Greg McIntyre recently participated in the first annual Water For People Leadership Council, where he helped our strategic partner examine the programmatic and operational challenges standing in the way of Water For People’s ability to accomplish its vision of giving all people access to clean water and sanitation systems.

By: Greg McIntyre, CH2M HILL Global Water Market President

I recently had the opportunity to participate in Water For People’s first annual Leadership Council. I joined industry leaders from six engineering and construction companies, Water For People CEO Ned Breslin, and Board Chair Patrick McCann for a two-day workshop, held in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the Council is to strengthen the historic relationship between Water For People and the engineering and construction industry by increasing the level of engagement between Water For People and the Council members. Throughout the workshop, we focused on examining the programmatic and operational challenges that Water For People currently faces in its quest to give more people access to safe water and sanitation resources in developing countries. We discussed strategic ways that Water For People could operate to increase their reach in 2015 and beyond.

I was asked to be a member of the Water For People Leadership Council last year and happily accepted this opportunity. Water For People is an organization near and dear to the CH2M HILL family and our Water Market team in particular, as the organization is helping to lay the foundation for human progress by driving sustainable and holistic programs to provide drinking water and sanitation to targeted, under-served regions. We share a similar vision of a world where all people have access to clean water and sanitation systems.

Ned Breslin kicked off the meeting by explaining the organization’s vision, expressed by the model Everyone Forever. Everyone reflects Water For People’s commitment to ensure that all people have access to safe water within a community; Forever embodies the organization’s commitment to build institutions at the community, regional, and national level to ensure that water and sanitation services are able to be maintained indefinitely, without the need for continuing external aid.

The four pillars of the Everyone Forever approach are:

  • Economic: Leverage Water For People investments with funds from the local community as well as regional and national governments; develop community businesses to provide and charge for services, creating jobs in the process
  • Technical: Provide access to appropriate technologies along with technical support on engineering, finance, supervision, and communications
  • Monitoring: Track progress against 20 metrics and ensure that all concerned evaluate and act on monitoring results; transition monitoring to local institutions
  • Political: Collaborate with elected officials so that they can justifiably take credit for achievements and so that other elected officials want to get in on the action at the local and national level

In addition to learning more about Water For People’s strategic direction and operating model, Council members discussed their approach to workplace giving.

For years, CH2M HILL has donated resources and encouraged our staff to get involved in the cause by not only donating finance resources, but volunteering their technical expertise and sharing their knowledge of water sanitation systems. Ken Miller, a now-retired CH2M HILL executive, actually helped found the organization along with other professionals from the American Water Works Association in 1991. This year, our staff raised more than US$250,000 (a new record for us) during our annual Workplace Giving Campaign. I served as the Campaign’s executive co-sponsor, and as part of our program, I took several days of vacation this summer to visit Peru with my colleagues. While there, we experienced firsthand how our support and financial contributions are making a difference in the lives and communities where Water For People works.

Water For People depends on the engineering and construction industry, who contributed 15 percent of the organization’s operating budget in FY2013. The six Leadership Council members provided 85 percent of all industry donations in 2013-$730,000 and $837,000 in 2014. We are proud to support Water For People and their mission to bring more people access to clean water in a sustainable manner. I encourage you to learn more about Water For People or find out ways you can get involved.

Greg McIntyre is president of CH2M HILL’s Global Water Market. Mr. McIntyre has more than 32 years of professional experience in the construction and engineering industry and has held key management, operations and technical roles in the infrastructure, water, environmental, and telecommunications sector. He received his master’s degree in environmental engineering from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Florida.