Christopher H. Franklin is chief executive officer of Aqua America. Aqua America is a publicly traded water and wastewater utility holding company with operating subsidiaries serving approximately 3 million people in eight states. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR.
Franklin was previously president and chief operating officer, regulated operations. A 20-plus-year veteran of the company, Franklin has held executive roles in public affairs, customer operations and as regional president of the company's southern and mid-western operations, where he managed eight states. While holding that post, Franklin significantly increased the performance and earnings power of these diverse state operations, while simultaneously serving as senior vice president of the company's corporate and public affairs, where he was also responsible for the company's federal, state and municipal legislative affairs, investor relations, and communications.
Since joining Aqua America in December 1992 as director, corporate and public affairs, Franklin headed several successful projects, including advocacy for the passage of legislation designed to provide customers of state-regulated water and wastewater utilities with improved water quality and better water and wastewater systems while allowing a fair and reasonable return for shareholders. Franklin also attained national print and broadcast media coverage for the company, changed the name and rebranded the company and its subsidiaries, and expanded its investor relations outreach to increase analyst coverage of the company.
Before joining Aqua America, Franklin worked at PECO Energy Company (an Exelon Company) where he was regional, civic and economic development officer, responsible for the review, recommendation and promotion of economic development initiatives in the Philadelphia region.
Franklin earned his B.S. from West Chester University and his M.B.A. from Villanova University.
Franklin is active in the utility industry and is vice president of the National Association of Water Companies' board of directors. Franklin serves on the board of directors of ITC Inc. (NYSE: ITC), where he chairs the board committee on operations and serves on the board audit committee. ITC is an expanding electric transmission utility headquartered in Novi, Michigan.
In addition, Franklin is active in the community and serves on the following nonprofit boards:
Trustee, University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees, Philadelphia, PA
Trustee, West Chester University's Council of Trustees, West Chester, PA
Director, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
Director, The Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
Franklin lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania with his wife Jennifer and three children, Jack, Isabella and Charlotte.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Regulated Operations
Rick Fox was appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Aqua America in July 2015 and is responsible for the company's regulated operations ($756 million in revenues), including engineering and environmental compliance.
Prior to being appointed COO, Fox had been regional president for Aqua America since January 2012, heading all of Aqua America's utility operations in Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, Indiana and Virginia. Prior to assuming the role of regional president, Fox was vice president, customer operations, where he was responsible for all customer service operations for Aqua America's regulated operating subsidiaries, including the company's national customer call centers, national meter operations, and company-wide billing and collections.
Fox joined Aqua America in 2002 as manager of customer service following 17 years in the chemical manufacturing industry in both operations and technical management. He earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his M.B.A from Villanova University, where he achieved Beta Gamma Sigma honors. Fox is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Christopher P. Luning was appointed Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for Aqua America, Inc. in May 2012. He is the company’s chief legal counsel and oversees and provides strategic direction for the company’s legal, human resources, internal audit, and safety departments. Luning provides direction on all parent company and its subsidiary matters, including corporate governance and board matters.
Previously, he held the position of vice president, corporate development and was responsible for leading the Aqua America’s corporate development activities, contributing to the company tripling its customer base in the previous 10-year period.
Luning joined Aqua America in 2003 as assistant general counsel and in 2005 was promoted to vice president and deputy general counsel. Throughout his tenure, Luning has worked closely with the corporate development team in negotiating and closing numerous acquisitions and other growth ventures.
Prior to joining Aqua America, Luning worked at Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc., an NYSE-traded home builder, where he served as legal counsel responsible for obtaining entitlements to construct and maintain communities in Southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Luning earned his B.S. business/political science from Albright College and his J.D. in 1993 from Villanova University, and is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is on the Board of Surrey Services for Seniors, a Board member for the affiliate, Surrey at the Hickman, and is an advisor for the “Friends at Exton Park."
Senior Vice President, Engineering and Environmental Affairs
William C. Ross was named senior vice president of engineering and environmental affairs at Aqua America, Inc. in January 2012 after holding the position of vice president for the same department since February 2001. Ross is responsible for managing the company’s capital budget, which exceeds $300 million annually, and oversight of water and wastewater engineering and environmental management activities at Aqua.
Ross joined Aqua in 1998, bringing broad-based utility engineering and management experience gained as a vice president with Roy F. Weston, Inc., as executive director of DELCORA and as an engineer and manager with the Philadelphia Water Department. He is a registered professional engineer and holds a B.S. in engineering administration from the University of Delaware.
Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller
Robert A. Rubin was appointed senior vice president, controller and chief accounting officer (CAO) of Aqua America in January 2012 after having served as chief accounting officer since March 2004 and as controller for the previous five years.
As CAO, Rubin is responsible for Aqua America's external and internal financial reporting, including that required by the Securities Exchange Commission and Sarbanes Oxley regulations. He is also responsible for taxes, coordinating external audits, corporate accounting and maintaining compliance with accounting standards and principles throughout the company.
Rubin, a Certified Public Accountant with a B.S. in accounting from Penn State University, joined Aqua America in 1989 as an accounting manager after having been employed by KPMG LLP. He was later promoted to manager, budgets and finance before being appointed assistant controller in 1994. His professional associations include the Pennsylvania and American Institutes of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Water Companies – Taxation Committee.
Executive Vice President Strategy and Corporate Development
Dan Schuller was appointed Executive Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development for Aqua America in July 2015 and is responsible for assisting the chief executive officer with developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining Aqua's strategic initiatives, with an emphasis on growth. Additionally, he is responsible for the company's overall corporate development including acquisitions of regulated and market-based businesses.
Schuller came to Aqua America from J.P. Morgan Asset Management – Infrastructure Investments Group where he has been an investment principal since 2007, providing strategic leadership as a director of portfolio companies including SouthWest Water Company—of which he was responsible for the 100 percent stake held by J.P. Morgan-advised investors—and Summit Utilities. Specifically for SouthWest Water, Schuller guided the company's turnaround and led its growth strategy, assessing both organic growth and acquisition opportunities. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Schuller was a manager at Mars & Co., an international strategy/general management consulting firm, where he led consulting engagements related to growth and profitability for Fortune 500 companies and conducted due diligence for private equity firms.
Schuller is a graduate of Purdue University where he earned a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering. His honors include Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi and Chi Epsilon. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. His volunteer activities include Guiding Eyes for the Blind and 21 Strong, a Down syndrome family support group. In addition, Schuller is president of the board at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, NY.
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
David P. Smeltzer is executive vice president and chief financial officer for Aqua America, Inc. In this role, he oversees all financial functions including accounting, tax, treasury, regulatory relations, planning, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and capital spending in regards to return on investment.
During his 28 years of experience at Aqua, Smeltzer held various leadership roles before being named chief financial officer in 1999 and executive vice president in 2012. He previously served as vice president of rates and regulatory affairs for Aqua America and prior to that as vice president-controller of Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc.—the company’s largest operating subsidiary.
Smeltzer joined Aqua Pennsylvania in 1986 after having been employed as audit manager by the accounting firm of KPMG LLP.
Smeltzer earned his B.S. in Business Administration from LaSalle University in 1980 as an accounting major. In 1982, he became a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Pennsylvania.
Smeltzer is a member of the Pennsylvania and American Institutes of Certified Public Accountants; is Chairman of the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) Finance Committee, past Chairman of the NAWC Rates & Revenue Committee and past chairman of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the NAWC and its Rates and Revenue Committee. He serves on the Board of the Cradle of Liberty Council - Boy Scouts of America and on the Board of Junior Achievement of Delaware Valley.