2017 Minnesota Water Resources Conference explores the role of media, industry and science in shaping the public perception of water resources

The 2017 Minnesota Water Resources Conference returns to the St. Paul RiverCentre October 17-18. The Water Resources Center hosts the annual conference which presents innovative water resource engineering solutions, management techniques, and current research. Plenary topics include the role of media in raising public awareness of water issues, water quality in agriculture, protecting public health in recreational waters and tribal water concerns. There will be a poster session on the first day of the conference and industry vendors will staff exhibits throughout both days.

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Amy Skoczlas Cole

Amy Skoczlas Cole, American Public Media, Communicating Science for Action

For more than two decades, Cole has worked at the intersection of the economy, environment, and society in a variety of roles at Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and foundations on both coasts and in Minnesota. Previously, she served as Pentair’s first-ever vice president of corporate social responsibility.  There, she designed a shared value program of work to secure safe water, abundant energy, and affordable food for society today and into the future. She also oversaw the company’s sustainability efforts and served as the executive director of The Pentair Foundation, and led Pentair’s signature Project Safe Water. Prior to moving to Minnesota, Cole was eBay’s first sustainability executive, where she led efforts to engage eBay’s more than 100 million users in more sustainable choices at scale.

In March 2017, American Public Media appointed Cole as managing director of its national water initiative which is designed to raise Americans’ engagement with critical water issues, implications and possible solutions. Cole also serves as an executive advisor and partner to organizations and businesses that are committed to large-scale social impact through S3 Social Innovations + Sustainability Consulting.

Greg Page, retired chairman and CEO, Cargill, Incorporated, Water Quality and Agriculture 

Page was executive director of Cargill from September 2015 through August 2016. He served as executive chairman of Cargill from December 2013 to September 2015. Prior to that, he served as Cargill's chief executive officer from June 2007 to December 2013. He was elected to the Cargill Board of Directors in August 2000 and elected chairman of the board in September 2007.

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Greg Page

Page joined Cargill in 1974 as a trainee assigned to the Feed Division. Since then, he has held a number of positions in the United States and Singapore. In 1998, he was named Corporate Vice President & Sector President of Cargill's Financial Markets and Red Meat Group. The following year, he was named Executive Vice President of the company's Financial Markets and Red Meat Group. In 2000, he was named Cargill's President and Chief Operating Officer and elected to the Cargill Board of Directors.

He has served as a member of the board of directors of Eaton Corporation as well as a national board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and a board member and past president of the Northern Star Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He is a graduate of the University of North Dakota, with a bachelor's degree in economics, and a native of Bottineau, North Dakota.

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Mike Sadowsky

Mike Sadowsky, Department of Soil, Water and Climate, University of Minnesota, Water Quality and Microorganisms: Protecting Recreation and Public Health

Professor Michael Sadowsky, a fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Microbiology, is internationally known and respected for his research work in the area of environmental microbiology. He currently is co-director of the Microbial and Plant Genomics Institute. He has published more than 100 original articles, and his work is widely cited by researchers in several scientific disciplines.

Sadowsky's methods for determining sources of fecal bacteria in water have been widely published and received mention in an issue of Time magazine as a key contribution to environmental microbiology. The ability to distinguish the sources of fecal contamination is important both in assessing possible health risks and in facilitating effective clean-up strategies. Sadowsky is leading a group of researchers in the development of high-throughput and robotic methods of analyzing water, sand and sediment samples to determine sources of fecal bacteria.

Nancy Schuldt, Fond du Lac Environmental Program, Tribal Water Resources Issues

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Nancy Schuldt

Schuldt serves as the Fond du Lac Water Projects Coordinator. She developed the Band’s water quality standards and monitoring program. She has directed research into fish contaminants and sediment chemistry to characterize mercury impacts to Fond du Lac Band members, collaborated on research into wild rice ecology and toxicity, as well as watershed hydrologic modeling to inform management and restoration efforts. She participates in numerous local, regional, and binational working groups to ensure the tribal perspective is represented, and initiated a cooperative wastewater management project with the non-tribal community to protect Big Lake, a heavily developed lake on the Reservation. She initiated the tribe’s nonpoint source management program, and leads the Band’s environmental review of mining and energy industry impacts to trust resources.

The Minnesota Water Conference is sponsored by the Water Resources Center and the College of Continuing Education, University of Minnesota, and co-sponsored by the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minnesota Section, American Society of Civil Engineers Minnesota Sea Grant College Program, University of Minnesota and the Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota.