The Water Institute of the Gulf has found a successor for its founder, president and CEO Chip Groat, who is retiring in April.
Justin Ehrenwerth, whose experience includes working with the U.S. Department of Commerce and serving as as assistant counsel to the president in taking the lead on Deepwater Horizon litigation for the White House, will take the helm as president and CEO effective Jan. 30.
“As exciting as it has been to lead the institute through its birth, it’s just as exciting to see someone with Justin’s talent and experience continue that growth,” says Groat in a prepared statement. “Justin’s familiarity with Washington, D.C., as well as his relationships across the Gulf will serve the Institute well.”
Ehrenwerth’s work on the Deepwater Horizon case began after his stint with the office of general counsel in the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he served as chief of staff to the U.S. Department of Commerce deputy secretary, overseeing issues of management, policy and strategic planning for a federal agency with an annual budget of approximately $10 billion and 47,000 employees.
Since 2013, Ehrenwerth has been executive director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, which was formed in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is charged with administering billions of dollars of civil penalties through the RESTORE Act. He and his wife, Dana Dupré, originally from Opelousas, and have called Louisiana home since 2013.
“The ability to be a part of an organization on the frontline of coastal and water resource applied research at a time when communities around the globe are facing unprecedented threats is a challenge I couldn’t resist,” Ehrenwerth says in a prepared statement. “The knowledge base at the Institute, and the ability to harness and support the great work going on within the academic and private sectors, will help launch the Institute even further as the go-to resource for coastal communities everywhere.”
The Water Institute of the Gulf has more details on Ehrenwerth’s hire.