The Peer Water Exchange Team

Rajesh Shah

PWX is the first social entrepreneurship project that requires changes across the philanthropic value chain: from the funding (foundations and donors) to the grantee (implementers) end. Rajesh conceived PWX in 2003 when given the task of overseeing the funding and managing of water projects for Blue Planet Run Foundation. Rajesh immediately saw the problem of scale: how to deliver thousands of small projects and verify their impact?

He designed PWX to solve the project selection, funding, and monitoring problem facing the foundation. Rajesh got Sapient to develop the first release and has been building on that foundation for five years: designing new features, continually enhancing the platform, developing the partner network, and coordinating all activity on PWX. Managing all of BPR's program activity means being a user of the system and process too.

In Bangalore, he has designed his home to be water efficient and energy efficient, trying to be self-sufficient for water and energy. He also is involved in designing, managing, deploying, and redesigning water, sewage, treatment, and water reuse projects in his community. The technology and the people issues are both challenging and fascinating for him.

His work as a management consultant to companies and non-profits on using internet and e-commerce technologies to change culture, operating models, and market strategies helped in trying a new approach to solve the scale problem in managing thousands of grassroots water projects. His early career spanned 10 years at Bell Laboratories, experiencing all facets of product cycles. After receiving his MBA, Rajesh became a management consultant at CSC Index and also had stints in three start-ups. He moved to the NGO sector, starting by consulting with the Tides Foundation and eGrants' DonateNow and EmailNow services. He served as CTO/CFO at The Natural Step and Redefining Progress. Rajesh helped develop TNS' sustainability advisory services and corporate footprints and global warming mitigation opportunities at RP.

Extremely interested in sustainability and social equity, Rajesh teaches and writes on various issues facing humanity, and is now immersed in the world of water.

Rajesh did his undergraduate studies in engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Lafayette College, and received an MS and MBA from the University of California.

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Seema Albal

A mobile technology specialist, Seema joined the PWX team in 2011 to help build mobile extensions to PWX. She is responsible for the android app.

Seema brings experience in solution design, having exposure to various industry verticals like oil and gas, banking, retail and solutions for self help groups in rural India. She was a product architect at the Software Engineering and Technology Labs at Infosys, responsible for product design, delivery and go-to-market of the mobile part of the Infosys Mobile Platform. She also freelanced with a startup, providing inputs to their mobile solution.

Ajaya Agrawalla

Ajaya was the lead architect of PWX at Sapient and now is the software guru of PWX. He is very interested in technology and constantly pushes PWX into Web 2.0 space. Other tech experiences for Ajaya include Cisco, APL, and Capital One.

Being raised in Orissa, India, Ajaya is very interested in water issues and solving problems in a big, scalable, results-oriented way.

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Larrie Thorne

Currently a data analyst in Minneapolis, Larrie continues to help refine the PWX strategy especially on the technology front. He helped assess the marketplace, defining technical requirements, analyzing the impacts of a rapidly growing database on performance, planning the introduction of KPIs into PWX, implementing audits and data integrity checks, and designing component management within projects.

After 35 years in the software industry in USA, Larrie spent nearly three years in Bangalore, dabbling with virtual systems, mapping and GIS. He has worked both in small company situations, as well as large ones such as ConAgra, John Deere, and Cenex/Land O'Lakes. He was also a major player in the creation of MnHIE within Minnesota, where he was in the EA, Operations, and Privacy groups and chaired the Data group.

Vallari Shah

As the senior manager at Sapient, Vallari provided the strategic roadmap and oversaw the release of PWX. She continues to be involved refining the strategy and marketing pitches and overseeing technology extensions.

Vallari has been in the software development and client management world for over two decades. As a director at Sapient, she sold and delivered large-scale IT projects, managing international teams. She started her career in India by starting a company to serve small businesses with IT solutions. Later, she moved to NY and worked at S&P before moving to California where she worked for GE before joining Sapient. She has also taught IT at inner city schools. Now, she spends the majority of her time on her other interests including dance, running a dance company, gardening, meditation, travel, and sustainability - especially in community gardening.



Network, Volunteer, and Previous Team Members

It is the decentralized network model that allows PWX to operate so efficiently! The PWX network is the Team! Volunteers do make all the difference and we have been lucky.

Parthiv

The creator of award winning short movies, such as Life with an Oxygen Mask, helps create and edit videos for PWX, strengthen surveys, and other UI and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) help. He is also a budding developer and designer who has a few popular sites to his credit.

Subbu Balakrishnan

A rally driver and an avid Rails enthusiast, Subbu spares a few hours a week from his startup to mentor as we tweak the platform.

Earlier Contributors

Megan Knight

Megan worked with our partners training them on the PWX process and helping synchronize data. She also helped with testing and other aspects of PWX.

Megan began by interning with the Blue Planet Run Youth Board for two years, working with talented and motivated young people to increase awareness about the water and sanitation crisis in the US and around the world.

After graduating from the University of Colorado with degrees in creative writing and French, Megan is now traveling through south-east Asia, volunteering with PWX where possible. Megan plans to continue to study and work in international development after traveling by pursuing a masters degree in a related field.

We were lucky to find a few good volunteers who made significant contributions to PWX. In 2006 Alejo Lopez in 2006 helped with testing, marketing, and did the original Spanish translations.

For nearly three years, Annette Fay was a core member of the PWX team. Fluent in French and Spanish, and of course, English, Annette worked with PWX partners and helped with the testing of the PWX platform.

Abhishek Parolkar spent a year with PWX developing PWX AnalytiX, and now resides in Singapore. Vamsee Kanakala spent a year at the technology helm of PWX. Kristian contributed his skills in 2011-12. Madhu and Arpan steered the technology and the UI for a year in 2013 introducing MetriX and new layout. Erich supported PWX from Kansas City helping with a difficult software upgrade.

Sophia Pan volunteered for PWX in 2009 helping correlate and audit the different data streams in PWX. In 2009, Minakshi Arora of Water Community in New Delhi translated the Hindi pages and Neil Parmeswar helped set up a process to get project data from partners into PWX. In 2010, Sathyan of Hexolabs helped with designing PWX AnalytiX screens.

We want to acknowledge three PWX members - El Porvenir (Carole Harper and Rob Bell), Kairos (Martin Strele), and Safer Future (Idriss Kamara) - whose support helped drive the design and deployment of PWX at its beginning in 2005-06.



The Parent — Blue Planet Run (Blue Planet Network)

The idea of creating a run around the planet hit Jin Zidell in 2001 and he founded Blue Planet Run. BPR soon realized that without solving the scale problem, increased funds for water were not going to be used effectively. So BPR was paused until Rajesh came up with the idea of PWX. BPR's support helped create the platform.

Jin Zidell

An industrialist, philanthropist, and environmentalist, Jin has been a principal in a number of businesses, incluing scrap metal processing, steel forging/fabrication, film and television production, fish farming, real estate development, and software development and marketing.

Jin has served on the board and staff of numerous nonprofits over the past 35 years including The Natural Step, the Predator Conservation Alliance, and the Earth Trust Foundation. Since 1979, Jin has been affiliated with Dia Rosatsu Zendo Kongo-Ji, a Zen Buddhist Monastery in upstate New York. In 1991, Jin and his wife Linda, established a donor advised philanthropic fund at the Marin Community Foundation that focuses on environmental issues.

Mark Steele

Mark is responsible for PWX's logo and icons and continues to help with the visual and creative needs of PWX. He has spent 15 years in print and digital media, but considers himself a musician, artist, wilderness athlete, and entrepreneur.

Other BPN Contributors

PWX has always received support from all BPN team-members, including former team-member Leyla Wefalle and Lisa Nash. Irina Balytsky, an intern in 2007, helped test and refine all the new features developed that year.



The Igniter — Sapient

Development Team for the Initial Release - 2005

Sapient, a business innovator, turned the vision of PWX into reality by combining its expertise in program management and technology with a passion for helping clients succeed.

The core team that helped define and build PWX in record time and pro bono too: Ajaya Agrawalla, Ruchika Chhotani, Ramit Dembi, Deepti Goel, Raymond Peng, Kamar Rizwan, Vallari Shah, Srinath Sura, Elise Urbanek, and Pankaj Kumar Vijaywargiya. Support from: Surya Chikkala, Saro Iskendarian, Jennifer Snow, Puneet Udasi, Matia Wagabaza, and Jason Welsh.

Thanks to their passion and dedication PWX was released at the Mexico World Water Forum in February 2006.



Operations Support

Logo_stgroup S & T Group started helping BPR in 2004 with the shooting of the movie - arranging for the logistics in India. Now they generously are providing their office in Bangalore for use by the PWX team. The team at S & T Group has been very supportive of PWX and BPR, especially Juliet D'Souza and Anita Joshi for logistics.



Technology and Tools

PWX is built using Ruby on Rails, an open-source framework built on the Ruby language. We are very grateful to the open-source community for providing us powerful tools, two of which are: Ruby Enterprise Edition and Phusion Passenger by Phusion. We are also grateful to other software vendors, such as High Charts who provide free options.

PWX has also contributed back in a little way to the open source community.

Since 2010 our friends at JetBrains have been granting us a RubyMine license for our software development.


In 2011 we began using Balsamiq Mockups for designing new PWX features.


GitHub granted us a free code repository in 2011, which we are very grateful for.


Atlassian granted us a license for their powerful suite of software development tools; we have been using Jira, Capture, and Confluence since 2012.


Amigos at Typeform upgraded us to the PRO version of their awesome survey tool.

AnalytiX PWX MetriX

How PWX Can Help You

The PWX vision. How PWX MetriX and PWX AnalytiX help the sector.
Quotes from members, experts, and process innovators.
Summary Maps of PWX members, activity, and funding in 26 countries.

PWX Snapshot

Get Involved

  • Join PWX and use it to manage your water investment portfolio or make your project history come alive.
  • Donate and maximize the impact of your contribution using PWX's peer-review and long-term impact assessment processes.
  • Volunteer as a citizen journalist and help verify our progress against the water crisis!

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