Institute of Water - Board of Directors
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Board of Directors

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Steve Youell

Vice Chair

Inspector, Drinking Water Inspectorate

Steve started his career by joining Portsmouth Water as a Laboratory Technician and progressed to Water Quality Scientist, managing the laboratory work areas

In 2010 he became Distribution Project Manager where he had responsibility of Emergency Planning, Resilience, and implementing the network side of the company’s Drinking Water Safety Plans. During this time he also completed a 6 month secondment at Southern Water on their Universal Metering Programme.

In 2014 he joined DWI as an Inspector and alongside conducting his statutory duties he is the Inspectorates Training and Development Champion.

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 where he is currently Area Chairman. 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’

Sara Venning

Vice 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.

Douglas Millican


Chief Executive, Scottish Water

Douglas is Chief Executive of Scottish Water, which supplies over five million customers across the mainland and islands of Scotland. Douglas has worked in the Scottish water industry for over 20 years, initially in financial and commercial roles with East of Scotland Water.  Since Scottish Water was formed in 2002, he has been at the heart of the transformation of the business, serving as Finance and Regulation Director for over ten years before being appointed as Chief Executive in 2013.

Before joining the water sector, Douglas worked with Price Waterhouse in the UK and New Zealand, and with Tyco in Australia, in a variety of financial roles.  He is a Chartered Accountant with a BCom from the University of Edinburgh and is an Associate Member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.

Douglas is a non-executive Director and Trustee of World Vision UK where he chairs the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.

Thomas Faulkner

Board Member

Executive Vice President, Skanska UK

Thomas is a Chartered Civil Engineer who started as a graduate with Skanska and has over 20 years’ experience across the infrastructure sector, building roads, bridges, tunnels and water treatment works. Thomas has developed relationships with many of Skanska’s most important clients, including National Grid, Crossrail, Anglian Water, Welsh Water and Thames Water. Having worked on long term frameworks, alliances and major projects such as the 2012 Olympics and Crossrail, Thomas has become a passionate advocate for the delivery of sustainable solutions through collaborative partnerships. He is a member for the Green Construction Board’s infrastructure working group and also sits on the Construction Leadership Council’s Innovation in Buildings working group.

Bob Taylor

Board Member

Operations Director – Drinking Water Services, South West 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 30 years and has spent time in Australia, United Arab Emirates and Central and Eastern Asia.

Since 2013 Bob has worked in the UK, first as Director of Operations, then MD at Sembcorp Bournemouth Water. Following the acquisition by Pennon Group he was appointed to his current role in January 2016. Bob is responsible for drinking water services across both South West Water and Bournemouth Water, with a staff of around 500. Bob has board level experience spanning fourteen years and is currently a Director of two businesses within the Pennon Group.

Simon Cyhanko


Sewerage Operations Manager, Northumbrian Water Group

Simon joined Northumbrian Water in 2001. Having ‘graduated’ from the graduate scheme Simon has worked in a number of people management roles in Information Services, Water Production and more recently Sewerage Operations. Personal development has been central to Simon’s career and he has completed a Leadership and Management degree and has achieved Chartered Manager and Chartered Environmentalist registration over recent years.

Simon has been an active part of the Northern Area Committee since 2003 where most recently he held the role of Area Chair. Simon believes the Institute to be a ‘family’ and is delighted to join the board and have the opportunity to further promote the institute within his company and the broader industry.

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.

Peter Simpson

Board Member

Chief Executive, Anglian Water

Peter Simpson was appointed to the Board of Anglian Water Services Limited in November 2004. He was appointed Managing Director in January 2010 and became Chief Executive Officer of AWG in October 2013. He previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the day – to – day functioning of Anglian Water, with a scope covering operations, asset management and customer services. Prior to that, he held positions within the international division of AWG, including Regional Director for Europe and South America, based in the Czech Republic, and Senior Vice President of Operations, based in the USA.

Peter is a director of Open Water Market Limited and Market Operator Services Limited, and served as Chairman of Water UK from April 2012 until September 2013.

Peter is a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager, a Chartered Environmentalist, Chartered Scientist and a Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner. He also holds an MBA from Warwick Business School.

Natalie Akroyd

Board Member

Head of Coal Authority Contract, Severn Trent Services

Natalie’s career in the Water Industry started during her Chemistry Master’s degree where she spend a year working at Yorkshire Water’s waste water R&D department during her Industrial Placement year. After graduating from the University of Leeds, Natalie went on to join Severn Trent Water’s Graduate scheme, and during here 11 years there undertook a variety of roles in both clean and waste water, ranging from Operations to Strategy to Engineering and Business Change Project Management. In January 2015, Natalie transferred to Severn Trent Services where she is now heading up the Coal Authority contract for the organisation that involves the operation and maintenance of mine-water treatment works and mine monitoring sites across England, Wales and Scotland. She has been a member of the Midlands area committee for 11 years and held the roles of Treasurer, Sponsorship Lead, Area Forum Rep and Chair.

Tim Wagstaff

Board Member

Demand Planning Project Manager, Northumbrian Water

Tim, a 2012 rising star and member since he joined the industry in 2008, was elected to the board in 2015 after an intense recruitment process offered to all rising stars.

Tim is responsible for oversight of the National Innovation Awards ensuring it continues to recognise the exciting new innovations created and implemented every year across the UK.  The three year term of his directorship will be spent listening and supporting members and industry innovators to achieve their goals via the National Award.

Tim is a keen rugby union fan, has a passion for sustainability and the environment, and has spent more time than he cares to remember at work discussing toilets!

Come and say hello at any Eastern Area event where he’d love to hear your ideas on raising awareness and inspiring innovation in the water and sewerage industry.

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.

Robin Price CSci

Vice President Science

Head of Water Quality, 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.  Over 20 years later, Robin’s scientific career at Anglian Water has taken him through the research and development, regulatory and operational teams, and Robin is currently Head of Water Quality, responsible for process science, public health liaison, water quality risk management along with water quality policy, strategy and regulation within the Water Services directorate.

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 Membership and Standards Committee, and is the Board Diversity Champion.

Marie Whaley

Board Member

Senior Associate, Arup

Originally from France Marie started her career with the Suez Environment group over 25 years ago and has worked in the Water Industry ever since. A civils engineer with PhD in Fluid Dynamics and a Masters in Thermodynamics, she started her professional life as a process engineer. With Northumbrian Water for 20 years, her career broadened to operational positions with a focus on building expertise and leadership in Strategic Asset Management. Marie is Board member and Treasurer of the International Water Association where she actively supports the development of young professionals. Her position on our Board brings closer links to IWA and its global network of 10,000 water professionals.

Lynn Cooper

Chief Executive, Institute of Water

Lynn left her native Glasgow in 1983 with an Accountancy degree and qualified as an accountant with Sunderland and South Shields Water Company in 1987. She remained with the company when it became North East Water then Northumbrian Water until January 1997 when she moved to the Institute of Water as General Secretary. She was appointed as Chief Executive and a Board Member in December 2007. Lynn is a Founder Director of the Society for the Environment, where she served as Treasurer for 8 years, and a trustee of Utilities and Service Industries Training Limited – a charity providing grants and bursaries for education and training.