• Staff

    Head shot of Alaina Harkness

    Executive Director

    Alaina leads Current’s work to build collaborations that advance innovative solutions to water challenges. She most recently served as managing director for the economic development firm RW Ventures, where she helped launch and lead the New Growth Innovation Network and developed inclusive growth strategies for cities and metropolitan regions. Prior, she held a research fellowship in urban governance at the Brookings Institution, led urban development strategy for the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and staffed civic collaboratives: The Partnership for New Communities and 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods. Alaina is a nonresident fellow in the Global Cities program at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and has published research and commentary for the Brookings Institution, the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, and CityLab. She holds a B.A. in political science and art history from the University of Rochester, and Masters degrees in Public Policy and Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago. Alaina serves on the boards of the CityTech Collaborative, Urban Initiatives, and Margaret’s Village. She is a 2014 fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago. @harknessa

    Head shot of Svetlana Taylor

    Technical Program Director

    Svetlana leads technology identification, selection, evaluation, and implementation for projects and programs designed to support Current’s mission to spur innovation in water and benefit Current’s members and partners. She develops technical and programmatic evaluation methodologies and has completed several engineering analysis projects to assess technical and economic viability of new technologies in specific applications. Svetlana holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

    Head shot of George Brigandi

    Partnership & Development Manager

    George serves as Current’s Partnership & Development Manager, where he focuses on creating new opportunities for engagement among Current’s diverse stakeholders, which include innovators, utilities, industry leaders, investors, researchers and NGOs. By growing Current’s community of members and collaborators, he enhances the organization’s reach, and improves its ability to create value and impact. George has been working in marketing and business development for the better part of a decade, and prior to joining Current, he was the Director of Marketing at Urban Rivers, where he led their brand and PR efforts. In 2018, he concluded his MBA in Sustainable Management and Entrepreneurship at DePaul University, and he also has a BA in Anthropology and History from Purdue University. George is a sustainability evangelist and frequently speaks at local, national and international events and conferences, like Greenbuild and DIPMF.

    Head shot of Preeti Iqbal


    Preeti is a Communications Intern at Current, funded through DePaul University's Coleman Entrepreneurship Center's Summer Internship Program. After working for over 20 years in corporate technology as a Systems Administrator, Project/Program Manager, and most recently as a Business Service Manager, Preeti took a break to follow her interests and develop herself through painting, volunteering, reading, and teaching. She decided to formalize her interest in sustainability and the environment and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Sustainability Management at DePaul University. Her future career interests lie in using her project management experience in natural resource management. She is PMP certified and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Computer Engineering from the University of Poona (India) and Southern Methodist University respectively.

    Head shot of Fatima Azmat


    Fatima is a Summer Water Policy Intern at Current, funded through the Bartlett Fellowship by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. She is entering her second year of graduate studies in Computational Analysis and Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Before moving to Chicago, she lived in Lahore, Pakistan, and worked as a Research Assistant for the World Bank project ‘Pakistan At Hundred’. She developed her interest in environmental policy in her undergraduate studies, while conducting a Cost Benefit Analysis of a coal power plant in Sahiwal, Pakistan. This study was later published by Palgrave Macmillan in China’s Belt and Road Initiative in a Global Context Volume II.

    Head shot of Natalia Gielczowski


    Natalia is a Water Innovation Engineering Intern at Current, and is a current student at Illinois Institute of Technology where she just completed a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and will graduate this fall with a M.E. in Environmental Engineering. She has a passion for environmental sustainability and technologies, specifically regarding water treatment. Some projects that she has worked on during her time at IIT include: researching sustainability of renewable energies in various countries, configuring material for a statistical analysis engineering course, and completing a technical and economic analysis of an industrial-scale styrene production plant. Prior to starting her internship at Current, she worked at a Currency Exchange as a teller and notary public for over four years.

    Head shot of Thomas Doyle


    Tom is a Water Innovation Engineering Intern at Current, where he assists the team with research, analysis, project development, and tech database management. He is a Chicagoland native from Tinley Park and is currently studying Chemical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Tom is passionate about sustainability, particularly where it applies to the environment and quality of life. Prior to beginning his internship, Tom gained laboratory experience in electrochemistry and materials science, studying the effects of corrosion for industry applications, and played an active role in researching novel energy storage technologies at the university.

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