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Board Members

Alan rimer

Alan E. Rimer, Chair

Telephone: 919-929-7076  |  E-mail:

Alan E. Rimer, P.E., joined the OWASA Board of Directors in July 2007 as an appointee of the Chapel Hill Town Council. He previously served on the OWASA Board from 1995 to 2002.

Mr. Rimer has served as a member, Secretary, and Vice Chair of the OWASA Board. He is a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Vermont, Virginia and Puerto Rico. He holds a Diplomate in Environmental Engineering (D.E.E.). from the American Academy of Environmental Engineering.

Alan has more than 40 years of professional experience in planning, design, management and financial evaluation of projects in water resources, water reuse, wastewater, solid waste and other environmental studies for public agencies and private industries in the United States, Asia, Europe and South America.

Alan's water resource work has included water supply and non-point pollution control planning studies, water treatment and distribution system design, rate studies and water conservation and reuse studies. His experience in wastewater treatment and reuse has ranged from master planning and system evaluations to the design of wastewater treatment facilities. This has included joint municipal/industrial facilities and the first U.S. industrial reuse application of microstraining and ion exchange for industrial wastewater recycling/reuse. He has also performed environmental cost accounting, due diligence studies and environmental auditing for governmental and corporate entities.

Since 1997, Mr. Rimer has held senior positions with the international consulting firm of Black & Veatch, where he is now the Director of Water Reuse. He recently completed service as an adjunct member of the faculties of the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

Mr. Rimer has served on the Chapel Hill Town Council. He is a past chair of the Orange County Board of Health and is the founding chair of the Town of Chapel Hill's Stormwater Advisory Board. He has served as a Trustee of the Chapel Hill Museum and on Chapel Hill's Planning Board, Comprehensive Planning Task Force, Technology Committee and Solid Waste Task Force, among others; and has been appointed to a number of North Carolina boards and commissions and served on appointed U.S. Senate and White House Committees under the administrations of both political parties.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Duke University, and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina. His work on a doctorate in Environmental Engineering from Duke University/ Kennedy Western University focused on dual distribution systems for reclaimed water.

Alan is married to Linda Rimer, an official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. His hobbies include bicycling, traveling, reading, gardening and woodworking.

John A. Young, Vice Chair


John A. Young joined the OWASA Board in March 2011 as an appointee of the Town of Chapel Hill. He chairs the Finance Committee and serves on the Human Resources and Natural Resources and Technical Systems Committees.

Mr. Young’s experience as a business executive includes:

  • Directing a multi-year business improvement program as Chief Operating Officer of VIF International Education, a mission-driven enterprise based in Chapel Hill which advances education and cultural exchange.
  • Leading the creation of innovative businesses, products, and market strategies at HP/Compaq (Vice President, General Manager and founder of strategic worldwide business units; and Director of Product Management) and at Red Hat (Vice President for Marketing), which helped generate 30% to 90% year-over-year growth on revenues ranging from $70 million to $4.5 billion.
  • Leading strategy and business improvement projects, as Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, for Fortune 500 senior management teams, including those at two electric utilities, a telecommunications service provider and a cable operator.

He earned a Master of Business Administration degree as a Fuqua Scholar at Duke University; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering, magna cum laude, from Yale University.

Mr. Young and his spouse, Kenlyn, have two children: Alex and Anna. He enjoys recreational sports, creative meals, deep woods, and unrefined musical expression.

Michael M. Hughes, P.E., Secretary


Michael M. Hughes, P.E., began serving on the OWASA Board in August 2012 as an appointee of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. He serves on the Board's Finance, Human Resources and Natural Resources and Technical Systems Committees.

Mr. Hughes currently is a Contract Management Engineer for the Department of Public Works, City of Durham, North Carolina.  In his most recent previous position with the City, he was the Assistant Engineering Manager and was responsible for about 36 staff members in the Engineering Division. 

In the course of his career, Mr. Hughes has professionally served in the following capacities:

  • Department of Public Works, City of Durham (2005 - Present)
  • Owner/Officer/Director of his Engineering and Surveying Company (1991 - 2005)
  • Owner/Officer/Director of Land Development Companies (1991 - 2001)
  • Senior Project Manager/Engineer, Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. (1978 - 1991)

In the course of his private practice between 1991 and 2005, Mr. Hughes designed and supervised the construction of a number of land development projects. His firm also provided civil engineering services to utility companies, and individual homeowners.

In his previous twelve-year employment at Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., Mr. Hughes served in increasingly responsible positions as an environmental engineer and project manager on a variety of environmental engineering including: design of industrial and municipal wastewater treatment systems, sewer and water conveyance systems, and modeling of natural systems.  He worked internationally and assisted the Government of Antigua with the development of plans for a national data center.  From the office in the US he assisted the project team in Egypt with sewer system and marine outfall planning for Cairo in the Gulf and Bay of Suez.

In addition to his employment in these positions, Mr. Hughes has run for public office, directed a high-adventure Explorer Post, served as a volunteer medic with an ambulance corps, and participated in Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs and has given numerous papers and technical presentations. 

Mr. Hughes received a Bachelor of Science Civil Engineering from University of Notre Dame in 1976 and a Master of Science Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1978.  He is a registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina and New York.

Mr. Hughes has resided in Orange County since 1989.

Terri Buckner


Terri Buckner began serving on the OWASA Board in August 2011 as an Orange County appointee. She previously served on the OWASA Board from June 2005 to September 2006 as a Carrboro appointee. She chairs the Natural Resources and Technical Systems Committee and serves on the Finance and Community Engagement Committees.

Terri is employed as a Business Analyst with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She has over 20 years of experience as a professional educator, including two and a half years with the UNC Sustainability Office. She specialized in distance education and faculty development.

She is also an information technology professional specializing in systems analysis and business function alignment, and used this background in energy management, education and student admissions.

Terri Buckner’s service on local advisory boards and groups has included the Carrboro Transportation and Environmental Advisory Boards, Smith Level Road Task Force, Chapel Hill Technology Advisory Committee and Solid Waste Reduction Task Force, the festival planning committee for the Friends of Bolin Creek and the Chancellor's Commuting Cost Task Force at UNC.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at UNC and a Master of Science in Instructional Systems at Florida State University, where she completed coursework in her doctoral studies. She also received a certification in program evaluation from Florida State.

Terri's leisure activities are photography, kayaking, gardening and reading.

Steve Dear

Telephone: 919-622-1739 | E-mail:

Steve Dear joined the OWASA Board in July 2012 as an appointee of the Town of Carrboro. He chairs the Community Engagement Committee and serves on the Natural Resources and Technical Systems Committee.

Steve has been the Executive Director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, a national organization based in Carrboro, since August 1997.

From 1990 to 1995, he was the Executive Director of the NC Rural Communities Assistance Project, which provides technical assistance and organizing services to small communities across North Carolina on water and wastewater issues. Steve  is the author of Considering the Alternatives: A Guide to Wastewater Management Systems for Small Communities in North Carolina published in 1994 with funding by the NC General Assembly.

Steve has served on the Orange County Water Resources Committee, Carrboro Board of Adjustment, NC Environmental Management Commission’s Ad Hoc Committee on Wastewater, Triangle J Council of Governments’ Water Resources Committee and as a founding board member of the Environmental Federation of North Carolina (now NC EarthShare). He has also worked as a writer and served in the Peace Corps in Malawi with his wife, Dr. Janet Dear.

He received a Bachelor’s degree in political science in 1985 from the University of Richmond, and a Master’s degree in international studies from Claremont Graduate University in 1989. He received a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Duke University and earned a State certification in surface water treatment.

Originally from Elizabeth City, Steve has resided in Carrboro since 2004 and in Orange County since 1991. Steve and Janet have two children, Patrick and Katie.

Heather Payne 


Heather Payne joined the OWASA Board in July 2013 as an appointee of the Town of Chapel Hill.  She serves on the Board's Finance and Natural Resources and Technical Systems Committees.

Ms. Payne is an environmental attorney with the Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation and Resources at the UNC School of Law where she helps policymakers and leaders understand the implications of a changing climate, legal options to adapt to the change and related opportunities 

Ms. Payne has worked in engineering, manufacturing and supply chain consulting; served as Clerk/Research Assistant to the Honorable Martha Geer of the NC Court of Appeals; and worked as a legal intern at the Southern Environmental Law Center and Triangle Land Conservancy.

She received her law degree with high honors from UNC in 2011 and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering, with high honors, from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999.

Heather is married to Brian Payne, a Managing Director with Accenture. They have lived in Chapel Hill since 2005 and share their home with two rescued felines.  

Ms. Payne is originally from the San Francisco Bay area. She is actively involved in the community as an environmental activist, an advocate of Chapel Hill’s historic neighborhoods and a supporter of science and math education through the work of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Her hobbies include cooking, traveling and attempting to keep the weeds from taking over her yard.

Will Raymond


Will Raymond began serving on the OWASA Board in July 2011 as an appointee of the Town of Chapel Hill. He chairs the Board's Human Resources Committee and serves on the Natural Resources and Technical Systems and Community Engagement Committees.

Will has lived in Chapel Hill since 1988. He is a consulting software developer who focuses on enterprise application integration and business process management technologies. Earlier in his career, he was the chief technology/ information officer in the local companies and Blast, Inc.; and worked as an environmental technician and commercial construction inspector.

Mr. Raymond has been a local activist since 2000, concentrating on environmental, development and social justice issues including the Carolina North Development Agreement with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Chapel Hill's Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Management Ordinance; affordable housing policies; regional watershed protection;  energy building standards; water, noise, air and light pollution controls; the economic development planning process; and sustainable solid waste management.

His service on local advisory boards and groups has included the Chapel Hill Technology Board, Horace Williams Citizens Committee on Carolina North, the Downtown Parking Task Force, Sustainability Visioning Task Force, Festifall Planning Committee, Project Connect Planning Committee, Friends of the Lincoln Arts Center and Friends of Bolin Creek.

He received his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from East Carolina University.

Mr. Raymond is married to local artist Ellie Reinhold, a founding member of the Hillsborough Gallery Co-op. They have a teenage son, Elijah.

Amy K. Witsil


Amy Witsil joined the OWASA Board of Directors in May 2010 as an appointee of the Town of Chapel Hill. She serves on the Finance and Natural Resources and Technical Systems Committees.

Ms. Witsil is a Technology Project Manager in the Center for Technology Applications at the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International. Her work centers on the formation of joint partnerships for technology development. She helps clients look for novel technology and R&D partnership opportunities, and provides strategic technology management services for private and public sector clients.

Ms. Witsil assesses new technologies and business plans, and scouts for technology solutions. In RTI's innovation-led economic development activities, she evaluates best practices in technology accelerator programs and benchmarks regional research and technology assets.

Her areas of expertise include aerospace, solar thermal, fluid dynamics, materials and structures, sensors and detectors, strategic competitive intelligence, best practices in technology transfer (program evaluation) and innovation-led regional economic development.

Before joining RTI, Ms. Witsil was an aerospace engineer with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Langley Research Center, where she performed and managed thermal analysis tasks in support of various NASA missions.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1987, and has done graduate coursework in fluid dynamics.

Ms. Witsil's hobbies are reading, walking, swimming and raising the family's puppy. She and her husband Matt have three children: Grace, Tucker and Caleb.  

Amy grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia and has lived in Chapel Hill since 1997.