Customer Advisory Committee: A Commitment to Understanding Customers’ Needs as we Begin our Master Planning Process
New Orleans – Last Wednesday, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) held the first of many meetings for its newly-formed Customer Advisory Committee. The group will serve as an official channel to give our customers a voice as we begin our master planning process and look to better engage with our customers. It will create a pathway for us to better understand our community’s needs and priorities. This will ensure that the work we do at SWBNO will better reflect the values and needs of our community.
The 15-member volunteer committee represents all City Council Districts, and embodies a diverse cross section of our community, including a member of the SWBNO Employee Advisory Committee. The members were selected after individual conversations with Executive Director Ghassan Korban and each bring a unique perspective that will be vital to the committee’s work.
“To create a better utility, we must center the voices of our customers in plotting a path forward.” SWBNO Executive Director Ghassan Korban said. “This Committee will be crucial to helping us better meet our community’s needs. I look forward to collaborating with the Committee Members to guide our plans for the future.”
Below are brief bios for each of the committee members:
Cheryl R. Austin is a lifelong resident of the Historic Tremé community and Executive Director of Greater Tremé Consortium, Inc. A graduate of Joseph S. Clark, Sr. High School, an advocate for equal housing, education, justice, and environmental rights. A preservationist and participant of Tremé’s history, traditions, and culture.
Madeline Bachemin is a resident and Board Member of the Upper Ninth Ward Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association. She is a Retired City of New Orleans employee of 38 years and a Water Wise Champion.
David Conrad is a resident of the Audubon neighborhood and an experienced leader in intergovernmental and public affairs who currently works for the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs, at the U.S. Department of Interior. His interests include Native American energy, environmental, natural and cultural resources issues. He studied Political Science at Santa Clara University, and Environmental Policy and Administration at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay.
Dana Eness has led the Urban Conservancy since 2006. She has served in leadership positions with the American Independent Business Alliance, the Lafitte Greenway Steering Advisory Committee, and the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans. She was also a member of the urban water subcommittee on Mayor Cantrell's Transition Team. Dana has worked in nonprofit administration, community programming and project development for over 25 years. She has lived in New Orleans for over 30 years, most of them on Joliet Street.
Kyle Galloway is an Algiers resident, project manager, and licensed civil engineer who currently works for GIS Engineering. He specializes in drainage design, storm water management and coastal engineering. Kyle earned his civil engineering degree from Louisiana State University and a coastal engineering certificate from Old Dominion University. He served 13 years as an officer in the Louisiana Army National Guard, responding to disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the floods of 2016.
Alicia Clay Jones lives in Lake Terrace, currently works for Entergy and has over 17 years of experience in developing and implementing standards. Her areas of expertise and interest include information security, program performance measurement, continuous monitoring strategies, process improvement and STEM outreach. She has degrees in physics and chemical physics from Loyola New Orleans, Purdue and the University of California at Davis. She is a Certified Information System Security Professional and a Six Sigma Black Belt.
John Kleinschmidt is an architect and urban designer at Waggonner & Ball Architecture/Environment where he leads projects focused on adaptations to climate change at the building, campus and city scales. Additionally, he maintains an artistic practice focused on drawing, printmaking and site-specific installations. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, the Yale School of Architecture and was a 2018 Artist-in-Residence at A Studio in the Woods.
Leah O’Donnell is a resident of the East Carrollton neighborhood and studied Geology and Geophysics at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. She began her career in environmental remediation and currently works as an Analyst with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. She enjoys reading sci-fi and being a plant mom.
Dr. Laura Rouzan is a Filmore resident and holds a Ph.D. in Communication from Florida State University. She retired from Dillard University as the Dean of the College of Professional Studies managing the Areas of Public Health, Nursing and Mass Communications.
Haley Sulser is a two-time New Orleans transplant, and loves living and working in the community. Professionally, she works in improving public health and building healthy communities, through systems improvement and process redesign. She currently works at Louisiana Public Health Institute, as a Senior Project Manager and Director of Operations for the Greater New Orleans Health Information Exchange. A graduate of Purdue University, with a major in Industrial Engineering, she studied continuous improvement principles, optimization science, and operations research.
Jamelyn Austin Trucks is resident of West Riverside and a Senior Project Manager (PMP) and Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) who currently works for Atkins NA, an Engineering and Design firm. Her interests include community engagement, disaster resilience/recovery, mitigation, and stormwater management. Her work includes active involvement with Federal/State/Local entities in furthering efforts to help our communities be better prepared and more resilient for future events. She has been a resident of New Orleans since 2007, married to Mike Stone with a 5 year old son, Maxwell.
Michelle White is a resident of the Lower Ninth Ward and a mother of two who works as a massage therapist and nail technician
Sheldon Williams is a Hollygrove resident. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Orleans in Marketing and serves as a pastor in Lakeview.