WRA's 39th Annual

Recognition Dinner


September 21, 2022
5:30 – 8:30 PM


The Grand Pavilion
640 Waterworks Dr
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Hosted By:

Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin
Board of Directors

A Letter From the Executive Director

The Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin (WRA) welcomes you to our 39th Annual Recognition Dinner! 

WRA’s Recognition Awards honor organizations, projects and individuals who lead, inspire and innovate. Across the basin, and throughout the region, there is a widely held understanding that we need to work urgently to promote sustainability and advance resilience.  This year’s awardees made an enduring mark on the health of our watershed, while also uniting people and organizations to achieve a shared vision.  

This year, we have an inaugural award, the Innovation and Collaboration Award. The word collaboration stems from the Latin laborare, which means to work, and com, meaning “with”. This inaugural award acknowledges the intrinsic challenges, and benefits, of uniting people across sectors to work together to achieve what could not be done independently. As we contemplate the challenges we have in the Delaware River Basin—e.g., enhanced droughts and flooding, a growing list of emerging contaminants, substantial gaps in equity and inclusion—tonight’s awardees and their stories can buttress our determination to find solutions routed in science, and powered by partnership. 

Thank you for being here with us. We hope you enjoy the evening.


Skelly Holmbeck
Executive Director

About The Event

The Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin’s Board of Directors welcomes you to our 39th Annual Recognition Dinner! This evening, we honor remarkable leadership, innovation and stewardship in water resources, sustainability and resilience by individuals, environmental organizations, government agencies, and companies from across the Basin.

We invite you to enjoy the champagne bar, Cescaphe’s Schuylkill Punch, and a full mixed beverage selection. Greet friends and colleagues as you sample from our dining options including surf & turf, and a full range of delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes as we toast to a year of innovation and collaboration.

A WRA tradition, the Wine Pull starts when the doors open. Stop by, buy a cork, and try your luck with our version of the lottery (everyone leaves with a bottle!). The Silent Auction, which will close at 7:45 pm, is a great way to go home with something fun (and maybe even useful) while simultaneously supporting WRA’s mission to advance science based water management.

Thank you for being here tonight to honor our Awardees, and for all you do to support WRA and the communities and ecosystems throughout the Delaware River Basin.

Event Co-Chairs: 

Brenda Hustis Gotanda, Manko Gold Katcher & Fox, LLP, WRA Board
David Forcinito, New Jersey American Water, WRA Board

Wine Pull Chair: 

Chris Curran, AECOM, WRA Board

Wine Pull Crew: 

Caitlin Cavanagh and Ben Deatrich, AECOM


We’re delighted to celebrate with you tonight. Here’s a schedule at-a-glance:

5:30 – 7:00 PM  |  Meet and Greet, Dine and Drink

5:30 PM  |  Wine Pull: Buy your cork for WRA’s version of the lottery!

If you’re interested in participating, please click here to donate $20 to our wine pull.

7:00 – 7:50 PM  |  Awards Ceremony

Presented By: Jennifer Garigliano, Board Chair and Skelly Holmbeck, Executive Director 

Dr. Ruth Patrick Excellence in Education Award:
The Center for Aquatic Sciences, Brian Duvall, Board member accepting

Achievement Award:
Wissahickon Trails, Gail Farmer, Executive Director accepting

Special Recognition Award:
Pam Bush, JD, MRP, Delaware River Basin Commission

Innovation and Collaboration Award – Government Agency:
Delaware River Basin Commission, Steve Tambini, Executive Director, accepting

Innovation and Collaboration Award – Business and Industry:
Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP, Brenda Hustis Gotanda, Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP accepting

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Dr. Peter Kolesar, Professor Emeritus of Business, Special Lecturer for Decision, Risk, and Operations at Columbia Business School and Special Research Scholar in the Columbia Water Center at the Earth Institute

Samuel S. Baxter Memorial Award:
Marc E. Gold, Esq, Presented by: Brenda Hustis Gotanda, Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP

Followed by dessert, coffee bar, and conversation.

7:45 PM  |  Silent Auction Closed

Award Recipients

The Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin’s 39th Recognition Dinner honors individuals and organizations that have made an indelible mark on the Delaware River Basin and beyond through their vision, innovation and leadership.


Marc E. Gold, Esq.

In recognition of his exemplary legal career that focused on comprehensive water resources management and his significant contributions in advancing clean water initiatives in the Delaware River Basin.


The Center for Aquatic Sciences

For outstanding leadership in aquatic sciences education through innovative programs that connect students with the Delaware River, and provide a pathway to the sciences for a diverse population. 


Wissahickon Trails for the Wissahickon Creek Headwaters Stream and Riparian Restoration Project

This project, vital to the health of the 24-mile Wissahickon Creek, addresses significant problems caused by excessive stormwater runoff, such as stream bank erosion, degraded habitat and impaired water quality. 

This public private partnership with PECO, Merck, Upper Gwynedd Township, and Biohabitats turned a highly eroded stretch of the Creek and riparian zone into a fully functioning floodplain.


Pam Bush, Esq.

For her significant contributions to public policy, providing wise and judicious counsel that enabled the Delaware River Basin Commission to better manage, protect and improve the water resources of the Delaware River Basin, and for her commitment to improving connections between people and the environment.

LIFETIME achievement AWARD

Dr. Peter J Kolesar

For pioneering work to develop, refine and implement the Flexible Flow Management Program (FFMP), a fundamental component to the sustainable allocation of Delaware River water resources. This work enhanced the aquatic environment of the upper Delaware River to better support its wild trout fishery without negatively impacting the reliability of water supply to New York City, or the interests of other Delaware River stakeholders throughout the Basin.


The Delaware River Basin Commission

For innovative science, planning, and policy, working in close coordination with stakeholders and in partnership with federal and state regulators, utilizing complex modeling of tidal dynamics and water quality to develop the Stage 1 PCB TMDLs, and overseeing the implementation of the TMDLs through Pollutant Minimization Plans and other practical control measures based on adaptive management principles that have resulted in significant and measurable reductions of PCB loads to the Delaware River Estuary.

Innovation and Collaboration Award- Business and Industry 

Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP

For regulated community leadership, as counsel to and on behalf of the Delaware Estuary TMDL Coalition, and collaborative engagement with representatives of the Delaware River Basin Commission,  federal and state regulators and other stakeholders that resulted in the innovative Stage 1 PCB TMDLs that are being successfully implemented through Pollutant Minimization Plans and other practical control measures based on adaptive management principles that have resulted in significant and measurable reductions of PCB loads to the Delaware River Estuary.

Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors

Annual Platinum sponsor

Platinum SponsorS

Annual Gold Sponsor

Annual Bronze Sponsors

Gold Event Sponsors

Silver Event Sponsor

Bronze Event Sponsors

Cocktail Sponsors

Partner Sponsors

Friends of WRA

Tweet using #waterislife

Be sure to @WRADRB to share your moments and memories

Check back after the event for photography from the evening, captured by Chris Kendig

Closing Remarks

What WRA Stands For

WRA promotes the science-based management of water resources within the Delaware River Basin to protect all water dependent uses and enhance the long-term sustainability and resiliency of the river system.

WRA Achieves this by:

  • Representing the needs and interests of water users in the Delaware River Basin in multi-stakeholder initiatives and with regulatory agencies
  • Advancing principles of comprehensive water resources planning based on sound science and policy
  • Promoting a balanced approach that recognizes the economic, social, and environmental importance of the Basin ’s water resources.

How WRA Works

WRA serves as a critical resource to its memberswater professionals, water purveyors, and commercial, industrial, and maritime river usersas they collaborate with other stakeholders to maintain the Delaware River as a working river and promote principles of sustainability and resiliency. WRA’s efforts have become even more important recognizing the fiscal challenges faced by regulatory agencies in the region, and the acute need to respond to climate related impacts in a manner that will maintain and expand the multi-dimensional values of the Delaware River watershed.