About Us

Our mission is to ensure the American people enjoy clean and safe water, outdoors and at home. We do this by helping our clients and students succeed with their outreach and communication.

Our People

Eric Eckl, environmental outreach expert

Eric Eckl, Owner

Eric founded Water Words That Work, LLC and oversees all the company’s client projects. Eric has more than 20 years experience planning and executing environmental outreach and communications programs. Eric is a sought-after conference speaker and has appeared on CNN and been quoted in the New York Times. Before starting the firm, Eric worked for Beaconfire Consulting, American Rivers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Environmental Law Institute. 

Email: eric.eckl@waterwordsthatwork.com
Phone: 800.861.6012 x6  


Erika Howder, environmental outreach expert

Erika Howder, Operations Manager
Erika is the company’s air traffic controller. She manages our relationships with graphic designers, copywriters, programmers, and other contractors. Erika also keeps a sharp eye on our contracts, invoicing systems, and internal reporting mechanisms. Erika has a masters degree in library science from the University of North Carolina. 

Email: 
erika.howder@waterwordsthatwork.com
Phone: 800.861.6012 x4
 
Laura Ganus, environmental outreach expert

Laura Ganus, Business Development Manager
Laura works with incoming clients to identify their needs, develop proposals, and move them through to contracting. Laura has more than 10 years experience walking in our clients' shoes. Her stops along the way to Water Words include the Cumberland River Compact, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Email: 
laura.ganus@waterwordsthatwork.com
Phone: 800.861.6012 x2  

Chandra Brown, environmental outreach expert

Chandra Brown, Project Manager and Trainer
Chandra leads Water Words trainings and works with clients to develop their outreach and communications programs. Before joining our team, Chandra was the Ogeechee Riverkeeper — part of a network of determined waterway guardians. Starting as a one-woman show, she learned on the job marketing and communications skills and grew her rural organization from nothing to nearly 2,000 members. 

Email: chandra.brown@waterwordsthatwork.com
Phone: 800.861.6012 x1

Valerie Damstra, Project Manager and Trainer

Valerie leads Water Words trainings and works with clients on their outreach and communications programs. Valerie started her water conservation and outreach career in 2003 as a door-to-door canvasser for Michigan Clean Water Action. She continued to do similar work for The Nature Conservancy, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, and the Bad River Watershed Association. Valerie is also a staff person at Northland College and works on local water issues affecting Lake Superior. In addition to her conservation and outreach work, Valerie is also a certified yoga instructor.

Email: 
valerie.damstra@waterwordsthatwork.com
Phone: 800.861.6012 x5

Avia Huisman, environmental outreach expert

Avia Huisman, Project Manager and Trainer
Avia leads Water Words trainings and works with clients to on their outreach and communications programs. Avia began her career as the coastal training coordinator for the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Moss Point, Mississippi. In addition to her environmental work, Avia is a semi-professional photographer.

Email: avia.huisman@waterwordsthatwork.com
Phone: 800.861.6012 x3


Edwin Alferez, environmental outreach expert

Edwin Alferez, Research and Production Specialist
Edwin is a human Swiss Army knife, covering a wide variety of research and online production tasks. Edwin has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.

Our History

In 2004, Eric Eckl conducted the first "water words that work" presentation at the River Rally in Wintergreen, Virginia, to an overwhelming response. In the years since then, Water Words has evolved from a presentation to a blog, to a solo practice, and now the small firm that you see here. Along the way, we have served hundreds of clients in every corner of the country

Today, Water Words That Work, LLC strives for the highest levels of professionalism even as we provide boutique services to our unique clientele. Our secret weapon is our family-friendly, work-from-home "virtual team" business model. We keep our overhead costs as low as possible and we pass the savings on to you.