S&WB Exec. Dir. Grant Retires, New Interim Emergency Management, Support Team Announced
NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB) announced an interim emergency management and support team, which will provide administrative, financial and technical capacity to the S&WB through Nov. 30, the end of Hurricane Season, city reps said.
The team will include:
• Paul Rainwater
• Terrence Ginn
• Renee Lapeyrolerie
• Ehab Meselhe, Ph.D., P.E.
• Owen Monconduit
• Robert Turner, P.E.
Additionally, S&WB Executive Director Cedric Grant announced his retirement effective, Tuesday, Aug. 22.
“I want to thank Cedric Grant for his four decades of service and dedication to the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana,” said Mayor Landrieu. “He has played a pivotal role in our city’s post-Katrina recovery. His service has been invaluable throughout the years.
“The new interim emergency management and support team will supplement the leadership already at Sewerage & Water Board as we fix the infrastructure and stabilize the organization,” Landrieu continued. “Our administration has worked aggressively to recruit a team that consists of the top professionals in their respective industries who understand the issues currently facing Sewerage & Water Board and have a proven track record for success. They will work closely with Sewerage & Water Board’s executive leadership team to add support and capacity during this transitional period.”
“The state stands ready to further assist the City of New Orleans as this interim emergency management and support team comes online to fix the serious issues with sewerage and water management facing the city,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“The Water Institute is proud to be a part of the Emergency Management and Support team, working with our partners to better define the problems facing the city’s drainage system and set out solutions,” said Justin Ehrenwerth, president and CEO of The Water Institute of the Gulf. “We look forward to delivering actionable recommendations for immediate, near-term, and long-term steps that not only address emergency flood issues, but also inform future planning for long-term resilience that incorporate the most innovative practices of living with water."
“We recognize the leadership of the mayor and City Council in implementing steps to reform and bolster the Sewerage & Water Board’s capabilities and we will do our part to help," said Joe Hassinger, president of the Flood Protection Authority. “In the meantime, the Flood Protection Authority is fortunate to have a depth of experience and capability that allows it to remain fully able and ready to perform its duties in advance of and during tropical storm systems. When the storm comes, every component of your flood defense system will perform to protect against the destruction of lives and property.”
The Interim Emergency Management and Support team will report to S&WB’s Board of Directors and assist S&WB’s executive leadership in managing and providing increased capacity to the organization during this emergency. The establishment of this temporary, vastly experienced team allows for a laser focus on improving S&WB’s power, pumps and manpower and provides the Board with the space they need to focus on recruiting a new executive director, city reps said.
The interim emergency management and support team will include:
• Paul Rainwater will provide administrative and managerial support to the S&WB. Rainwater played a key role in helping Louisiana recover from hurricanes under multiple governors and has served in senior positions in local and state government during critical periods of man-made and natural disasters. In addition to his public service in government, Rainwater also serves as a colonel with the Louisiana Army National Guard in the Joint Director of Military Support for Disaster Response Unit. He previously served as a lieutenant colonel in the Congressional Liaison Office of the Louisiana Army National Guard and as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserves and served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. For his military service, Rainwater has been awarded the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
• Terrence Ginn serves as the deputy commissioner for finance and administration with the Louisiana Board of Regents, where he oversees the allocation of the state’s $1 billion appropriation to public post-secondary education and serves as the Board’s chief financial officer. With 17 years of experience, Ginn has worked in both the executive and legislative branches of government, which has provided him a unique prospective of governmental operations and financial management. Previously, Ginn served as director of finance and administration with the Louisiana Governor's Office and has also held the posts of fiscal analyst and budget manager with the Louisiana House of Representatives and the Division of Administration. Ginn actively participates in and holds leadership roles in several state and non-profit boards and commissions, including the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School, The Emerge Center and the Louisiana Arts & Science Museum. He previously served on the state board of March of Dimes, Louisiana Human Rights Commission, State Parks & Recreation Commission and was an executive board member and treasurer of Forum 35. Ginn was recognized in 2014 by the Baton Rouge Business Report as a "Top Forty under Forty"' in the greater Baton Rouge community, and he is a graduate of the 2016 class of Leadership Baton Rouge.
• Renee Lapeyrolerie will work to strengthen S&WB relations with governmental entities and improve communications efforts, including the distribution of timely and accurate public information. Lapeyrolerie is a client service leader at the engineering firm, CDM Smith, which provides lasting and integrated solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities to public and private clients worldwide. Lapeyrolerie is a current board member for the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District and past member of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System.
• Ehab Meselhe, Ph.D., P.E., will provide scientific and engineering support to the S&WB. Meselhe currently serves as vice president for science and engineering at the Water Institute of the Gulf. His multi-layered background includes work as an educator, researcher and practitioner with extensive experience working with academic institutions, government agencies, and the private sector. Prior to joining The Water Institute of the Gulf, Dr. Meselhe directed the Institute of Coastal Ecology and Engineering at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, where he also served as distinguished professor for the Department of Civil Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in the sates of Iowa, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas. He also served as an associate editor of the Journal of Hydrology (Elsevier), and the Journal of Hydraulic Research (International Association of Hydraulic Research).
• Owen Monconduit will provide engineering, contracting and procurement support for the emergency repairs at the S&WB. Monconduit retired as a Brigadier General from the Louisiana National Guard and currently serves in the Louisiana Military Department as the deputy director for contracting and purchasing. During his service to the Louisiana National Guard, Monconduit held numerous leadership positions within the organization to include environmental manager and the construction management and facilities officer. Monconduit has multiple overseas deployments in support of the Global War on Terror. In addition to his deployments, Monconduit has substantial experience in working state emergency response operations.
• Robert ‘Bob’ Turner, P.E., will provide technical expertise on stormwater management and drainage operations to the Sewerage and Water Board as well as the coordination with local levee authorities to ensure continuity of operations for hurricane season. He is a registered professional civil engineer with more than thirty-five years of experience. He serves as director of engineering and operations at the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (Flood Protection Authority). The Flood Protection Authority sets policy and manages flood protection operations in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard Parishes on the east bank of the Mississippi River. Turner has an extensive background in flood protection and public works, including serving as the executive director of the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District and as the director of Public Works for St. Bernard Parish. He also served as the Louisiana State representative on the National Committee on Levee Safety.
As part of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration, Grant’s leadership has been instrumental in jumpstarting New Orleans’ stalled recovery from Hurricane Katrina, resulting in billions of dollars in new recovery funds to rebuild and repair public facilities and critical infrastructure, city reps said. This work resulted in the development of the New Orleans East Hospital, Saenger Theatre, Crescent Park, St. Roch Market, Lafitte Greenway and more. Under his direction, the city and S&WB successfully negotiated and secured over $2 billion in new FEMA recovery funds to repair important facilities and interior neighborhood streets, city reps said. This work also includes more than 200 individual projects that will result in 400 miles of new streets and touch every neighborhood in the city. He also improved coordination between S&WB and the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) on the FEMA-funded Recovery Roads Program which includes a new project management unit created to better facilitate design review and coordination on joint capital improvement projects.
“I appreciate the honor of having been able to lead the rebuilding of New Orleans,” said Grant. “We successfully completed over 400 projects valued at $1 billion. I’m proud to have played a leading role in beginning the redevelopment of the World Trade Center, as well as securing $2 billion in FEMA funds for road and subsurface utilities, along with $200 million for major upgrades to the Sewerage & Water Board water and power system. I’m confident that the Interim Emergency Management and Support Team, along with Sewerage & Water Board leadership can carry the organization forward to fix what is broken and create an environment for a proper transition while working to restore public confidence.”