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NEWS: Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells to be appointed CEO, sees “opportunity to build upon successes”

Leadership, passion, commitment among words used to describe Dreyfuss-Wells as CEO Ciaccia prepares for February retirement

Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells will be appointed Chief Executive Officer effective February 11. Dreyfuss-Wells will succeed Julius Ciaccia who, after more than nine years as CEO, will retire on February 10, 2017.

Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells addresses
the City Club, 2016

“Under the leadership of CEO Ciaccia, the Sewer District has become one of the most renowned progressive environmental organizations in the nation,” Dreyfuss-Wells said. “I would like to thank the Board of Trustees for giving me the opportunity to build upon those successes.”

Dreyfuss-Wells has been with the Sewer District since 2008, and currently is the Deputy Director of Watershed Programs. In addition to her leadership role in the development and implementation of the Regional Stormwater Management Program, Dreyfuss-Wells played a critical role in the negotiations with the federal government of Project Clean Lake, the Sewer District’s program to significantly reduce the amount of raw sewage discharging into the environment.

She has led on the Sewer District’s Green Infrastructure Program, including the implementation of the grants program, which is designed to remove stormwater from the combined system as redevelopment activities occur.

She has been integral in the development of the Member Community Infrastructure Program, a funding program provided by the Sewer District to assist member communities in addressing water quality and quantity issues associated with aging sewer infrastructure that adversely impact human health and the environment.

Julius Ciaccia

“Since she began her career with us, Kyle demonstrated significant leadership related to water-quality issues, both at the Sewer District and during her work with national water organizations like the National Association of Clean Water Agencies,” said Ciaccia.

“This will be beneficial as the Sewer District continues to lead on local and national sewer- and stormwater-infrastructure issues, from high-performing plant operations to regional stormwater management efforts.”

Currently, Dreyfuss-Wells is chair of the National Association of Clean Water Agency’s Stormwater Management Committee and the District 1 Natural Resources Assistance Council for the Ohio Public Works Commission’s Clean Ohio Conservation Program.

Darnell Brown, Chief Operating Officer for the City of Cleveland and Sewer District Board President, says Dreyfuss-Wells has demonstrated enthusiastic leadership and a commitment to this region. “She has not only played an integral role in addressing wastewater issues like combined sewer overflows, she’s a visionary and a pioneer in matters related to stormwater issues. This is extremely important as we continue to enhance this piece of our core mission.”

Dreyfuss-Wells, right, at Earthfest 2016

Brown went on to say that in her previous work as Director of the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc., she worked with local municipalities to improve their stormwater control best practices, protecting our region’s water quality resources. “She’s perfectly situated to continue our decades-long work in improving sewer infrastructure as well as carrying out our Regional Stormwater Management Program.”

“I’m also pleased that we had such a strong internal candidate to promote to the CEO position,” said Brown. “It speaks highly to the talent we have in this organization.”

“Kyle’s passion is second to none, and that’s saying a lot when you’re among Julius Ciaccia’s Senior Staff,” said Jack Bacci, Mayor of Cuyahoga Heights and Sewer District Trustee. “Notably, I’m impressed with Kyle’s commitment to continuing the Sewer District’s role in protecting our region’s most valuable asset, Lake Erie, ensuring its sustainability for future generations. …We are also excited that Kyle will continue the Sewer District’s high level of attentiveness to the needs and concerns of our elected officials and customers.”

Dreyfuss-Wells received her BS in Biology Summa Cum Laude from The Ohio State University. She received a MPA and a MS in Environmental Science with honors at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Samoa. Before joining the Sewer District, she was Director of the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc., a non-profit organization serving 35 municipalities on Cleveland’s east side improving land-use decision-making in the 267 square-mile Chagrin River watershed.

Originally posted December 29, 2017 / Edited January 6, 2017 following Board of Trustees’ confirmation of Dreyfuss-Wells’ appointment January 5