Current Names Steve Frenkel as Inaugural Executive Director of New Water Technology Public-Private Partnership

Current Partners with Israeli Economic Mission on Water Tech Showcase. National Water Expert Dr. Seth Snyder to Serve as Current’s Chief Scientist


Current-Positive (2)Current Innovation, NFP (Current) today named Steve Frenkel as its inaugural executive director. Frenkel joins Current after more than two decades in public and private-sector leadership roles advancing clean technology, policy and financing solutions to address climate change and promote sustainability.

Current is a not-for-profit organization, launched in 2016 as a partnership of the City of Chicago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and World Business Chicago (WBC). Current aims to build upon the Chicago region’s robust water economy to accelerate research, development and commercialization of next-generation water solutions to address regional, national and global water and energy challenges while creating jobs and driving economic growth in Chicago. Additional Current partners include the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, The University of Illinois, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, private industries and entrepreneurs.

“Current is about finding innovative solutions to the world’s growing water needs while driving new investment here in Chicago,” said Current Board Chairman Steve Kloos of True North Venture Partners. “With Steve’s strong track-record of leadership and diverse skill-set in public policy, industry, and cleantech, he has the tools to realize Current’s vision and drive real impact.”

Intensifying global water challenges demand ambitious solutions. Current will leverage Chicago’s worldclass universities, national laboratory, water utilities, industries and innovation ecosystem to address water infrastructure needs, water scarcity, persistent water quality problems, and industrial, agricultural and energy-related water use.

“Chicago is a water city with tremendous research capabilities and capacity to develop and commercialize next-generation water technologies,” Frenkel said. “Current will build on Chicago’s longstanding leadership in water technology to have a global impact while boosting our local economy through new investment in R&D and manufacturing.”

As part of Current’s efforts to foster international partnerships, Current is collaborating with the Government of Israel Economic Mission to the Midwest and the City of Chicago to jointly sponsor Thursday’s Israel Water Technology Showcase where Israeli firms will present their innovative water technologies. Other Current’s initiatives include: a research consortium including industry, public utilities and universities to create and deploy innovative water solutions; a technology demonstration network that assembles regional assets to pilot, demonstrate, and deploy innovative water technologies; and a business forum to connect private and public entities around best practices in water. Current also serves as a collaborative platform for the water entrepreneurial community and engages on water policy.

Current today also announced the appointment of Seth W. Snyder, Ph.D. as Chief Scientist where he will serve as Current’s technical and scientific thought leader. Dr. Snyder is a biophysicist/chemical engineer with eighteen U.S. patents and research publications in more than 40 scientific journals. He leads Argonne National Laboratory’s research efforts in water technologies and systems, and holds joint appointments at Northwestern University and The University of Chicago.

Prior to his appointment as Current’s Executive Director, Steve Frenkel was a management consultant working with power-sector clients on wind and solar energy projects and led the Midwest office of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a national environmental organization. Before joining UCS, he served as Midwest Regional Director of Renew Financial, LLC, which provides innovative clean energy financing. Previously, Frenkel spent six years in state government, as Chief Policy Advisor at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and as Senior Advisor for Energy and Environment and Deputy Chief of Staff in the Illinois Governor’s Office. Steve holds a Bachelor’s degree from Macalester College, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

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