in the water industry with a strong focus on building capability and capacity for WaterRA members and the Program having successfully retained a high number of students within the water sector. With an established background in psychology and counselling, Carolyn brings a wide variety of skills and expertise to the team.
  • Mark Andersson: Engagement and Marketing Manager
    Qualifications: BPsy, MMkt
    Mark leads the engagement and marketing team managing the WaterRA brand, member engagement and offerings, and business development opportunities. He works closely with members, trusted partners and external stakeholders to enhance member benefits and build upon the strength of the WaterRA community. With a strong background in strategic marketing, events and engagement, Mark brings member-focussed expertise to the team.
  • Kathryn Nicholas: Communications Lead
    Qualifications: BMedia, MAJournalism
    As a member of the marketing and engagement team, Kathryn manages all aspects of communications, media relations and digital content from development to implementation. She works closely with members and external stakeholders to enhance promotion of WaterRA and delivery of its key events. With an established background in journalism, digital media and strategic communications as well as stakeholder engagement, Kathryn brings a wide variety of expertise to the team.
  • Mia Luke: Accounts Assistant
    Qualifications: BInfTech
    Mia is responsible for supporting the company’s financial team. Mia assists with payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable to ensure all financial obligations are met in a timely manner. With strong bookkeeping skills gained from diverse industries, including construction, telecommunications and medicine, Mia brings financial support to the team.