NRWA Staff

Executive Team

Matt Holmes

Chief Executive Officer
matt@nrwa.org

Matt is responsible for personnel management, grant and contract administration, along with multiple other leadership roles. Prior to working at NRWA, Matt served as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Rural Water Association for 13 years. He has extensive experience in mediation, conflict resolution and facilitating community-based planning processes, always placing emphasis on developing local skills and resources instead of relying on outside assistance.

Vern Steel

Deputy CEO
vern@nrwa.org

Vern Steel is the Deputy CEO for NRWA. He was previously the Deputy CEO for Rural Water Association of Utah for 24 years and has experience in magazine and web site development, association accounting and association management. With a degree in accounting from the University of Idaho, Vern has extensive experience in financial reporting, employee management relationship building, HR management and grant and funding procurement.

Brian

Brian Churchman

Chief Financial Officer
brian@nrwa.org

As the Association’s CFO, Brian is responsible for the daily accounting functions of the organization including financial statement preparation, grant administration and financial reporting. Brian attended Oklahoma State University and earned a degree in Accounting in 1990 and became a CPA in 1994. Prior to joining NRWA, Brian served as the CFO of a regional council of governments in Oklahoma for 23 years.

Kalli Forshee

Executive Assistant
kalli@nrwa.org

Kalli graduated from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. She began in the communications department in September of 2018, and then transitioned into the Executive Assistant to the CEO. She serves as a liaison to NRWA’s Board of Directors, coordinates outreach and external relations, compiles relevant information and oversees special projects. Kalli is truly passionate about photography and communicating with others.

Federal Programs

Shannan

Shannan Walton

Director of Workforce Development
shannan@nrwa.org

Shannan has been involved in registered apprenticeship for more than 22 years. She has an exceptional resume, working at the state and national level of apprenticeship and training. Shannan joined the NRWA team in 2018 and has been an integral part of workforce development and initiating the NRWA Apprenticeship Program. She provides technical assistance to State Associations, coordinates multiple projects, writes quarterly grant reports, along with a plethora of other duties.

Audrey

Audrey Whitefeather

EPA Program Manager
audrey@nrwa.org

Audrey manages the EPA Programs. Audrey’s professional experience includes Grants Compliance, Internal Auditor, Tribal Administration, Tribal Water Systems and Banking. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Communications from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. She is a current graduate student of International Relations at the University of Oklahoma.

Rita

Rita Clary

Circuit Rider Program Manager
rita@nrwa.org

Rita came to NRWA from the Kansas Rural Water Association, where she served for 10 years. She began as an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Circuit Rider and assisted multiple water systems with funding options. She is currently the Program Manager for the USDA Rural Development Circuit Rider Program.

Barbara

Barbara Merrill

Energy Efficiency and Manufactured Housing Programs Manager
barbara@nrwa.org

Barbara began working for NRWA in 1984 and has had many roles in the association since then. She has worked on multiple projects and programs in her tenure, including the Circuit Rider, Energy Efficiency and Wastewater Programs.

David Laughlin

Source Water Protection, Decentralized Wastewater, and EFC Region 8 Programs Manager
david@nrwa.org

David grew up on a small farm in rural Oklahoma. He began at NRWA in 2019 as a Program Analyst. In 2021, he was promoted to Program Manager of the Source Water Protection program before adding the Decentralized Wastewater and Region 8 Environmental Finance Center programs in 2023. David holds an associate degree in sociology from Oklahoma City Community College, a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Western Governors University and a master’s in management and leadership from Western Governors University. He enjoys spending time with his family, music, and photography in his spare time.

Susan Poe

Wastewater Program Manager
susan@nrwa.org

Susan joined the team at National Rural Water Association as the Wastewater Program Manager in 2023. She was previously with the Arkansas Rural Water Association for more than 23 years where she was involved with many USDA programs, especially the Wastewater program, for most of her career. Susan traveled the state of Arkansas extensively and gained a passion for the safe treatment and disposal of wastewater while protecting drinking water sources in rural and small communities. Moving to Duncan was an exciting step for her as she enjoys traveling, fishing, golfing, and other outdoor activities.

James Pratt

Disaster Recovery Circuit Rider Project Manager
james.pratt@nrwa.org

James is a native Oklahoman with more than 30 years of disaster response and recovery experience. This experience includes working for both the public and private sector as an environmental and emergency response professional. James manages the Disaster Response Circuit Rider Program focusing on small communities in need of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

Amber Jackson

Apprenticeship Project Manager
amber@nrwa.org

Amber’s career in workforce development spans over 11 years. She has held various roles that include direct workforce development service delivery and structuring and managing state and federal programs that included registered apprenticeships. She joined NRWA in August 2023. Amber’s role focuses on federal funded projects to support the NRWA Apprenticeship program including direct technical assistance to State Associations with program development, assistance in connecting workforce development funding sources, and activities to support education on the benefits of a registered apprenticeship. 

Kim Vang

Apprenticeship Program Assistant Manager
kim@nrwa.org

Kim has been an important and versatile employee at NRWA for 32 years. She assists the Apprenticeship Program Manager with compiling data for reports, planning of training events, keeping records from apprenticeship coordinators, as well as maintains accounting reports and SubAward agreements. She is also the Program Coordinator for the Utility Management Certification Program.

Kelly Strain

Apprenticeship Program Assistant Manager
kelly@nrwa.org

Kelly came to NRWA after 12 years of working for our state affiliate in Indiana where for the last five years she has been working to build and grow their apprentice program. She utilizes her knowledge of apprenticeship at the state level to assist other state associations and is involved in a variety of projects for NRWA’s apprentice program. Kelly holds a degree in Business and Human Resources from Indiana University.

Pam Murawski

Training and Development Specialist
pam@nrwa.org

Pam is the Training and Development Specialist for NRWA. She collaborates with subject matter experts to develop online curriculum to support the Apprenticeship Program. She is lifelong educator with a background in Career and Technical Education and Adult Learning. She earned PhD from the University of South Florida, and her research focused on the experiences of women in the water workforce. She comes to NRWA from the Office of Water Programs at Sacramento State.

Kimberly Mora

Program Assistant
kimberly@nrwa.org

Kimberly works as a Program Assistant. She was raised in the West Texas area and attended Texas Tech University where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Human Sciences with concentrations in Human Development and Family Studies, Human Resources Development and Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies. She enjoys spending time with her family, attending concerts and sporting events.

Jennifer Borski

Program Assistant
jenniferb@nrwa.org

Jennifer began as the Circuit Rider Program Assistant in June 2023. She graduated from Duncan High School and went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business management at Cameron University. She has enjoyed over 30 years of managerial work experience in pharmacy and assisted living care. Jennifer enjoys traveling, painting, cooking, reading, and spending time with her family.  

Brian Davis

Compliance Officer
brian.davis@nrwa.org

Brian joined the NRWA team in November 2023 as the Compliance Officer. He is a lifelong resident of the Southwest Oklahoma area, having grown up on a cattle and farming operation. His professional experience encompasses over 20 years in the financial services industry. Brian previously served as the mayor of Marlow, Oklahoma, as well as Chairman of the town’s Municipal Authority, where he gained knowledge and experience in water and wastewater operations and associated infrastructure.

Stephanie Johnson

Grants Administrator
stephanie@nrwa.org

Stephanie joined NRWA as the Grants Administrator in September 2023. Before her arrival, she spent 11 years writing grants for nonprofits, for-profits, and municipalities. While serving as the grants administrator for the City of Mentor, Ohio, Stephanie became acclimated to stormwater grant-funded projects, which has provided a foundation of knowledge in her current capacity with NRWA.

Stephanie Shrock

Data Analyst
stephanie.shrock@nrwa.org

Stephanie Shrock is a Data Analyst with seven years of experience in Information Technology. She is passionate about data analytics and has experience in marketing and data analysis. She is skilled in data reporting and visualization and has a deep understanding of database queries. In off time, Stephanie enjoys kayaking and hiking with her family, friends, and dog, Sprocket.

Resource Development

Anthony Prince

Development Director
anthony@nrwa.org

Anthony leads the Resource Development team, while building and maintaining relationships with all corporate members and sponsors. Anthony is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and worked for 16 years in the financial industry, gaining experience in staff management, employee training, and consumer and commercial lending.

Becca Murray

Conference and Events Manager
becca@nrwa.org

Becca has held multiple roles in the NRWA since her start in 1998. She is currently in charge of all meeting and event planning for NRWA. She coordinates the WaterPro Conference, InService Training, Rural Water Rally, along with multiple other meetings throughout the year.

Dena

Dena Powell

Meetings Coordinator
dena@nrwa.org

Dena has been with the NRWA since 1992 and has played an important role in our success. She currently assists with planning the exhibits and signage for the WaterPro Conference along with helping Becca plan our other Association events throughout the year.

Kaylyn Branen Snow

Content & Communications Specialist
kaylyn@nrwa.org

Kaylyn Branen grew up on a cow-calf operation in Northeast Oklahoma and graduated with dual degrees in animal science and agricultural communications from Oklahoma State University in May 2022. After graduation, Kaylyn joined the team at NRWA as a Content and Communications Specialist, where her specialties are writing, editing, and photography.

Amanda Walsh

Marketing & Multimedia Specialist
amanda@nrwa.org

Amanda brings seventeen years of marketing and design expertise to the NRWA team. Previously, she served as Marketing Coordinator at the U.S. Army’s Department of Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation in Alaska. Amanda produces multimedia marketing materials across various platforms that promote NRWA’s mission to a nationwide audience.

Chase Mallow

Video Communications Specialist
chase.mallow@nrwa.org

With over thirteen years of experience in content development, videography/photography production, and marketing, Chase brings a wealth of industry expertise to the table. He served as Creative Director for local news organizations such as KAUZ and KSWO. Hailing from Walters, Oklahoma, Chase holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in Journalism, specializing in photography from Cameron University.

Chance Winslett

Membership Specialist
chance@nrwa.org

Chance grew up in rural Oklahoma and has served in a managing or supervisory sales role for the past 10 years. Chance began his position in February of 2022, and is excited to bring his experience and skills to make an impact on the development of the water industry. Chance handles all of our Supporting Members and uses ideas, feedback and suggestions to continuously improve the services provided to members.

Technical & Program Support

Brad

Brad Reed

IT Manager
brad@nrwa.org

Growing up, Brad worked for his local rural water district reading meters, assisting with leak detection and repairs, and various other tasks before attending college and earning a bachelor’s degree at Lubbock Christian University. Brad began work for NRWA in 1999 as a programmer and technical support representative. Now, Brad ensures everything runs smoothly on the technology side and that Program Managers and others have the data and reports they need.

Steve

Steve O’Connor

Database Administrator
steve@nrwa.org

Steve has been with NRWA for about 11 years. His primary functions within the association are to maintain the functionality of the federal program data collection systems and their software, maintain association hardware, assist with user support for the federal and association systems and assist with federal program database management and reporting.

Paul Morrison

GIS Manager
paul@nrwa.org

Paul Morrison is the GIS Manager on the Technical & Program support team. He is responsible for managing an enterprise GIS system that will provide spatial analytics, mapping support and data management to NRWA programs and services. Paul has over 30 years of GIS, data management and software development experience centered around natural resources. He graduated with a degree in geology from Fort Lewis College.

Accounting

Bo Baggett

Accounting Manager
bo@nrwa.org

Bo prepares NRWA’s financial statements and grant reports. His duties include oversight of NRWA’s single audit and runs registration at the WaterPro Conference. In addition to this, Bo administers the Scholarship program, WaterPAC, and the Water Institute accounting. As a Certified Public Accountant, Bo has 10+ years of experience in tax and payroll accounting.

Jeana

Jeana Earnhart

Accountant
jeana@nrwa.org

Jeana has been with NRWA since 1995 and is responsible for all payments made by NRWA including vendors, board members, and staff travel reimbursements. She also initiates electronic payments of federal program funds to State Affiliates. Jeana is a graduate of East Central University and enjoys traveling and outdoor activities. 

Gloria

Gloria York

Rural Water Loan Fund Administrator
gloria@nrwa.org

Gloria has been with NRWA since 2015.  Her duties include managing NRWA’s Revolving Loan fund and additional accounting duties within the department. Gloria is a native of Duncan, who graduated from Cameron University with a degree in Business Administration.   

Angie Brantley

Federal Programs Accountant
angie@nrwa.org

Throughout her tenure at NRWA, Angie has performed every duty within the accounting department. Most recently, she has taken on the role of Federal Programs Accountant which includes coordination of reporting done by State affiliates for their NRWA subawards. In addition, Angie coordinates payroll for NRWA. Angie received her accounting degree from East Central University. 

Sanya Parker

Federal Programs Accountant
sanya@nrwa.org

Sanya attended East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in accounting. He is a Certified Public Accountant and prior to joining the NRWA team he worked in public accounting for three years. Sanya works within the accounting department as the Federal Program Accountant.

Julie Robinson

Accountant
julie@nrwa.org

Julie graduated with dual degrees from Oklahoma Panhandle State University in accounting and business administration. She worked in public accounting for four years and private accounting for the past two years before joining NRWA in August 2023. I enjoy spending time with my family and attending sports events.

Legislative & Regulatory

bill 2

Bill Simpson

Director of Legislative Affairs
bills@nrwa.org

Bill began his position with NRWA in 2008 with 19 years of experience in the legislative and executive branches of the government. Bill’s prior experience included serving on the Senate Appropriation Committee for over seven years with positions on the Full Committee and the Subcommittees on Transportation, HUD and Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies. Previous government experience also includes serving in several positions with two previous members of Congress and within the Mississippi Department of Agriculture.

michael

Michael Preston

Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs
preston@nrwa.org

Michael Preston is a legislative and policy analyst for NRWA and has worked with the Association for over a decade. Michael works within the Halls of Congress and at USDA, EPA and DOL to procure funding for rural and small community water and wastewater systems. He considers the NRWA membership the key to the success of the American economy and vital to public health protection.

Charles Stephens

Senior Executive Policy Director
charles@nrwa.org

Charles has served his country for over 25 years, having begun his career in the U.S. Army. After serving ten years in the military, he started his civilian career as a Budget Analyst for the Defense Logistics Agency. Most recently, Charles served as Assistant Administrator for Water and Environmental Programs for USDA Rural Development where he oversaw the funding programs that provided financing to thousands of rural communities across the country. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wayland Baptist University and a master’s degree in public administration from Strayer University. In 2015, Charles completed the Leadership for a Democratic Society program at the Federal Executive Institute. In his role at NRWA, Charles will act as a policy expert in rural development, water infrastructure funding and financing, and implementation of technical assistance and training programs.  

John DeGour, DrPH

Regulatory Affairs Specialist
john.degour@nrwa.org

Dr. DeGour joins NRWA from the Environmental Protection Agency, where he spent 13 years as an environmental scientist working on drinking water and wastewater infrastructure security and resilience activities. He also spent four years managing drinking water programs for the State of Delaware and worked in laboratories for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and Department of Health. Additionally, John is a United States Army Veteran. Dr. DeGour holds Doctor of Public Health, Master of Public Health, and Bachelor of Environmental Sciences degrees. John resides in Maryland with his wife and four children.

Field Staff

Mike Davis

Roving Circuit Rider
mike.davis@nrwa.org

Mike joined NRWA in April 2024 a as a Roving Circuit Rider. Prior to this, he worked as a Circuit Rider for Rural Water Association of Utah. Mike started in the water industry in 1984 at the City of Vernal as a water operator. He worked his way up to heavy equipment operator before becoming the water and sewer superintendent for 28 years. Mike also served as a board member for RWAU for seven years.

Frank Dunmire

Roving Circuit Rider
frank.dunmire@nrwa.org

Frank Dunmire joined NRWA as a Roving Circuit Rider in May 2024. Prior to this, he was Executive Director of the Illinois Rural Water Association for 20 years. He has 32 years of water and wastewater experience and was an IRWA Board member for 20 years.

Apolonio Morales

Puerto Rico Decentralized Wastewater Water Quality Action Specialist
apolonio@nrwa.org

Apolonio has more than 25 years working with water systems and currently works as a Decentralized Wastewater Water Quality Action Specialist in Puerto Rico. He works with potable water systems such as: Ozone, reverse osmosis and filtration. He also works with communities providing support in many aspects such as: operation, maintenance, and finance.

Edwin Alvarado

Puerto Rico Circuit Rider
edwin@nrwa.org

Edwin Alvarado works as a circuit rider in Puerto Rico, providing support to the island’s rural water systems. His professional background includes experience in water treatment resources, land surveying, and GIS mapping, with expertise in AutoCAD Civil 3D, SAP 2000, and ArcMap for engineering design and analysis. Edwin holds an associate degree in civil engineering and surveying from the University of Puerto Rico Bayamon Campus and a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Caribbean University.

Robinson Laró

Puerto Rico Circuit Rider
robinson@nrwa.org

Robinson Laró, originally from Puerto Rico, is a dedicated professional in the field of environmental engineering. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. Robinson works as a Circuit Rider in Puerto Rico. His technical knowledge has allowed him to lead projects that ensure safe access to drinking water in rural and remote communities on the island.

Oscar Ojeda

Puerto Rico Circuit Rider
oscar.ojeda@nrwa.org

Oscar serves as a Puerto Rico Circuit Rider, responsible for optimizing the rural aqueducts’ approach to technical rigor and sustainable management. Oscar has a transdisciplinary scientific preparation focused on microbiology, energy and water, public policy, sociotechnical systems, data science, and operations research. Oscar has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Mayaguez Campus. 

Eli Carreras

Puerto Rico Training Specialist
eli@nrwa.org

Eli Carreras has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. Since 2015 he has worked in the water industry, as a drinking water operator, operator supervisor and supplier of chemical products to water treatment plants. Currently at NRWA he works as a Training Specialist, providing workshops and technical assistance on topics of interest to the communities of Puerto Rico.