Board of Directors

Bob Taylor

Chief Executive Officer, Portsmouth Water

Bob is a Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng, FICE) with a BSc in Civil Engineering, an MSc in Environmental Engineering and an MBA. Bob has worked in the water industry for more than 35 years and has spent time in Australia, India, United Arab Emirates and Central and Eastern Asia.

Since 2013 Bob has worked in the UK, first as Director of Operations, then MD at Bournemouth Water, before joining Pennon Group where he was appointed Operations Director, Drinking Water Services. He joined Portsmouth Water as Engineering Director in Nov 2018 and took up the role of CEO in January 2019.

Sara Venning

Past President
Chief Executive Officer, Northern Ireland Water

Sara started her career as an electrical engineer with the local electricity utility, Northern Ireland Electricity. Over a 14 year period with the company Sara held a number of positions, latterly as Customer Operations Manager with responsibility for delivery of customer connections to the electricity distribution network. She is a qualified black belt six sigma practitioner and has a passion for efficiency and customer service improvement initiatives.

Sara joined Northern Ireland (NI) Water in April 2010 as Director of Customer Service Delivery with responsibility for water production and distribution, wastewater collection and wastewater treatment together with all aspects of service to customers, including billing and customer contact handling. In September 2013, Sara was appointed Interim CEO and was appointed CEO from 1 April 2014.

Catherine Fearon

Head of Regulatory Compliance (Water), ESP Utilities Group

Catherine is a Chartered Scientist (CSci) and Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and has been working within the water industry for 21 years after completing her Masters in Water Science and Technology in 1998.  After a short time working for the Environment Agency she then joined Anglian Water and undertook various roles within Operations, Innovation and the commercial arm, H2go.  In 2001 Catherine left Anglian Water to become a Water Quality Scientist for Mid Kent Water, a role Catherine undertook for 7 years before Mid Kent Water and South East Water merged.  After a further 3 years as Water Quality Manager for South East Water, Catherine then rejoined Anglian Water in 2011 as their Water Quality Risk and Strategy Manager and became the Water Quality Regulation Manager in 2013. In 2021 she decided to take up a new challenge as the Head of Regulatory Compliance (Water) for ESP Utilities Group, a predominantly gas and electricity supplier, who is venturing into water.

Catherine has been an active member of the Institute of Water throughout her career holding the role of South East Area Chairman and the Eastern Area Membership Secretary.  She is passionate about the Institute of Water and feels privileged to be holding the post of Chair.

Steve Youell

Past Chair
Head of Emergency Planning & Security, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

Steve has worked in the water industry for 20 years, originally joining Portsmouth Water as a Laboratory Technician, and holding a number of other roles including Water Quality Scientist and Distribution Project Manager.

He joined DWI in 2014 where part of his responsibilities was liaising with the sector on emergency planning and security and more recently leading on the implementation of the Network & Information Systems (NIS) Regulations. In January 2020 he joined Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water as their Head of Emergency Planning and Security.

He has a BSc. (Hons) in Applied Science from Portsmouth University and is a Chartered Environmentalist and Chartered Scientist. He joined the Institute in 2006 and has been an active member on the South East Area Committee since 2007. He is part of the Institutes CPD assessment team and is a professional registration assessor for the Science Council.

Steve credits the Institute as one of the main reasons behind his career development and is therefore more than happy to talk about the benefits of the Institute to anyone who needs a ‘case study’.

Gabrielle Mandell

Chief Executive, Institute of Water

Gabrielle is Chief Executive of the Institute of Water, having joined the Institute of Water in June 2022, having worked for almost 30 years in the non-profit sector, in staff and volunteer roles.

Born and bred in multicultural Toronto, Gabrielle went to a French school and then went on to study history and languages at University, followed by Law School. An adoptive Geordie, Gabrielle came to the UK in 2000 to become Secretary General of CISV International. Over her two decades in post, she helped to strengthen, develop and grow the organisation and its unique peace education programmes.

Empowering organisations and their people is a passion for her and she also serves on a number of volunteer boards. And when she’s not in meetings or projects, there’s never a dull moment with her rescue pets around.

Ian Barker CEnv

Vice President Environment
Managing Director, Water Policy International

Ian Barker is Water Policy International Ltd’s founder and Managing Director. With over 35 years’ experience in the water sector he identified the need for an independent consultancy able to cover the spectrum from policy formulation through to practical, integrated water management solutions. And for an independent, authoritative voice on water policy and strategy.

Ian has worked within the water industry since before privatisation in 1989, when he opted for a career with the environmental regulator, rather than with one of the privatised companies. Since then, in a range of senior national roles, he developed a rare perspective to ensure that the water companies (and others) could deliver environmental protection and improvement, whilst still reconciling their wider responsibilities.

Robin Price CSci

Vice President Science
Director of Quality and Environment, Anglian Water

Robin’s career in the water industry began in 1992 when he started a PhD at the University of Birmingham, researching the impact of ozone treatment on algal-laden water and downstream water treatment processes. The PhD was sponsored by Anglian Water and, at the end of his studies, Robin was offered a 1 month contract by their Innovation team looking at the biology of activated carbon adsorbers. Robin spent over 20 years in scientific roles at Anglian Water which took him through the research and development, regulatory and operational teams, including 8 years as Head of Water Quality. In November 2018 Robin moved to Water Resources East, the regional water resource planning group developing a long-term multi-sector collaborative plan for water management across Eastern England, where he was Managing Director until the end of 2021..  In January 2022 Robin returned to Anglian Water as Director of Quality and Environment.

Robin’s role on the Institute of Water Board is to champion the professional development of scientists across the industry, particularly focused on developing Chartered Scientist and associated qualifications, working closely with the Science Council. Robin also chairs the Institute’s Professional Standards Committee by rotation with the Vice Presidents Engineering and Environment.

Jo Parker M.B.E., CEng

Vice President Engineering

Jo Parker is a chartered civil engineer and has worked in the water industry for over 40 years. She has held a variety of roles with UK water companies including Head of Network Asset Management and Operations Director and has also worked in a variety of other countries. She was awarded the MBE by the Queen in 1996 for services to the water industry.

She currently works as an independent consultant specialising in the management of water mains and is recognised internationally as an expert in the field. She has particular expertise at applying the principals of asset management to developing countries. She is a fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, The Institute of Water and the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management.

Besides being on the Engineering Panel of the Institute of Water she is a Council Member of the UK Society of Trenchless Technology, she has also been a chair of the Utilities Panel and the Midlands Branch of the Pipeline Industries Guild, the first woman National Chairman of the Institute of Water and a founder member of the Utility Mapping Association.

Paul Hickey

Board Member
Managing Director, RAPID

Paul Hickey is the Managing Director of RAPID (Regulators Alliance Progressing Infrastructure Development) – a regulatory partnership between Ofwat, the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate.  RAPID’s goal is facilitate the coordinated delivery of a programme of strategic water resource schemes required to meet the needs of people, the economy and our environment as set out in the National Water Resource Framework.  RAPID will also test the regulatory and commercial arrangements for water resource infrastructure to ensure it is fit for future needs.

Paul is seconded to RAPID from the Environment Agency where he was Deputy Director with oversight of Water Resources for England.  Prior to the Environment Agency, Paul worked in the water industry in a variety of regulation and asset management roles.

Paul is a Fellow of the Institute of Water and sits on its Board as well as the South West Area Committee.

Benjamin Tam

Board Member
Managing Director of Isle Utilities

Ben is Managing Director of Isle Utilities in the UK. He is a water sector professional with a background in science and innovation. Starting with a PhD in biochemistry he worked at Anglian Water, fulfilling a variety of operational and technical roles in water and water networks. Whilst at Anglian Water, he became a Chartered Scientist. At Isle, Ben has a focus on strategic consultancy projects water utilities to develop innovation plans and overcome the difficulty in implementing innovative ideas and technologies. Ben supports international projects and has led on a long-term project in Sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate the adoption of new technologies by utilities and as a result, has built up experience and networks across multiple countries. This international experience has also included a long involvement with IWA and supporting the delivery of the innovation pavilions at the Congress.

Ben has been a member of the Eastern Area Committee since 2010 and a recent past chair. He joins the IWater Board to represent the IWA and chairs the IWA UK committee. He believes there is a huge opportunity to do more in collaboration and leverage the water professional and academic communities both in the UK and internationally.

James Forrest

Board Member
Executive Vice President and Head of Energy & Utilities for Capgemini UK

James is also a member of the UK Board and Co-Chair of the Capgemini Global EUC Sector

James has spent over 24 years consulting to the UK, European, North American and Asia- Pacific utility industries during an aggressive period of deregulation and reform. He has a Master of Engineering and Management Studies (First Class with Honours) from the University of Birmingham.

James has a range of experience in the electricity and gas sectors and he specialises in:

  • Climate change, smart metering, smart grid, smart home and related clean-technology business
  • Business transformation under the reform of water, gas and electricity markets, particularly the introduction of wholesale market change and domestic competition;
  • Wholesale market structure, design and implementation in competitive electricity and gas sectors, including energy trading processes and systems;
  • Major software and infrastructure transformations for utilities including SAP, asset management and smart metering related technologies.


Ian McAulay

Board Member
Chief Executive Officer, Southern Water

Ian joined Southern Water as CEO in January 2017 and was appointed to the Board from 1 February.

Ian has more than 30 years of global water and environmental experience and a significant record of achievement operating in both publicly quoted FTSE 100/250 companies and privately held enterprises. Ian holds an honours degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and is a Chartered Member of the ICE, CIWEM.

Throughout his career he has managed major utility, construction and consulting businesses in the UK, Belgium, India and the USA. He has enhanced this practical experience with professional executive education, most notably at Harvard Business School. He has extensive experience in the UK regulated utility, construction and environmental services sectors, holding board positions across a broad range of commercial and statutory organisations.

In his previous role he served as an executive director of the Pennon Group plc and chief executive of its subsidiary company, Viridor, one of the largest renewable energy and recycling companies in the UK.

In a non-executive capacity, he served as an independently appointed member of Greater Manchester Authorities Low Carbon Hub Board and Scottish Government’s 2020 Climate Change Board. He currently chairs the Greater Brighton Infrastructure Panel. He has also provided expert input to Government Review Groups and Industry Partnerships with particular emphasis on the UK skills agenda and development of future smarter regulation and environmental policy.

Rose Shisler

Board Member
Stakeholder Engagement Programme Lead- Anglian Water

Rose is the Stakeholder Engagement Programme Lead at Anglian Water, having worked in the industry for 7 years. Her background is in clean water operations and she currently specialises in senior external stakeholder management. In 2020, Rose joined the Brand and Communications department at Anglian Water, bringing an operational focus to strategic engagement. She ensures that the views of external stakeholders are reflected in the water sector priorities, with a particular interest in community management and social mobility through support for vulnerable customers.

Rose is in the role of Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Board Champion, within the role she focuses on bringing new ideas and a different outlook, and to represent the future of our Institute. The Institute of Water Board is committed to a policy of inclusion and equality for all its staff, members and stakeholders. The is in recognition of the value that a diverse water industry brings to society, and Rose and the Board are committed to promoting these benefits.