Keynote Speakers for KWEA / KsAWWA Joint Conference

Keith Hobson

Keith Hobson, WEF Treasurer

Keith Hobson, P.E, BCEE, is the 2020-23 treasurer of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

Keith is the president/CEO of FOX Engineering Associates in Ames, Iowa, and has over 35 years of experience as a consultant in the field of environmental engineering for both municipal and industrial clients. He also served with Black & Veatch for over 13 years and has been involved in design of water and wastewater treatment facilities ranging in capacity from 2 mgd to over 400 mgd.

A WEF member since college, he served as speaker of the House of Delegates (HOD) in 2018-2019 and served for two terms on the HOD as a representative of the Iowa Water Environment Association (IAWEA) and as a delegate at large. He has served as chair or vice chair of several workgroups and Committees of the HOD as well as on the WEF Audit and Government Affairs committees.

Keith has been an active member of IAWEA serving on many committees, chairing the newsletter/publications and financial review committees, as well as consulting with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on regulatory issues. He also served as chair of the newsletter committee for the Kanas WEA prior to moving to Iowa. He has authored many reports and presented technical papers on various topics in environmental engineering.

Keith holds degrees in civil engineering from Iowa State University (B.S.) and University of Missouri-Columbia (M.S.). He is a board-certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) through the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and a member of the Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers. Keith is a registered professional engineer in Iowa and multiple other states. He is a recipient of the Arthur Sidney Bedell Award and the Kenneth J Miller Founders Award.

Melissa Elliott

Melissa Elliott, AWWA Past President

Melissa Elliott’s career is focused on helping water and wastewater utilities tell their stories. She is the director of Strategic Communication Services at Raftelis where she consults with utilities to provide communication planning, stakeholder engagement, and risk communications. Prior to joining Raftelis, Melissa directed public relations departments at two large Colorado utilities--Denver Water and Aurora Water. All that utility experience means she’s worked with the public on issues as diverse as drought, water quality, potable reuse, affordability, rate structure change, massive infrastructure projects, and customer assistance programs.

Being AWWA President gave Melissa a new avenue to elevate the conversation about the value of the services utilities provide. As a public relations practitioner working in the highly technical water industry, Melissa makes it her mission to push those around her to stop being so humble about the essential work we do. She says if we want others to understand our challenges, we need to build relationships with the
people and communities we serve and talk about the value we provide.

When she’s not working with utilities, Melissa makes her home in Denver where she enjoys cooking for friends, planning future travel adventures, and spending time in the Colorado sunshine with her husband.