Webinar: Going Beyond AMI – The City of Houston’s Holistic Approach to Building a Smart Water Network

Webinar: Going Beyond AMI – The City of Houston’s Holistic Approach to Building a Smart Water Network

The original business cases for implementing an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) typically focused on the cost savings that could be achieved from avoided truck rolls and the end of manual meter reading. Now more than a decade since smart meters hit the industry, utilities are learning that the value of AMI goes far beyond logging water usage and billing. If leveraged correctly, the City of Houston’s AMI system will provide granular information about system operations and customer water usage that allows utilities to operate more efficiently and enables a fundamental shift from reactive to proactive management. Engineers, data analysts, planners, customer service representatives, and people throughout the City of Houston’s Public Works will have an opportunity to “dig” into the data, pair it with other data, ask more questions, gain insights and make data-driven decisions.

Ultimately, the AMI system will help improve customer service, automate processes, protect revenue, improve water quality, identify breaks and outages, increase reliability, segment the network (i.e. district metering), evaluate asset health, and more. In addition, the City is discovering new opportunities of applying AMI to address its pressure management issues.

  • The City’s Vision for “Going Beyond AMI”
  • Building a Smart Water Network
  • Key Components of a Smart Water Network
  • AMI as a Tool for Pressure Management 


headshot_200x200_MattThomas-HoustonPW.pngMatthew W. Thomas
Assistant Director at Houston Public Works (HPW), Customer Accounts Services (CAS)

Matthew W. Thomas is a utility professional with over 39 years of experience and currently serves as Assistant Director at Houston Public Works (HPW), Customer Accounts Services (CAS). Customer Account Services provides customer information, billings, credit and collections, and all meter-associated services to water and wastewater utility customers within the City of Houston. Additionally, CAS provides wholesale water services to many of nearby towns and utility districts, and also bills for the Solid Waste department. The City of Houston was the first major city in the U.S. to use in ground automated water meter reading (AMR) technology. The City of Houston is continuing its’ technology leadership with the adoption of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) that supports Smart Utility/City interoperability. Prior to joining HPW, Matthew spent twenty-two years in leadership roles in Electric Utility Operations, followed by twelve years of Financial Planning and Analysis leadership in the Oil and Gas industry.


headshot_200x200_FreddieGuerra.pngFreddie Guerra
Client Solutions Manager

Freddie Guerra is a strategist who collaborates with clients to optimize their water, wastewater and stormwater operations and assets. With 30 years of experience, he has learned what drives sustainable business models and practices with dividends that result in financial, customer and environmental benefits – all of which strengthen an organization’s brand, business, bottom-line, and improves the quality of life for the people and markets its services. Prior to joining Xylem, Freddie had the opportunity to serve as a Regional Sales Director for Hitachi Consulting focused on optimizing assets and infrastructure through technology, IoT, analytics, Big Data and predictive maintenance. His diverse experience includes working at a large municipality and various national and local engineering and environmental consulting firms, and a Fortune 100 energy services company, providing a myriad of services – analytics to energy performance contracting, AMR/AMI to public works infrastructure (roadways drainage, water, and wastewater), to geotechnical engineering to environmental consulting as well as asset management and capital planning.


headshot_200x200_VernadineMerrick.pngVernadine Merrick 
Water Vertical Marketing Manager for Sensus North America

Vernadine Merrick is the Water Vertical Marketing Manager for Sensus North America at Xylem, focused on developing growth strategies through market intelligence, VOC, sales enablement and industry relationship building. Vernadine has 20+ years of experience in industrial automation and control systems and equipment for a variety of industries, including Oil & Gas, Pulp & Paper, Mining and Municipal Water. Marketing & Sales roles include strategy, market planning & analysis, global product management, market management, sales, and sales training. Vernadine has previously worked for ABB, Flowserve, and Siemens. She holds a chemical engineering degree with an MBA.


headshot_200x200_ChrisThomson.pngChris Thomson, P.E. (NC & MD) - Moderator
Director of Strategic Initiatives for Sensus
a Xylem brand

Chris Thomson is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Sensus, a Xylem brand. He has over 21 years of experience in the water and wastewater industry. Throughout his career he has been active in the training community – teaching and presenting through AWWA, WEF, Rural Water, and other organizations. Chris has a Masters’ Degree of Science in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina and Maryland.

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