Board of Directors:

Michael Johnson - President

Melvin Staples - Vice President

With over three decades of service to the Birmingham Water Works Board, Melvin Staples is currently the Superintendent of Customer Relations and one of the original founders of The H2O Foundation. Daily, Mr. Staples works diligently to assist customers facing hardships with their accounts. A native of Birmingham, Alabama and graduate of AH Parker High School, he is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and attended Alabama State University where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work with a minor in Psychology and Criminal Justice.  

Connie Harris - Secretary/Treasurer

With more than 25 years of public accounting experience, Connie Harris serves as President of Sheppard-Harris & Associates, where she oversees and reviews all audits and any other services provided by the firm. She serves as the principal auditor for the Birmingham Water Works Board Pension Fund, among other organizations. Harris graduated from the University of Montevallo with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance.

Karen Wadlington

With more than a decade of service to the Jefferson County Commission, Karen Wadlington currently serves as Chief Administrator for the Office of Commissioner Sandra Little Brown. Previous to her public service, Wadlington worked for more than a decade in the private sector, specifically the finance industry. Wadlington earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Alcorn State University.

Theotis Johnson, P.E.

A civil engineer with more than 18 years experience, Theotis Johnson has designed and overseen numerous Birmingham Water Works Board capital improvement projects as a project manager with Volkert & Associates. His work over the years includes the water main relocation for the Northern Beltline and a utility bridge for the Barber Motorsports Park. Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University in 1997 and holds professional engineering licenses in Alabama and Georgia.

Brian T. Ruggs, P.E.

Currently employed by Arcadis, Brian Ruggs has more than 18 years experience in civil engineering, with a concentration in water resources. Among his project experience is the watershed protection plan for Lake Purdy on behalf of the Birmingham Water Works Board. As Chairman of the Birmingham Planning Commission, he authored the Birmingham Complete Streets Policy and, upon adoption of the comprehensive plan in 2013, he chaired the Implementation Committee. Registered as a professional engineer in Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana, Ruggs graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

Jason Eppenger

In May 2016, Jason Eppenger, then just 37 years old, joined Citizens Trust Bank as its Alabama Market President. Prior to his current role, Eppenger worked as a commercial real estate relationship manager at Wells Fargo and a commercial relationship manager for Wells Fargo, Regions Banks, and First Commercial Bank (now BBVA Compass). His success in the financial world has garnered him recognition as a finalist for This is Alabama’s YP Corporate Leader Award and the Top 40 Under 40 from the Birmingham Business Journal. Eppenger earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Alabama in 2001.

Mike O’Brien

Mike O’Brien is Vice President Sales and Secretary of American Cast Iron Pipe Company (ACIPCO).  Founded in 1905, ACIPCO manufactures a diversified product line for the waterworks, capital goods and energy industries.

O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from The University of Alabama in 1974.  O’Brien’s employment with ACIPCO began in 1975, and he has served in various capacities, including: research engineer; international sales engineer; manager, International Sales; sales manager, American-Darling Valve Division; sales manager, American Ductile Iron Pipe Division; and General Sales Manager.  He was elected to the Board of Directors ACIPCO in 1989.

O’Brien serves on the Boards of the following ACIPCO  subsidiaries: Kristin Shipping Company; Specification Rubber Products, Inc.; American Valve & Hydrant Manufacturing Company, Beaumont, Texas; Waterous Company, South St. Paul, Minn. American SpiralWeld Pipe Company, Columbia, S.C.; American Castings, LLC, Pryor, Okla.; and Intercast, S.A., Itauna, Brazil.

O’Brien is past national chair and served on the Board of Directors of the Capstone Engineering Society.  He is past chairman of the UA College of Engineering Leadership Board and served on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.  He was inducted as UA Distinguished Engineering Fellow and was presented the UA College of Engineering’s Outstanding Alumni Volunteer Award in 1999.

Mike and his wife, Donna, reside in Birmingham.

Mark Parnell


Larry Dancy

As Director of Social Services for the Birmingham Salvation Army Area Command, Larry Dancy oversees all programs and duties related to the everyday care that the non-profit organization offers to those in need. His career experience includes leadership and supervisory roles in the mental health and social services fields, including Glenwood Health Center and J.S. Tutwiler. Dancy earned his master’s degree in mental health counseling from Alabama State University.