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. 

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. 

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

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

Amanda Podonsky Environmental Communications
Amanda Podonsky, Graphic Designer and Video Editor
Amanda makes our clients print, online, and video messages look great! Since joining the Water Words team, she has worked on projects for New Castle County, the Mystic River Watershed Association, the Penobscot Indian Nation, and others. Amanda holds a Bachelor's degree in design from Radford University and an Associate's degree in graphic design with additional certification from Montgomery College. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors and appreciating nature.

Cyndy Merse Environmental Outreach Writer

Cyndy Merse, Copywriter
Cyndy uses the power of the pen to create compelling outreach and communication materials for Water Words clients. She began her career working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and currently serves as Content Manager for Green Schools National Network. In her free time, Cyndy enjoys spending time outdoors running, hiking, or enjoying a good book!

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.