SWAN Leadership

The SWAN Forum is governed by its Executive Council and Management Team and is supported by a global team of Ambassadors who champion SWAN's mission.

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SWAN Council
SWAN Leadership Team
SWAN Ambassadors
Former Council Members


SWAN Council

Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson, Chairman

Ken Thompson has 38 years of experience in the industry and is a Senior Technology Fellow for Jacobs in their Denver Office. He serves as the Global Technology Leader for IoT and Smart Sensors for the Jacobs Digital Solutions Team, which includes the design and implementation of smart systems for water, wastewater and other sectors. Ken has also managed or served as the technical lead in many Surveillance and Response systems and water quality optimization projects for several U.S. clients. Prior to joining Jacobs, Ken worked for public utilities in water, wastewater, recycled water system operations, process evaluation, water quality, and regulations.

Jennifer Rebeiro

Jennifer Rebeiro is the Chief Information Officer at City West Water. Over the past 20 years, she has managed a number of operations and projects ranging across a wide set of industries, from Banking and Finance, Transport, Manufacturing, Property Services, Telecommunications and Government. Jennifer’s core strengths are her people focus, business mindset and having the courage to bring bold ideas to life through determination, influence, cross organisational collaboration and hard work. Jennifer has a Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Business, is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is currently a member of the IWN executive.


Fredrick Royan

Fredrick Royan has been analysing the global water market for over 15 years and is the Global Leader and Vice President of the Sustainability and Circular Economy practise at Frost & Sullivan. He led the launch of the Smart Water Program in 2010 and has since focused on shaping the Global Water Research Program around digital transformation and together with his team of analysts has published authoritative reports on Smart Water Grid and related segments. He has a Masters in Environmental Protection and Management from the University of Edinburgh secured as a Shell Centenary Chevening Scholar and has also been conferred the Frost & Sullivan Fellowship.

Nav Otal

Nav Otal has over 20 years’ experience in utility management, fiscal and strategic planning, and policy development in the public sector. She has been the Director of Utilities for the City of Bellevue, WA (US) for 7 years and was the Deputy Director for 6 years prior to that, overseeing Engineering, Operations and Maintenance, and Resource Management and Customer Service. Prior to coming to the City, Nav worked as a researcher in the field of cancer endocrinology at the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from University of British Columbia and a Master’s degree in business administration from City University.

Rik Thijssen

Rik Thijssen has over 25 years of experience in innovation and business development in several sector including 9 years in the water utility domain. He is leading the business development department at Vitens, the largest water utility in the Netherlands serving 5.4 million customers. In addition to his responsibility in establishing Vitens’ smart grid infrastructure, Rik is leading also innovative programs on customer technology, sustainability and circular economy. Rik holds a BSc in microbiology, a Business administration & Business strategy degree from the Academy of Management (IBO-University Groningen) and finished the Leading Digital Transformation & Innovation programme at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.

Scott Branum

Scott has worked in the water industry for over 21 years. His experience includes end-to-end process water management, treatment and conservation. He is now Senior Manager for the newly formed Digital Business Solutions group at Evoqua Water Technologies. This team develops smart water products and IoT solutions for Evoqua’s digital transformation strategy. Scott holds a BS in Biochemistry from Auburn University.

Manuel Parra

Manuel Parra

Manuel Parra is Vice President of Practice Management at Xylem. He previously served as the Business Development Director, Software Solutions – Americas at AVEVA. Manuel has become an avid and active voice in the smart water networks space and has authored numerous articles, white-papers and presentations on various smart water topics. He has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Murcia (Spain) and a B.A. in European Business from Manchester Metropolitan University (UK).

SWAN Leadership Team

Amir Cahn, Executive Director

Amir joined SWAN in 2013 and throughout his time has helped engage members, develop in-depth research reports, and create innovative tools such as the SWAN Interactive Tool and SWAN Research Portal. Amir also helped launch and grow regional SWAN Alliances in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. Before joining SWAN, he completed a dual-master’s degree in Environmental Science and Public Affairs from Indiana University. In conjunction with SWAN, Amir is now pursuing a PhD focused on the impact of the Data-as-a-Service model on water and wastewater management.


Shirley Ben-Dak, VP Strategy & Innovation

Shirley joined SWAN in 2016 to lead the organisation’s marketing and innovation activities, helping to expand SWAN’s regional and global presence. Shirley is a smart city and international development consultant, previously serving as the Head of Global Initiatives at S.U.iT.S, Smarter Urban & IT Strategies, a private urban integrator founded to promote smart urbanisation & civic smartness. Before joining SWAN, Shirley completed an MSc. in Sustainability Management from Columbia University, where she focused on water resource management and sustainable cities.


Sapir Yarden, Project Manager

Sapir joined SWAN in 2019 as a Project Manager, focused on expanding SWAN’s global activities and Member engagement. Before joining SWAN, Sapir worked as a consultant at Ernst & Young LLP (EY) and volunteered her time on many social impact causes. She holds an undergraduate degree in International Politics from Georgetown University and an MBA from Tel Aviv University.


Shayna Ramboz, Events Manager

Shayna joined SWAN in 2020 as an Events Manager responsible for annual conferences, partner events, and global webinars. Before joining SWAN, she completed an MBA with a specialisation in environmental sustainability. Her experience managing events spans from large international events to those supporting smaller NGOs.


Jennifer Rodaway, Financial Controller

Jen is a CIMA Qualified Accountant who has been working with the SWAN Forum since 2012 providing support with invoicing, payments, cash-flow, banking and financial reporting. She currently works as a Management Accountant for i2O who she has been with for 5 years.

SWAN Ambassadors

Gigi Karmous-Edwards

Gigi Karmous-Edwards is an independent consultant of Karmous-Edwards Consulting. She consults on digital strategy and transformation and now focuses on digital twin technology. She currently works with global smart cities on integrating digital twin technology across sectors applying her 25+ years of technical career in big data and IoT analytics. Gigi recently founded and is the co-Chair of the SWAN Digital Twin H2O Work Group to help accelerate the adoption of holistic water utility management using digital twins. She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering.


Michael Strahand

A bilingual entrepreneurial scientist, Michael is a respected member of the global smart water community, a well-regarded and respected water industry expert who fuses academic excellence with business acumen. Michael has founded and led several innovative companies from start-up to a position of market leadership. Michael takes a holistic, independent view and identifies how to employ technology, people and analytics to deliver results and value to water utilities and customers. Michael is passionate about water and especially the way that Smart water systems can help us on your journey towards a world where everyone has equal access to water and sanitation.


Samantha Ostridge

Samantha is a Chartered Environmentalist with over 20 years of experience in the water industry. Over this time she has gained a broad spectrum of knowledge and understanding of industry-related issues. She previously headed up a team of specialists dedicated to driving change through programme optimisation and innovative solutions including the design and implementation of Smart Water Networks. More recently Samantha has developed a strong people focus moving into a role supporting the future industry leaders through coaching and leadership development. Samantha has an MSc in Environmental Engineering from Imperial College, London.

Former SWAN Council Members

Amir Peleg (Former Chairman)

Amir is the Founder and CEO of TaKaDu, a leader in Central Event Management solutions for water and gas utilities. In addition, Amir was a Co-Founder of SWAN, the Smart Water Networks Forum. A serial entrepreneur, Amir founded YaData in 2005, serving as CEO until the company’s acquisition by Microsoft in 2008. In 1999, he founded Cash-U (later named Unipier). Amir holds a B.Sc. in Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.

Simon Bunn

Simon is founder and Chief Technical Officer of Suez Smart Solutions (NZ). After graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) Simon spent the next 21 years in control systems design, rising to become a partner in The Beca Group in 1999. In 2000 Simon used his experience of control systems and water treatment processes to design the complex software at the heart of the Aquadvanced Energy product, the world’s first commercially available real-time water operations optimiser.

Keith Hilson

Keith Hilson

Keith has spent the past 20 years working for water utilities and technology companies supplying the water industry. He previously joined i2O from Sensus, where he was responsible for the smart water network company’s pre-sales activity. Keith was Head of Leakage at South East Water from 2008 to 2014.