Announcement from the CEO: WaterRA staff changes

April 2, 2019

In the coming month there will be some significant changes to the Water Research Australia team. Our Senior Research Manager, Claire McInnes, will be leaving the organisation to take up a great opportunity to return to her 'aviation roots' in a new engineering role at Boeing Defence Australia. Her last day with WaterRA will be Friday April 12th, 2019 but rest assured Claire and the team are working hard to ensure that there is a smooth handover of projects, and that members are not impacted by her departure.

Those of you who know Claire will however realise that she will be sorely missed for her unique personal qualities, not least her genuine interest in people, scientific curiosity and ability to bring levity to the most technical of workshops.

From an operational perspective, for the last seven years Claire has been responsible for managing projects in drinking water, recycled water and wastewater, which have included research into customers, cyanobacteria, cryptosporidium, climate change adaptation, ecotoxicology, operators, risk frameworks, stormwater and wastewater discharge. More recently, Claire played a significant role in establishing WaterRA’s current business model and has been involved with The Value of Research project – a key initiative of WaterRA and urgently required by the water industry to extract value from their research investment. Claire's contribution to WaterRA's success has been immense and we thank her for that, noting that her successor will have large shoes to fill!

WaterRA has appointed two new Research Managers, Dr Kathy Northcott (ongoing) and Dr Christobel Ferguson (six-month contract), who together have over 40 years of industry experience.

Kathy, a chemical engineer, has had a range of both industrial and research roles in the water, gas and power industries. She has experience in development of robust and reliable water treatment solutions for remote, regional and industrial sites, to address a range of water quality issues. In addition to her industry experience, Kathy has been involved in technical training and competency development including: water quality risk management, membrane separations, water treatment residuals management, ozone, biofiltration, adsorption and ion exchange.

Christobel’s background in microbiology has seen her work in a variety of industries including water, environment, food, biotechnology, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. She has experience as a Project Director and Project Manager with more than ten years leading a consulting team servicing the water and environment sector. She also spent more than five years managing a portfolio of research projects for Actew Water, with specific focus on addressing emerging issues of concern including microbial and chemical contaminants and asset management. More recently her focus has been the management of interdisciplinary technical teams to solve complex problems in the consulting, research and government sectors.

The Board and staff of WaterRA wish Claire all the best in her new role and thank her for her passion and commitment to the organisation over the past six years. We look forward to having Christobel and Kathy join our team over the coming weeks and work alongside our Board, staff and members to continue to drive our collaborative research model and ensure we advance the science behind water to ensure its safety, security and sustainability.

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