Founder and Executive Director
A respected leader in the water sector, Marla is a civil engineer who brings 25 years of hands-on field experience with water supply and sanitation projects in developing countries. Prior to founding Water 1st, she was a Co-Founder and Director at WaterPartners International. From 1992-2005, Marla oversaw the evaluation and monitoring of all aspects of WaterPartners-supported partner organizations and community water projects in developing countries. In her career, she has overseen the implementation of over 200 community water
projects in Latin America, Asia and Africa benefiting 200,000 people.
Marla has remained steadfast to her mission to advocate for and support effective international development—supporting local, long-lasting solutions to the water and sanitation crisis—the first step out of poverty toward transformation. She is an expert in identifying and partnering with on-the-ground implementing organizations and has a unique ability to communicate the world water crisis and the stories of our project beneficiaries and inspire us to take action in effective ways.
M.S. Environmental Engineering, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
B.S. Civil Engineering, Summa Cum Laude, University of Arizona
Registered Professional Engineer