Founder & Executive Director
Maria DeChellis is a 20-year industry expert with experience in implementing strategic business and technology programs within water, electric, and gas organizations. [read more]
Founder & Executive Director
Maria DeChellis is a 20-year industry expert with experience in implementing strategic business and technology programs within water, electric, and gas organizations. A Vice President at Utilligent, a management and technology firm focused on utilities, Maria has a passion for helping utilities improve operational performance and using technology to help connect with their customers in a meaningful way. Maria has worked with over 60 utilities across North America from regulated municipal organizations to industry-leading deregulated retailers on technology and business transformation initiatives. She is a certified project manager (PMP) and Certified Change Management Professional (CCMP) with technology certifications in Oracle and Microsoft.
It was as a result of living and working in Baltimore, MD as the Chief of Customer Support and Services for Baltimore City Department of Public Works that she was inspired to start AccessH2O along with her former colleague, engineer, and dear friend, Madeleine Driscoll. Maria’s goal is to advocate for federal funding of water affordability programs, provide public education to encourage responsible water usage and guide public officials in affordability programs, while ensuring that vulnerable individuals do not have to fear water shut-off during difficult times. Safe and reliable water cannot be the sole focus if individuals cannot afford to pay for it.
Maria is a trustee for the American Water Works Association Management and Leadership Division and is part of the Customer Service Committee. She was recently announced as part of the 2020 cohort of the Presidential Leadership Scholars. The Presidential Leadership Scholars program serves as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and make a difference in the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Maria graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Honors College of the University of South Carolina where she also completed her Master's degree and is the mother of two amazing daughters in Atlanta, GA.
Madeleine is a facilitator, communicator, and creative problem solver dedicated to helping people maintain access to clean water. As a licensed Professional Engineer and Certified Water Distribution System Operator she has extensive experience developing and implementing strategic programs focused on mitigating costly utility failures that ultimately increase water rates. Her engineering and utility management experience in the public and private sectors have provided diverse opportunity to work with water utilities around the nation, many of which struggle to balance the challenges associated with aging infrastructure and water affordability.
As a public servant, Madeleine helped build a sustainable business unit dedicated to proactive management of utility infrastructure. In this role, she interacted with customers experiencing plumbing disruptions and saw the stress and financial burden associated with unexpected plumbing repairs.
When Madeleine served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in her early 20s, she witnessed and experienced the impact of not having access to clean water: illness and poverty. In addition to her service as a Community Water and Sanitation Engineer, her domestic and international travels have demonstrated that maintaining a secure source of clean water can be challenging for those both near and far.
These experiences and her passion for service lead her to co-found AccessH2O. She entered the water affordability space in 2020 to help fulfill the vision of AccessH2O, one customer at a time.
Madeleine graduated cum laude with a civil engineering degree from Bucknell University and a Master’s in Environmental Engineering from The John’s Hopkins University and is the lucky mother of two wonderful children in Baltimore, MD.