The Water Environment Federation (WEF), a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with 36,000 members representing water quality professionals around the world, formally announced today that Dr. Eileen O’Neill has been named the new Executive Director. O’Neill replaces former executive director Jeff Eger who resigned in July 2013. Dr. O’Neill has been serving WEF as the Interim Executive Director since Mr. Eger’s departure and prior to that, she was Deputy Executive Director.
“Dr. O’Neill is an experienced association executive with strong water sector knowledge based on diverse domestic and international experience”, said WEF President Sandra Ralston. “She has a proven track record during her 20-plus years with WEF delivering highly successful technical programming, increasing revenues and building partnerships.”
Before becoming Deputy Executive Director in 2011, Dr. O’Neill served as the organization’s chief technical officer with responsibility for oversight of WEF’s technical, international, and communications programs. In the past several years, she has been instrumental in creating national and international thought-leadership programming at WEF’s annual conference—WEFTEC—the largest annual water quality conference and exhibition in the world.
Before joining WEF she worked as an academic and environmental consultant in the U.S. and in Europe. She has a B.S. in Soil Science from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (U.K.) and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Aberdeen (U.K.) and undertook a postdoctoral traineeship in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
“Dr. O’Neill has consistently led WEF operations to be more strategic and data-driven, which aligns WEF with industry trends and the changing needs of utilities and global professionals. She has worked for an enhanced and more forward-looking volunteer experience,” said President Ralston. “Her sincere appreciation of and partnership with the volunteer leaders is inspiring.”
“I am honored by this appointment to a leadership role in such a great organization,” said O’Neill. “It is especially exciting to serve the water profession and sector in such a time of change and opportunity. The vital role that water services play in communities is becoming increasingly clear and the need for innovative thinking and practices more widely recognized. I have no doubt that the collective talents of our members and volunteer leaders working with WEF’s dedicated staff will allow WEF to play a key role in ensuring that the promise of these new approaches is realized.”