HRSD Senior Leadership
Leila E. Rice, APR
Director of Communications
Leila Rice, who joined HRSD in March 2017, directs and guides overall strategic communication initiatives, internal and external communications, media relations, crisis communications, branding and oversight of community relations and community education programs. Prior to joining HRSD, she was the Public Affairs Manager for Elizabeth River Crossings, where she managed internal and external communications, media relations and community outreach for the Elizabeth River Tunnels Project. Her experience also includes serving as Community and Media Relations Manager for Norfolk-based non-profit agency, ForKids, Inc., and more than 20 years of media experience, including traffic reporter for several Hampton Roads radio and television stations and multi-market broadcast management, affiliate relations and product marketing with Westwood One's Metro Networks. She has also served as a morning radio show co-host and News and Public Affairs Director at WAFX-FM and is an accomplished voiceover and on-camera talent. Ms. Rice holds a bachelor's degree in Communication Arts from James Madison University. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and WEF and also serves on the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Regional Communications Committee and the NACWA Communication Committee.
Phillip L. Hubbard, PE
Special Assistant for Compliance Assurance
Phil Hubbard was the Sanitary Sewer Overflow Reduction Manager for the City of Virginia Beach prior to joining HRSD in 2007. In that capacity he ensured full compliance with regulatory orders, represented the City with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, served as Team Leader for the Regional Capacity Team, and managed contracts with consulting engineers. His extensive experience also includes more than 20 years as an operations manager in the city's public utilities department. A registered professional engineer, Mr. Hubbard holds a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and has completed the Kenan-Flagler Water and Wastewater Leadership Program. He is a member of the American Society of Professional Engineers and WEF. He twice received the Virginia Beach City Manager's Creativity, Innovation and Public Service Award, and was named the Hampton Roads American Society Civil Engineers Government Engineer of the Year in 2010.
Bruce W. Husselbee, PE
Director of Engineering
Bruce Husselbee became Director of Engineering in July 2005. Before his promotion to this senior leadership position, he was a Project Manager in the HRSD Design and Construction Division for nine years. Mr. Husselbee previously worked in the consulting engineering field for 12 years prior to joining HRSD. He holds a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and a master's degree in Environmental Engineering from George Washington University. He also has completed the Kenan-Flagler Water and Wastewater Leadership Program. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Coastal Engineering at Old Dominion University. He is active in a number of professional organizations including the Old Dominion University Civil and Environmental Engineering Visiting Council and the WEF Utility Management Committee.
Jay A. Bernas, PE, MBA
Director of Finance
Jay Bernas was promoted to Director of Finance in October 2015. Before his promotion to this position, Mr. Bernas served as Chief of Planning and Analysis for 10 years and was responsible for planning HRSD's $1.4 billion Capital Improvement Program, performing business case analyses, system capacity analyses to support regional growth and managing four technical sections: Geographic Information Systems, Data Analysis, Hydraulic Modeling and Capital Planning. Prior to joining HRSD, he was a project manager with the City of Virginia Beach. Mr. Bernas graduated from Old Dominion University in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and earned his MBA from the College of William and Mary in 2013. He also has completed the Kenan-Flagler Water and Wastewater Leadership Program and was part of the 2008 class for LEAD Hampton Roads. He received the George Robert House, Jr. Award for the young public administrator of the year from the American Society for the Public Administration in 2006 and was recognized by Inside Business as a "Top Forty under 40" in 2011. Appointed by the Virginia Beach City Council to serve on the Planning Commission from 2006-2013, Mr. Bernas was its Chair for the last two years of his tenure. He is a member of the Dominion Virginia Power Community Advisory Council and currently serves as chair of the St. Gregory the Great's School Board.
Donald C. Corrado
Director of Information Technology
Prior to his appointment in 2008, Don Corrado served as HRSD's Chief of Information Technology for nine years. In that capacity he was responsible for the implementation of a scalable, fully-licensed, standards-based wide area network capable of supporting the various enterprise-class applications required to meet HRSD's business needs. Mr. Corrado's career includes public and private sector experience as an IT manager, enterprise solutions architect, information systems security officer, project leader and contract specialist. He earned a bachelor's degree from Old Dominion University and is a Master Certified NetWare Engineer, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Nortel Certified Enterprise Solutions Provider. Mr. Corrado is also a U.S. Department of Defense Certified Acquisition Professional and Checkpoint Firewall One Certified. He is a member of the Gartner Executive Panel, American Water Works Association ("AWWA") and WEF and has completed the Kenan-Flagler Water and Wastewater Leadership Program.
Steven G. de Mik, MBA, CPA
Director of Operations
Steve de Mik, who was named Director of Operations in 2015, joined HRSD in 2008. As Director of Operations, he leads a staff of over 500 who are responsible for the operation of HRSD's treatment plants and interceptor systems as well as various support services such as fleet management, carpentry and a machine shop. In his previous position as Director of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Mr. de Mik was responsible for HRSD's general financial and business functions, including financial reporting, investment portfolio, debt and risk management, and customer billing. A certified public accountant, he holds a MBA from the College of William and Mary and has completed the Kenan-Flagler Water and Wastewater Leadership Program and the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Program. Before joining HRSD, Mr. de Mik served for seven years as the Director of Finance and Business Services for the City of Norfolk. His duties in that post included managing the financial operations of the city including a pension system and a debt portfolio of approximately $1 billion using three different credit structures. In addition, he was responsible for the city's parking, facilities maintenance and fleet operations. Mr. de Mik's years of public and private sector experience also include positions with Knox County, Tennessee; Knoxville, Tennessee; Chipman and McMurray, CPA of Hendersonville, Tennessee; and the Comptroller of the Treasury, Division of State Audit, Nashville, Tennessee. He received a bachelor's degree in accounting and business administration from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. Mr. de Mik also serves as the treasurer for Heart for Orphans, a nonprofit organization based in the City of Williamsburg, Virginia.
Paula A. Hogg
Director of Talent Management
Paula Hogg became Director of Talent Management when the position was established in 2014. A graduate of Virginia Tech and the Kenan-Flagler Water and Wastewater Leadership Program, Ms. Hogg began her HRSD career in 1983. Her progressively responsible positions led to her selection as the Chief of Laboratory in 2005. In that capacity, she oversaw the effective operation of HRSD's state-of-the-art Central Environmental Laboratory and ensured proper internal analysis and regulatory control. Ms. Hogg played a key role in the effort to bring HRSD's laboratory into full compliance with Virginia's Laboratory Accreditation regulation. She also has led various inter-departmental teams, was instrumental in the development of HRSD's quality program and served as one of the first facilitators. Ms. Hogg has been an active member of the WEF and the Virginia Water Environment Association, where she served as chair of the National Laboratory Practices Committee and as a member of the committee Leadership Council. She has also served on the Advocacy Committee for the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference Institute.
James J. Pletl, PhD
Director of Water Quality
Jim Pletl was promoted to Director of Water Quality in December 2011. Previously, he was the Chief of Technical Services for five years. In that capacity, he managed HRSD's environmental monitoring and permitting program. He also served as an Environmental Scientist for 17 years, providing technical reviews and conducting planning for water quality studies. Dr. Pletl holds a bachelor's degree in Biology from Alfred University and a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from Old Dominion University. He also is a graduate of the Kenan-Flagler Water and Wastewater Leadership Program. Dr. Pletl is the vice-chair of the NACWA Water Quality Committee and the chair of the VAMWA Water Quality Committee. He has served on two federal advisory committees for EPA and several advisory groups to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Dr. Pletl has also served on numerous Water Environment and Reuse Foundation ("WERF") project oversight committees which define the goals and guide the work of WERF research relevant to wastewater utility issues. Dr. Pletl also serves on the Virginia Nutrient Credit Exchange Association Board of Governors.
Charles B. Bott, PhD, PE, BCEE
Director of Water Technology and Research
Dr. Charles B. Bott joined HRSD in 2009 and is the Director of Water Technology and Research. He manages technology innovation and research and development for HRSD's 18 wastewater treatment plants (249 MGD combined capacity) and interceptor system. Dr. Bott is also an Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University. He was formerly an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and a consulting engineer with Parsons Engineering Science. Dr. Bott has a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, a master's degree in Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. He is a fellow of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Bay Program Executive Council. Dr. Bott is a professional engineer in Virginia, a Board Certified Environmental Engineer, and a licensed Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator - Virginia Class I. He is a two time winner of the WEF Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal for outstanding contribution to wastewater principles/processes research, he was a previous member of the WEF Board of Trustees, and he is the current co-chair of the WEF and the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) program. Dr. Bott's technical interests include municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, as well as renewable energy generation in wastewater treatment and landfill applications. He has specific expertise in the areas of chemical and biological phosphorus removal, denitrification with methanol and alternative carbon sources, nitrification kinetics and evaluation of nitrification inhibition, nutrient recovery, deammonification/anammox, biological treatment process modeling and design, and biogas conditioning. He also specializes in the treatment of unique chemical constituents in industrial wastewater applications by both physical-chemical and biological processes. An important area of focus is the further development and implementation of sidestream deammonification processes and the continued investigations into the potential for mainstream shortcut nitrogen removal. Treatment technologies for potable reuse are also an emerging topic of interest for Dr. Bott.