RCAP 2021 National Conference

August 17-19, 2021,Virtual

A fully virtual event

Network with members of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Learn tips, tricks and best practices from some of the most knowledgeable rural water and wastewater Technical Assistance Providers across the country 

About the event

The RCAP National Conference brings together members of the RCAP network from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to connect and share.

With hundreds of years of combined experience and expertise, the national conference provides an incredible opportunity for rural Technical Assistance Providers to to share tips, tricks and best practices for rural drinking water, wastewater and economic development opportunities.


Speakers include members of the RCAP network, federal agencies and RCAP partners. Some, but not all of the speakers are below.

Brian Scales

Brian Scales, Executive Vice President, RCAP Solutions

Mr. Scales joined RCAP Solutions in 2008. Locally ingrained in the nonprofit sector, he previously worked as the Director of Development for the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center in Fitchburg, MA. Before this, he consulted with several non-profits across the region in development activities such as fundraising, grant writing and strategic collaboration initiatives. Mr. Scales has served on the board of Literacy Volunteers of Montachusett Area as director and Network of Area Nonprofits as an Advisory Board Member. Education: Certificate in Literature, Cambridge University; B.A. in English, Florida Atlantic University; M.A. in English, University of Central Florida.

Carlos Velazquez

Carlos Velázquez, Wastewater Technician: Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands

Mr. Velazquez-Figueroa joined RCAP Solutions in 2017. With more than 37 years of experience in the environmental field, including operation and maintenance of drinking water, sanitary and industrial treatment plants. Additionally, he has experience in management and supervision, and has strong communications skills in English and Spanish. Previously he was a Project Manager/Director of Sales & Marketing at ETAG Corporation where he worked with small drinking water systems in Puerto Rico. He has over 30 years of experience in the development and delivery of water and wastewater training. Education: B.S. in Chemical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus. Professional Certifications: Level IV certified Drinking Water and Wastewater Plant Operator.

LukeTia 1

Luke Tia, Technical Assistance Provider

Luke Tia has worked for SERCAP since February 2019 as a Technical Assistance Provider. He comes from a background in urban and regional planning and has worked in transportation planning and as a project manager in construction education. As a regionalization specialist, he has assisted with water and wastewater projects throughout Florida, ranging from constructing new wastewater systems to plant operator networking. He is a graduate of St. Leo University and the University of Florida.

Traci McQuary 1

Traci McQuary, Community Environmental Management Specialist 

Traci McQuary is a lifetime resident of North Central Mississippi. She received a Bachelor's Degree from Mississippi State University in 1992, and has 27 years experience working with state and local government. For the past 15 years, Traci has worked in leadership and management roles in the environmental health field and currently works for Communities Unlimited as a Community Environmental Management Specialist.

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Gaylene Riley, Community Environmental Management Specialist

Gaylene Riley joined Communities Unlimited in December 2017 with 18 years’ experience as a Community Programs Specialist with USDA Rural Development. During her tenure with USDA, Riley underwrote 97 Water and Environmental Programs loans to small communities and rural utility systems. Riley assisted these systems with establishing rate structures that supported repayment of the loans, including the required debt service and short-lived assets replacement reserves. Since joining Communities Unlimited, Riley has assisted several communities navigate through RD Apply to obtain USDA financing.

Todd Brandenburg 1

Todd Brandenburg, RCAP Operator

Todd is an RCAP Operator with the Great Lakes Community Action Partnersnip, with over 20 years of technical water and wastewater operations experience. Todd has had the privilege of working for many community water and wastewater systems throughout Southwest Ohio in a variety of roles including laborer, equipment operator, operator, construction inspector, assistant superintendent, and superintendent, and had the opportunity to work in water distribution and treatment systems, wastewater collection and treatment systems, along with industrial pretreatment, backflow prevention, and project management in both the public and private sector.

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Shelly Underwood, Technical Assistance Provider

Shelly Underwood joined Midwest Assistance Program (MAP) in June 2018 with nine years experience in municipal government and the public water sector. Prior to joining MAP, Shelly worked as a certified municipal clerk and a certified water operator for a small rural community in southeast Kansas. As a Technical Assistance Provider, Shelly, conducts trainings throughout the State of Kansas focusing on Lead and Copper Compliance through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Cassandra Ford 1

Cassandra Ford, Community Program Coordinator

After more than two decades of waste reduction and recycling work with state and local governments, private businesses, and nonprofits, Cassandra brings her knowledge of curbside and drop-off recycling programs, community outreach, and communications strategy to The Recycling Partnership. Whether creating business recycling programs and waste reduction mechanisms at Kansas City’s oldest environmental nonprofit Bridging The Gap or working on community recycling and composting programs and recycling education campaigns for the City of Lawrence, Kansas, Cassandra’s focus on recycling and ability to leverage community engagement is evident as one of The Partnership’s Community Program Coordinators.

Bradley Austin

Bradley Austin, Director of Operations

The Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority (MCSWMA) is a 22 municipality solid waste and recycling authority located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Brad has held numerous leadership postions at the MCSWMA over the past 18 years. Recently, the organization constructed a regional single steam MRF in Marquette County. He is a Michigan Recycling Coalition board member, and serves as a Regional Director for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


The agenda

With a combination of topic area presentations, case study examples and networking opportunities, the 2021 National Conference agenda has something for every member of the network.

The venue

The 2021 conference will be fully virtual.


Past conference feedback

The conference is an excellent opportunity to get together with other staff and network. It is extremely important to get together and collaborate with others.


Conference Attendee

Thank you all for coordinating with local utilities for the Field Day session. Loved and appreciated that opportunity!

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Conference Attendee

Overall I had a great time, met a lot of wonderful people, and learned more to help me do a better job.


Conference Attendee

I loved being able to present to such an experienced, intelligent and engaged group of people! RCAP members are a great group of people.

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Conference Speaker

Partner with the 2021 RCAP National Conference

Sponsors can receive a keynote speaking opportunity, complimentary registrations for your organization to network directly with RCAP members, your logo included on marketing materials and more

Our sponsors & partners

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