Chris French will expand programming and help establish the organization's newly launched Stormwater Institute
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) announced that Chris French has joined the organization as its new director of storm water programs. French will use his more than 15 years of water sector experience to expand this core competency area for WEF and guide the efforts of the WEF Stormwater Institute, a recently launched center of excellence that provides national leadership for sustainable storm water management.
“WEF is very fortunate to find someone of Chris’s caliber to continue growing our storm water programs and help establish the WEF Stormwater Institute as a leading facilitator of knowledge exchange and innovation in this increasingly important part of the water sector,” said WEF executive director Eileen O’Neill. “His appointment is a sign of our continued commitment to raising the profile of storm water issues and supporting those responsible for effectively and sustainably managing it here in North America and beyond.”
Having worked with storm water and watershed management issues for nearly two decades, French brings an extensive background from both the public and private sectors. In addition to his most recent position as the regional regulatory manager for Contech Engineered Solutions, he has previously held positions with government agencies such as the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality; non-governmental agencies such as the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay; and has served on committees and advisory boards of several national and community-based organizations, including his former position as the government affairs and regulatory committee chair for the Stormwater Equipment and Manufacturer’s Assn.
“As a volunteer and member, I have always admired and respected the expertise and impactful contributions that WEF makes to the water sector,” French said. “I have seen first-hand the organization’s unique ability to pull together thought leaders and mobilize conversations about the value of water and the need for broad-based storm water solutions. I’m honored to have this new opportunity and look forward helping WEF develop and guide its national and international storm water initiatives.”
French will increase the depth of WEF's storm water focus through member, stakeholder and practitioner engagement to help identify technical and policy needs as well as develop commensurate programming and products. He will also immediately continue the efforts and output of the WEF Stormwater Institute by completing findings that he started as a member of the Stormwater Testing and Evaluation for Products and Practices (STEPP) Advisory Committee.
The findings are being used for a new report that will outline next steps for the national initiative that is being funded through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Infrastructure Grant and administered by the Water Environment Research Foundation. The WEF-driven project seeks to develop a framework for the formation of a national testing and evaluation program in the storm water sector. Largely focused on convening storm water practitioners and thought leaders to find a solution to a pressing storm water issue, STEPP is in direct alignment with the Institute’s intent to serve as a conduit for information exchange between the storm water and regulatory communities.