Introducing Assistant Secretary Mike Connor

By Kris Polly 

Mike Connor, the new assistant secretary of the army for civil works, brings impressive experience to his position. In addition to experience working for private industry, federal agencies, and the United States Senate, he has served as the deputy secretary of the interior and as the commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation—making him the first person to have served both as commissioner of Reclamation and as assistant secretary of the army for civil works. In our cover interview, Assistant Secretary Connor tells us about how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is using funds from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make new investments across the nation. 

Getting federal funding for a local water project through a Water Resources Development Act or another Army Corps process is a daunting prospect. We speak with retired Army Corps Director of Civil Works and Water Strategies Senior Advisor Steve Stockton to learn more about the best ways for municipalities and local agencies to seek federal authorization and funding for their initiatives. 

Meeting the water needs of a growing area of drought-stricken Southern California is no easy prospect, but Eastern Municipal Water District is taking the task in hand. Assistant General Manager Lanaya Voelz Alexander explains how, with proactive investments in local water supplies and water use efficiency measures, the district is positioning itself to guarantee safe and reliable water service decades into the future. 

When the City of Boulder, Colorado, needed to relocate and rehabilitate a section of its sewer system, A&W Coatings applied its environmentally safe epoxy to rehabilitate existing structures and protect new ones. Project Engineer Hunter Sansone tells us about how A&W completed the job while minimizing disturbance to the city, its bikers, and local wildlife. 

Finally, we speak with Craig Beckman, the CEO of Aqua Membranes, about how his company is improving reverse osmosis membrane performance by using 3‑D printing technology to replace plastic feed mesh with dimensional forms printed directly on the membrane surface. 

With a new infusion of infrastructure spending by the federal government, there are many opportunities to advance water supply and efficiency projects across the nation. I hope this issue of Municipal Water Leader gives you ideas about the projects you’d like to pursue and how to do it. 

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Municipal Water Leader magazine and the president and CEO of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He can be contacted at