Section 3 : Keynote Panel: "Go Big or Go Home - Making Texas a Global Hub of Water Innovation"

Chris Holmes

US Agency for International Development Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3)

Christian Holmes is Deputy Assistant Administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3), and the Agency's first Global Water Coordinator. Holmes is responsible for overseeing the Agency’s global water portfolio. This includes implementing the Water for the World Act of 2014, which aims to provide first-time or improved access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene in the world's poorest communities. He also shapes and leads the implementation of USAID’s Water and Development Strategy, and serves as the senior most advisor to the Administrator on water matters.


Since rejoining USAID in January 2010, Holmes served initially as the Senior Advisor for Energy and Environment. In 2011, USAID designated him as the Global Water Coordinator. In addition to serving as the Global Water Coordinator, he was designated in 2013 as Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator in the E3 Bureau, managing the offices responsible for global climate change; water; land tenure and resource management; and forestry and biodiversity. In 2015, USAID designated him Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water. In his recent assignments, Holmes worked in the field with USAID missions in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Egypt, Yemen, Ghana, Haiti, Liberia, Kenya, and Ethiopia on water and food security matters.

Holmes brings to USAID extensive experience in the international economic development, humanitarian assistance and environmental protection sectors.

In the international economic development and humanitarian assistance field, he served as the Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA), Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Refugee Programs (State/RP), and Acting Director of the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). At TDA, he directed a global economic and trade development agency, concentrating on China. At OFDA and State/RP, he led relief efforts to help the victims of war and natural disasters, including East Timor, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Guatemala, the Sahel region in West Africa and Lebanon. Also at USAID, he served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Private Enterprise and the Executive Director of the President’s Task Force on International Private Enterprise.


In the environmental field, his career spans both the public and private sectors. This includes, at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), he served as the Agency's third ranking executive and held simultaneously two Senate-confirmed positions, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Administrator for Administration and Resource Management. He also served as EPA’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for Federal Facilities Enforcement and Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response. He received the EPA Gold Medal. At Tenneco, Inc. a global manufacturing company, he served as Executive Director, Environmental Safety and Health.

As a USAID Senior Foreign Service Officer with rank of Minister Counselor, he twice received the Presidential Meritorious Service Award. He received the Arthur S. Flemming Award, given annually to five leaders across the U.S. Government, for his international disaster assistance achievements which included the development of an early warning drought detection system in Africa’s Sahel region.


Holmes served in the U.S. Army, Second Lieutenant, Civil Affairs, receiving the U.S. Army Soldier’s Medal for Heroism.

He graduated from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, receiving a B.A. in Government. In recognition of his international economic development accomplishments, he was one of the first five graduates in Wesleyan's history to receive an Honorary Master of Arts degree. 

Christine Martini

Ultra Capital

Christine is a senior investment management professional with over 10-years of experience in institutional and private client investing. As an analyst and portfolio manager she has extensive experience in the alternative energy sector including sustainable technologies, water infrastructure and assets. Christine began her career as an equity analyst in the traditional E&P sectors and eventually moved on to manage portfolios across fixed income and equity always with an emphasis on energy and eventually sustainable technologies and water. She moved on to work at a water hedge fund and eventually as a Portfolio Manager and Analyst at a long only Water Fund with Brennan investments. At Ultra Capital we are bridging the gap between end-user’s clients and developers that require institutional grade project finance. By bundling together, a number of project the investor is exposed to a sustainable portfolio of diversified projects with an attractive return. In this platform, scale can be achieved that attracts capital to the water sector to help accelerate and enable projects to be implemented.


Recent Experience includes:

- Scotiabank & Trust (Cayman Ltd): International Investment Advisor, Institutional and Private Client Advisor

- EFG Bank (Cayman): Portfolio Manager, Institutional Fixed Income and Equity Portfolio Manager

- Brennan Investments: Portfolio Manager/Analyst; Water / Infrastructure and Sustainable Technologies.

- RNK Capital: Analyst Long/Short market neutral Fund- Water; Private Equity deal sourcing, sustainable technologies, Water

- New York State Insurance Fund: Portfolio Manager Small and Mid-cap portfolio construction

- Fiduciary Trust Company: Energy Analyst, Small-Mid Cap


Eduation: MA, New School for Social Research; BA, Political Science, State University of New York at Albany MA, New School for Social Research; BA, Political Science, State University of New York at Albany

Daniel Agranov

Israel to the Southwest United States

Daniel Agranov is the Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Southwest United States.

Agranov has served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for over five years. Prior to his current mission, he helped establish the Consulate of Israel to St. Petersburg, Russia, as Deputy Consul General. His previous posts include the Economic Office at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affair’s main consular division and missions to Angola and Kazakhstan.

Before joining the Ministry, Agranov worked several years as a manger in the loan division at Israel’s Postal Bank after his service in the army.


Agranov holds a bachelor’s degree in economy and biology and a master’s in business administration in finance and marketing, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Agranov is married to Nurit, and together they have three daughters.

Hank Habicht

AccelerateH2O Advisory Committee

Hank joined SAIL Capital Partners in January 2006 having served as a pioneer in many areas of environmental business and policy and a leading contributor to environmental innovation. Hank and Managing Partner Walter Schindler are responsible for co-managing SAIL’s operations and investments.


His career in the environmental policy world 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 COO (Deputy Administrator). During his time with the 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.


In business, Hank served as Senior VP 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 as VP of William D. Ruckelshaus Associates, which co-managed the successful Environmental Venture Fund, one of the first successful green funds in the 1980s. 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 previously served as CEO and is now Vice Chairman of a prestigious non-for-profit corporation that fosters innovation in environmental management and promotes applications of clean technology in emerging markets, called Global Environment & Technology Foundation ( ) There he worked with some of the world’s largest companies on global water strategy and helped found the Global Water Challenge, where he currently serves on the Board.


Hank has held numerous Board seats over the years, currently he sits on the Boards of SAIL companies such as WaterHealth International, and is a Co-Founder of the American Council on Renewable Energy. He served as Commissioner of the National Commission on Energy Policy, has advised several Cabinet Secretaries and serves on the Advisory Board to the National Renewable Energy Lab and the Pacific Northwest National Lab. In 1991 the EPA awarded him with the Total Quality Leadership Award and in 2009 he received the national Richard Mellon Award for Environmental Stewardship. Hank holds a Bachelors degree with High Honors from the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.

Kyle Ballarta

Falcon Ventures

Kyle is the Founder and CEO of Falkon Ventures, an innovative venture capital fund designed to catalyze innovation in the new entrepreneurial landscape for companies that have the mission to positively change industry and the world.

Prior to Falkon Ventures, Kyle was a member of the initial team at LifeProof, a San Diego based consumer electronics company that grew its force from three people to over 250 employees on three continents in three years. LifeProof’s meteoric growth led to its successful acquisition by Otterbox in 2013.


He is also the Co-Founder of Syndicap, a venture capital network that is changing the attitude of the industry by incentivizing venture funds to collaborate across different stages and verticals to match the convergence of industry. 

Kyle’s creative curiosity and passion for collaboration that innovates drives him to work with initiatives in the impact space, including The Hispanic Alliance, A Reason to Survive, The Andy Roddick Foundation, and The Munday School of Business at St. Edwards University. His work with non-profits, foundations, and social enterprises focuses on creating sustainable and scalable impact by implementing social enterprise models and pioneering new venture funding models.

Prior to his business career, Kyle had a very colorful and eventful music career as a trumpet player and graduate from some of the most prestigious and recognized performing arts institutes such as The Interlochen Arts Academy, The California Institute of the Arts, and Chosen Vale Center for Advanced Music Studies.


Kyle holds an MBA in Digital Media Management from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, two executive certificates from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, and is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy. Kyle currently lives in Austin, TX where he enjoys swimming Barton Springs and breakfast tacos. 

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