Southwest Environmental Finance Center Staff



Heather Himmelberger

Director, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
Civil Engineering
University of New Mexico

Heather Himmelberger is a registered professional engineer with 30 years of experience. She has a BS in Environmental Engineering from Penn State University, an MS in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and is pursuing a PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of New Mexico. She has been the Director of the Southwest Environmental Finance Center (formerly the New Mexico EFC) since 1996. Heather has worked in all areas of water and wastewater over her career, including design, operations, troubleshooting, training and technical assistance. While Heather works in all areas of capacity development, her primary focus for the last 13 years has been asset management, including the related topics of energy efficiency and water efficiency (water loss auditing and non-revenue water loss reduction.) Heather has delivered well over 100 trainings of this type throughout the U.S. She has also assisted utilities of all sizes with the implementation of asset management. Heather has also had the privilege of visiting all 50 states and all U.S. territories and has worked with water or wastewater utilities in almost all of them. She is a member of AWWA’s Asset Management Committee and the Subcommittee for the Asset Management Practice survey. She is also a member of the AWWA Water Loss Control Workgroup. Heather is a board member on the EPA Environmental Financial Advisory Board.



Francine Stefan

Program Specialist, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
Civil Engineering
University of New Mexico

Francine joined the Southwest Environmental Finance Center in 2016. She has a B.A. in International Studies from North Carolina State University and an MPA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her experience includes program implementation, student engagement, business development, financial management, and organizational development.



Dawn Nall

Program Manager, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
Civil Engineering
University of New Mexico


Dawn Nall earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana. She is a licensed Engineer Intern. Her experiences include working as a wastewater treatment plant operator, a manufacturing engineer, a design engineer and currently as Program Manager with the EFC. She has designed and overseen construction of water treatment and distribution systems, as well as wastewater collection and treatment systems. She has experience working with federal, state and tribal officials, as well as contractors, inspectors and community administrators. Ms. Nall worked with the New Mexico Environmental Finance Center beginning in 2006 and then joined the Southwest Environmental Finance Center in 2015. Since joining the EFC, Dawn has presented trainings around the country to water and wastewater operators and managers on topics including Asset and Energy Management, Rate Setting, Capacity Development, Water Loss Reduction, Construction Cost Estimating, Water Treatment, Operations and Maintenance, and Operator Certification. In addition to the training activities, Dawn is responsible for developing training materials and promotions and maintaining a training attendance database. She has also been involved in various other projects such as leak detection, green projects, source water protection, operator certification, drinking water infrastructure needs surveys, and arsenic compliance.



Matt Ziegler

Tribal Drinking Water Program Director, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
Civil Engineering
University of New Mexico


Matt Ziegler holds a B.S. from the University of Kansas and an M.S. from Texas A&M University. Since joining the NM EFC in 2004, and subsequently the SW EFC in 2013, he has worked on human health and environmental issues related to water and has a demonstrated ability in engaging with Tribal and non-tribal water professionals. He has worked with EPA Region 6 in coordinating the Direct Implementation Program for Tribes and Pueblos by providing direct technical support and assistance to over 80 tribal public water systems. He provides on-site compliance monitoring assistance, as well as phone and email support, and both on-site and classroom training to EPA Region 6 Tribes. He administers and oversees laboratory contracts for all compliance sampling for EPA Region 6 Tribes. Mr. Ziegler has experience in developing and implementing solutions to issues related to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations and has been involved with the implementation of the Arsenic, Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts, LT2, and Groundwater Rules. He has worked extensively and personally with Tribal water systems in EPA Region 6, developing close working relationships with Tribal managers and operators. In addition, he routinely works with those senior managers in tribal governments and at EPA who are responsible for resource protection programs. He is well versed in the SDWIS database and supports EPA with updating & maintaining the database. He assists EPA and Tribes with determining monitoring schedules and responding to violations of SDWA, and continues to participate in developing and implementing the EPA Region 6 Tribal Water Operator Certification Program.



Rose Afandi

Research Scientist, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
Civil Engineering
University of New Mexico


Rose Afandi joined the Tribal Drinking Water Program at Environmental Finance Center (formerly NMEFC, now SWEFC) in 2009. She has a BS in Environmental Science and a BS in Biology from the University of New Mexico, and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Water Resources, Hydroscience track at UNM. Rose provides technical assistance to tribal public drinking water systems within the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Region 6, which covers New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Assistance includes ensuring compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), including trainings, sanitary surveys, operator certifications, consumer confidence reports, public notices, and water quality monitoring and reporting. She works closely with EPA Region 6 and tribal water systems personnel to implement new drinking water rules and federal regulations. She also works with tribal water systems in other EPA Regions (particularly Region 8) to administer the water operator certification program.



Teresa Gomez

Environmental Engineer, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
Civil Engineering
University of New Mexico


Teresa Gomez joined the Southwest Environmental Finance Center in 2016. She has a BS in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley. Her experience includes small water system improvement projects, conducting transmission gas line audits, and overseeing groundwater and soil remediation projects.  She has worked with small water systems in New Mexico, and in Nicaragua. 


Sandi Blanton

Research Scientist, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
Civil Engineering
University of New Mexico


Sandi Blanton holds a B.A. with high honors in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She also became a Certified Public Accountant in 1999, passing the C.P.A. exam on the first attempt with scores of 80 or above on all parts. She has over 30 years of experience in accounting and 40 years of experience writing and editing. Sandi has worked with the Environmental Finance Center for over 12 years. In her capacity at the EFC, she has managed financial accounting records, created budgets, performed water rate studies, written and edited numerous reports and grant applications, conducted trainings, and produced brochures and other graphics projects.



Mark Ogrentz

Research Scientist, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
Civil Engineering
University of New Mexico


Mark Ogrentz joined the Southwest Environmental Finance Center in 2016. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and is currently completing his M.S. in Computer Science at the University of New Mexico. Since joining the EFC, Mark has been developing financial, training, and GIS software tools for the states of Idaho, Kansas, and Alaska. He looks forward to applying computational predictive analysis methods to aid water utilities in their asset management decision making.



James Markham

Research Scientist, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
Civil Engineering
University of New Mexico


James holds a B.A. in Political Science from Haverford College, a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, and is currently completing an M.S.C.E. with a concentration in Environmental Engineering at the University of New Mexico. His research focus is water loss in small systems.

James has been a member of the California Bar since 1996 and spent over a decade in business operations management before making the switch to engineering. He joined the Southwest EFC in 2015, and has focused on developing training materials, online resources and tools to assist with conducting water audits using the AWWA’s M36 Water Audit Methodology. Future work will include developing online materials and hybrid online/in person curricula for water loss and asset management training.

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Address:

Centennial Engineering Center - Suite 3020
Department of Civil Engineering MSC01 1070
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
(505) 277-0644
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