About Us

WFX is a 501(c)(3) (status pending) non-profit platform created by an experienced team of water and finance professionals to develop and fund community-based water projects.

WFX is a unique, community-based platform to facilitate the financing of long-term solutions for local water challenges. WFX is supported by its technical partners: the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, and an extended group of experts and advisors.

Leadership Team

Comprised of a skilled and dedicated leadership team, WFX is passionately committed to proving its concept and building a platform to achieve scale and efficiency in a significant number of successful transactions.
Hank Habicht, Managing Co-Founder

Hank Habicht

Managing Co-Founder

Hank oversees all activities of WFX, including partnership-building, developing the investment pipeline, and establishing the governance and investment process.

Mr. Habicht also serves as a Principal at Global Water 2020 and as Managing Director of the U.S. Water Partnership. His career has included leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, and at the U.S. EPA as Chief Operating Officer. At the U.S. EPA, he oversaw the development of new air and water programs to prevent pollution, including the development of the Energy Star program and implementation of market-based trading programs under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments.

Mr. Habicht has served as Managing Partner of SAIL Capital Partners and Senior Vice President in charge of acquisitions and other divisions of Safety-Kleen, a billion-dollar environmental service company. He has also held positions and started ventures in the for-profit environmental arena, including VP of William D. Ruckelshaus Associates, which co-managed the successful Environmental Venture Fund. As Co-Founder of Capital E, LLC, a strategic consultancy for emerging renewable energy products and technologies, he advised Fortune 100 and early stage ventures on sustainable growth strategies. He is also served on numerous Boards, including as Chair of the Board of WaterHealth International.

He serves on the Board of the U.S. Water Alliance and the U.S. Water Partnership, as head of Strategy for SunToWater, LLC, and serves on the Advisory Boards of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In 1991, the U.S. EPA awarded him with the Total Quality Leadership Award, and in 2009 he received the national Richard Mellon Award for Environmental Stewardship. Mr. Habicht holds a BA with High Honors from Princeton University and a JD from the University of Virginia.

Usha Rao-Monari

Usha Rao-Monari

Co-Founder

Usha oversaw the initial organization and management of the financial review of WFX’s investment opportunities. She also led the Rural Community Pre-Development Fund Review and Investment Committees.

Ms. Rao-Monari is a seasoned investment professional with almost 30 years of investment experience, particularly in the infrastructure area. She is currently a Senior Advisor to Blackstone’s Infrastructure Group. She is also on the boards of UPL Limited, Water Unite and Wine to Water. Prior to that, she served as Chief Executive Officer of Global Water Development Partners, a Blackstone portfolio company. Prior to Blackstone, she held several senior positions at the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group.

Her last position there was Director of the Sustainable Business Advisory Group. Other positions included Global Head of the Water and Environmental Group, Head of Utilities and Public Partnerships, and experience in the petrochemicals and manufacturing business areas.
Ms. Rao-Monari was instrumental in founding and establishing the 2030 Water Resources Group, a public-private partnership platform, which is now part of the World Bank Group. Prior to that, she was with Prudential Bache in the corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions areas in New York and London. Ms. Rao-Monari has held a number of Board and advisory positions including on the Veolia Sustainability Committee to the Board, WaterHealth International Board, and Co-Chair, Steering Board, 2030 Water Resources Group, and chair/co-chair of several World Economic Forum councils including Water, Natural Capital and Biodiversity and Environmental and Natural Resource Security.
Brent Fewell

Brent Fewell

Co-Founder, General Counsel, Business Development Lead

Brent leads the establishment of WFX’s platform comprising of national and local partners and collaborators to source and review community projects for development; and provide legal oversight and support of the decision-making process and ultimate funding decisions.

Mr. Fewell also serves as Chair and Founder of Earth & Water Law and has over 28 years of experience in public policy, advocacy, and environmental law. As an environmental lawyer and former corporate executive and senior U.S. EPA official in EPA’s Offices of Water and Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, he brings a wealth of knowledge and unique perspective to his clients in navigating the regulatory and political arenas in Washington, D.C.

He routinely works with water and wastewater utilities, advising on governance and compliance related matters. He also co-chairs the Water Ad Hoc Group, composed of all the national water and wastewater associations, aimed at advocating for additional funding and policy reform to increase the sustainability and resilience of water utilities across the nation.
As a highly regarded thought leader on environmental policy and governance matters, his counsel and opinions are sought out by corporate and government leaders around the globe. He brings unparalleled energy and passion to the issues in a way that few do to help his clients navigate in an increasingly complex and nuanced regulatory environment. He received his B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of Maine (high distinction), a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University, and J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law.

Brendan McGinnis

Chief Operating Manager

Brendan manages the day-to-day organization and management activities of WFX, including deal follow-up, budgeting and other operational priorities.

Mr. McGinnis has been active in the water resources and sustainability sectors for over 15 years, with a strong proficiency in convening, managing complex projects, facilitating government affairs, conducting stakeholder outreach, and directing business and organizational development. He has extensive knowledge of regulation, policy, and markets with a practical understanding of the governmental agencies, companies, and NGOs that shape and drive environmental outcomes.

Mr. McGinnis serves as Chief Operating Officer of Earth & Water Group, based in Washington, DC. He also co-founded THG Advisors in 2008, where he launched and led the firms THG’s Water Resources Policy, Development & Sustainable Communities Group. From 2009-2019, he served as Executive Director of the Water Resources Action Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit mitigating conflict in the Middle East through cross-border environmental peace-building programs for youth with a focus on water resources and conservation. Mr. McGinnis received his MBA and B.A. in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University.

Governing Board

WFX is overseen by a Governing Board of well-qualified independent members, who bring perspective and expertise relevant to WFX’s mission and operations.

Advisory Council

WFX has assembled an Advisory Council with a rich mix of water utility management, finance and governance expertise. The perspectives and expertise of the Council are harnessed as specific deal needs arise.

Primary Funders

The Water Finance Exchange is made possible through the financial contributions of the primary funders:
Lyda Hill Philanthropies, the Water Funder Initiative, and CoBank.
Lyda Hill Philanthropies

Lyda Hill Philanthropies encompasses the charitable giving for founder Lyda Hill and includes her foundation and personal philanthropy. Our organization is committed to funding transformational advances in science and nature, empowering nonprofit organizations and improving the Texas and Colorado communities. Because Miss Hill has a fervent belief that “science is the answer” to many of life’s most challenging issues, she has chosen to donate the entirety of her estate to philanthropy and scientific research.

Water Funder Initiative

Water Funder Initiative (WFI) is a collaborative effort to identify and activate promising water solutions through strategic philanthropic investments. Learn more at waterfunder.org

CoBank

CoBank is a national cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states.