Chief Executive Officer

Karen Pallansch, Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Pallansch currently serves as chief executive officer for Alexandria Renew Enterprises, one of the most advanced water resource recovery facilities in the United States. As chief executive officer, Ms. Pallansch leads a team of more than 100 employees on a 35-acre campus that transforms 13 billion gallons of wastewater per year into clean water and reusable resources. She has served in her current capacity since October 2005 and has worked at Alexandria Renew Enterprises for more than 20 years.

During her 11 years of service as CEO, Ms. Pallansch directed an organizational rebranding effort and championed significant treatment upgrades. She led the South Carlyle Strategy that incorporated a successful public-developer partnership, creating a neighborhood from an industrial area that once served as a City of Alexandria landfill. The site, which opened in 2016, includes a LEED Platinum Environmental Center with an educational lobby. The building uses AlexRenew’s bluRenew reclaimed water and is powered in part by solar energy. Next to the building is an Envision Platinum Nutrient Management Facility topped with a multipurpose field operated and maintained by The City of Alexandria Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Affairs Department. Under her leadership, AlexRenew was also named a Utility of the Future Today for innovative and sustainable utility management practices.

Prior to serving as CEO, Ms. Pallansch worked in various roles at the agency, starting as the staff engineer. She also worked as an engineer for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and for the Department of the Army, managing rehabilitation of army ammunition bases and researching ways to improve the safe and efficient production of explosive materials.

Ms. Pallansch holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s Degree in Business Management from Texas A&M University, Texarkana. She is a registered engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia, has a Class I wastewater license, is a Water Environment Federation Fellow, and is a Diplomate with the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. Ms. Pallansch is also a 2017 Northern Virginian of the Year.

Ms. Pallansch volunteers with several organizations. She is a current Board member for the WateReuse Association and Virginia Municipal League Insurance Pool. Ms. Pallansch also serves on the boards of First Night Alexandria and the City of Alexandria Eisenhower Partnership. She is a former president of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and was previously chair of the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WERF) Research Advisory Council in addition to serving as an ex-officio member of the WERF Board.