Management Team

Sue F. McCormick
Chief Executive Officer


Sue F. McCormick was named the Chief Executive Officer of the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) on October 19, 2015. As CEO, Ms. McCormick led the successful stand up of the Authority, which began operations on January 1, 2016.

Under her leadership, GLWA experienced a number of important firsts in its foundational year. This includes two sets of upgrades to its bond ratings from all three bond ratings agencies, the execution of a money saving $1.3 billion inaugural bond sale, which will achieve more than $309 million in savings over the life of the refinanced bonds, the creation of a leadership training academy and structured development opportunities for all team members, and the establishment of a biennial budget for the Authority. GLWA also launched its sustainable assistance program, WRAP, which provides qualifying households with help in paying current and past-due water bills and water conservation efforts. In 2017, Ms. McCormick was honored by the Detroit Metropolitan Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration with its Outstanding Public Service Award.

Prior to her appointment with GLWA, Ms. McCormick served as Director of the City of Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), guiding it through major initiatives that resulted in cost savings, regulatory compliance and improved financial performance. Before joining DWSD in 2012, she served as Public Services Administrator for the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where for 11 years she managed that city’s entire physical infrastructure, including roads, solid waste, parks, fleet and facilities, and the water and sewer system. She first joined Ann Arbor city government as Water Utilities Director in January 2001, after 22 years with the Lansing Board of Water and Light where during her tenure, she rose steadily through the ranks serving in a variety of roles, including Environmental Chemist, Environmental Laboratory Manager, Manager of Water and Steam Planning, Water Technical Support Manager and Business Development Manager.

A native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Ms. McCormick earned a bachelor’s degree from Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University. She is active in the 58,000-member American Water Works Association (AWWA), where she has served as an AWWA-Michigan Director and as an association Vice President, and on the Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission. Ms. McCormick is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), as well as for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).

William M. Wolfson
Chief Administrative and Compliance Officer


William M. Wolfson is Chief Administrative and Compliance Officer for the Great Lakes Water Authority.

Prior to assuming this position, Mr. Wolfson served as the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s (DWSD) Chief Administrative and Compliance Officer as well as its General Counsel. Mr. Wolfson joined the DWSD as the utility’s first General Counsel in June 2012 and added the position of Chief Operating and Compliance Officer in August 2013.

Mr. Wolfson began his career in government as a seasonal Detroit Zoo employee. He later joined the City of Detroit Law Department as an attorney in 1986 and served in the Law Department under Mayors Coleman A. Young and Dennis Archer until 1998, working as the legal liaison to the Detroit City Council and on several key initiatives such as the casino and stadium development projects.

Upon leaving the City of Detroit, Mr. Wolfson moved to Wayne County’s Department of Corporation Counsel and was appointed Deputy Corporation Counsel by County Executive Edward McNamara. The succeeding County Executive, Robert Ficano, appointed Wolfson to the position of Assistant Deputy County Executive/Director of Legal Affairs. In that position, Mr. Wolfson was responsible for the day-to-day operations of county government and its 4,500 employees.

Mr. Wolfson retired from his Wayne County position in July 2009; he then went into private practice and contracted to serve as Wayne County’s Interim Corporation Counsel.

Mr. Wolfson is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota Law School. He currently serves as a member of the Detroit Zoological Society’s Board of Directors.

Nicolette N. Bateson, CPA
Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer, Financial Services


Nicolette N. Bateson, CPA is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Treasurer for the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA).

Ms. Bateson’s service follows her tenure as the first CFO for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department ,which began in February 2013. In that role she led the Financial Services Group through a significant transformation effort engaging cross-functional teams to achieve sustainable change.  The result was a professionalized department with an unprecedented demonstration of transparency to all stakeholders.  This pivotal effort supported intensive, collaborative discussions that were essential to forming the regional authority.

Ms. Bateson possesses extensive financial and public administration experience. As a visiting specialist for the State and Local Government Program with Michigan State University Extension, Ms. Bateson worked with state and local officials to address the needs of cities in fiscal stress. Her research, educational programs, and writings related to public-sector financial challenges are often cited. In her roles as Assistant City Manager and Finance Director in local government, she was responsible for strategic planning, financial turnaround, information technology, labor relations, employee benefit design, project management and deploying multi-year budgeting and long-range capital planning.  Ms. Bateson’s professional career began with a national accounting firm serving clients in the construction, manufacturing, and nonprofit sector.

Ms. Bateson earned a bachelor’s of business administration degree in professional accountancy from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a master’s of public administration degree in public administration from Eastern Michigan University.

Cheryl Porter
Chief Operating Officer – Water & Field Services


Cheryl Porter is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Great Lakes Water Authority.

Previously, Ms. Porter was the COO of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD). At DWSD, prior to her ascension to COO, Ms. Porter was Water Production and Operations Manager. She holds an F-1 Water Filtration Treatment Plant Operator license with the State of Michigan.

Ms. Porter began her career with DWSD in 1996 as a Junior Chemist and has advanced over the years. She earned a B.S. degree from the University of Michigan, an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources Management from Madonna University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Detroit.

Terri Tabor Conerway
Chief Organizational Development Officer


Terri Tabor Conerway brings approximately three decades of comprehensive Human Resource and Training Experience to her position as Chief Organizational Development Officer with the Great Lakes Water Authority.

Prior to this position, Ms. Conerway served as Organizational Development Director for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Human Resources Director for the Detroit Public Library, and held numerous managerial positions since beginning her career with the City of Detroit in 1972.

Ms. Conerway holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Wayne State University, and has completed post-degree work in Educational Psychology at the University of Michigan. Ms. Conerway is certified as a facilitator for Influencer training and Franklin Covey.

Suzanne R. Coffey
Chief Planning Officer/Interim Chief Operating Officer – Wastewater


Suzanne R. Coffey is the Chief Planning Officer for the Great Lakes Water Authority, a position she held at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department from August 24, 2015 to December 31, 2015. She is also presently filling an interim role as Chief Operating Officer over the Water Resource Recovery Facility.

In her capacity as Chief Planning Officer, Ms. Coffey champions GLWA’s efforts to bolster the Authority’s energy and asset management capacities as well as lead long term planning efforts such as the Wastewater Master Plan.

Ms. Coffey became very familiar with the GLWA through her role as Manager in Oakland County’s Water Resources Commissioner’s (WRC) office where she worked for 12 years, and she was an integral part of the DWSD-GLWA transition efforts.

Under the leadership of Commissioner Jim Nash, Ms. Coffey was responsible for supervising engineers, field staff members, administrative and technical support personnel and supporting operations and maintenance of wastewater interceptor systems, local municipal wastewater conveyance systems, drains and lake level control structures as well as oversight of staff members who perform construction project management and construction inspection.

Ms. Coffey is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan. She graduated Cum Laude from Lawrence Technological University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and was named Young Engineer of the Year by the Northern Chapter of the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers.

Michelle A. Zdrodowski
Chief Public Affairs Officer


Michelle A. Zdrodowski is Chief Public Affairs Officer for the Great Lakes Water Authority.

In her capacity as Chief Public Affairs Officer, Ms. Zdrodowski guides the organization’s efforts to build and maintain its relationships with internal and external stakeholder communities.

Ms. Zdrodowski brings nearly 30 years of strategic communications and community engagement experience to GLWA. Immediately prior to joining the GLWA team, she served as Chief Communications Officer for Detroit Public Schools during a period of unprecedented challenge and change. Her previous public sector communications experience also includes her tenure as Deputy Press Secretary to former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer. Ms. Zdrodowski also spent more than a decade leading the nonprofit/government practice group for a Detroit-based public relations agency.

Ms. Zdrodowski holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Michigan State University.

Jeffrey E. Small
Chief Information Officer


Jeffrey E. Small is the Chief Information Officer for the Great Lakes Water Authority.

In his capacity as Chief Information Officer, Mr. Small provides information technology strategy and implementation for the organization.

Mr. Small brings 30 years of information technology and business process experience to GLWA. Immediately prior to joining the GLWA team, he served for four years as Deputy Chief Information Officer at Wayne County, Michigan. Prior to his work at Wayne County, Mr. Small held IT leadership roles at several multi-national companies in a cross-section of industries, including retail, sourcing, brand management and consumer products.

Mr. Small holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from The George Washington University and an MBA in Computer Information Systems from Baker College.

W. Barnett Jones
Chief Security and Integrity Officer


Chief Jones was appointed GLWA’s Chief Security and Integrity Officer on January 1, 2016 after serving with DWSD in that capacity since 2012. His extensive experience in law enforcement and security spans over a 40-year career. Chief Jones is responsible for the Authority’s entire security posture, which includes the physical security infrastructure and safety of employees, facilities and assets. In addition, Chief Jones has been pivotal in developing and implementing entity-wide integrity policies and procedures. Prior to his arrival at GLWA, Chief Jones served as Chief of Police, Police Administrator, Fire Chief, Captain, Lieutenant, Sergeant and Deputy Sheriff with large local units of government in Michigan including the supervision of both police and fire personnel. Chief Jones has a Masters in Liberal Studies from Eastern Michigan University and a Bachelor in General Studies from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Additionally, Chief Jones is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and a graduate of the Secret Service Dignitary Protection training, as well as a certified firefighter.

Randal M. Brown
General Counsel

Prior to assuming this position in August 2017, Mr. Brown served in Wayne County’s Corporation Counsel Department. On January 1, 2015, County Executive Warren C. Evans first appointed Mr. Brown to serve as the Chief-Assistant Corporation Counsel for the Real Estate, Tax and Public Services Team.  The following year, Executive Evans then appointed Mr. Brown to serve as the Deputy Corporation Counsel. As the Deputy Corporation Counsel, Mr. Brown managed over 30 attorneys and represented all Wayne County’s elected officials, employees and departments. During his tenure at Wayne County, Mr. Brown worked on several key initiatives, including Executive Evans’ county reorganization plan, the disposition of the County’s excess real property assets, and the negotiation of contract renewals at significant cost savings without compromising service delivery to County residents.
Mr. Brown began his legal career at Plunkett Cooney in 2005. At Plunkett Cooney, he represented Fortune 500 companies and several municipalities, including the City of Detroit, Macomb County, Oakland County, Macomb County, the City of Wyandotte, and the City of Oak Park in state and federal courts.
Mr. Brown is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Howard University School of Law. He currently serves as a member of the Wolverine Bar Association and Foundation’s Board of Directors. For the 2015-2016 bar year, Mr. Brown served as the Association and Foundation’s President. He also serves as a member of the Rose Hill Center’s Board of Directors.

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