Leila E. Rice, APR
Director of Communications

Leila Rice, who joined HRSD in March 2017, directs communication strategy and public outreach for HRSD. Before that, she was Public Affairs Manager for the Elizabeth River Tunnels Project. Ms. Rice also served as Community and Media Relations Manager for nonprofit, ForKids, Inc., and has over 20 years of media and voiceover experience. Ms. Rice received her Bachelor of Arts degree from James Madison University and holds Accreditation in Public Relations. She is also a graduate of the Kenan-Flagler Water and Wastewater Leadership Program. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Public Relations Society of America-Hampton Roads chapter and is a member of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Communications and Public Affairs Committee and the James Madison University School of Communications Alumni Council. Ms. Rice actively supports local community organizations, currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore and volunteering as an ESL teacher with Hampton Roads Refugee Relief.


Bruce W. Husselbee, PhD, 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 and a doctorate in Engineering from Old Dominion University. He also has completed the Kenan-Flagler Water and Wastewater Leadership Program. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Virginia and a Design-Build Institute of America Certified Professional. He is active in a number of professional organizations including the Old Dominion University Civil and Environmental Engineering Visiting Council, the Water Environment Federation and the Design-Build Institute of America.


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 served as chair of the St. Gregory the Great's School Board from 2015-2019. In 2018, he was elected to the $2.0 billion Virginia Investment Pool Board of Trustees. In 2020, he was appointed by the Governor to the Virginia Board of Accountancy and was elected to the National Association of Clean Water Agencies Board of Directors.


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 joined HRSD in 2008 and was named Director of Operations in 2015. In that role, he leads a staff of over 530 who are responsible for the complex operation and maintenance of HRSD's 17 treatment plants, interceptor collection systems, and electrical and instrumentation infrastructure as well as various support services such as fleet management, infrastructure assessment, carpentry, and a machine shop. In his previous position as HRSD 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. Before joining HRSD, Mr. de Mik served for seven years as the Director of Finance and Business Services for the City of Norfolk. A certified public accountant, he holds an MBA from the College of William and Mary and has completed the Kenan-Flagler Water and Wastewater Leadership Program, the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Program and CIVIC Leadership Institute. He received a bachelor's degree in accounting and business administration from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. Mr. de Mik also serves as a board chair and 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. Ms. Hogg played a key role in the effort to bring HRSD's laboratory into full compliance with Virginia's Laboratory Accreditation regulation. She has served on the Advocacy Committee for the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference Institute. Ms. Hogg also was instrumental in the development of HRSD's quality program in her role as one of the first facilitators. She has been an active member of the Water Environment Federation and the Virginia Water Environment Association, where she served as chair of the National Laboratory Practices Committee, was a member of the committee Leadership Council and now actively supports the Utility Management Committee initiatives. She is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management, International Public Management Association and serves as Chair for the City of Hampton’s Federal Area Development Authority.


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. He has served on three federal advisory committees for EPA and the Department of the Interior and several advisory groups to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Dr. Pletl has also served on numerous Water Research Foundation WRF project oversight committees which define the goals and guide the work of WRF 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 eighteen 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 BS in Civil Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, a MS 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 former member of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Bay Program Executive Council. Dr. Bott is a licensed 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 a past co-chair of The Water Research Foundation and WEF Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) program. Charles’ technical interests include municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, as well as renewable energy generation. He has specific expertise in the areas of chemical and biological phosphorus removal, denitrification with alternative carbon sources, nitrification kinetics, nutrient recovery, deammonification/anammox, biological treatment process modeling and design, and biogas conditioning. Important areas of focus are mainstream shortcut nitrogen removal and technologies for potable reuse.