Our executive leadership team consists of six officers responsible for overseeing daily operations.

Mark Cline, P.E., CEO


Mr. Cline's oversees the entire utility. He's been with CWS since 1984, serving as an officer of the company since 2007.

Mr. Cline is a 1981 graduate of North Carolina State University, with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He is licensed as a professional engineer (P.E.) and a water treatment plant operator. Mr. Cline served as vice president of the American Water Works Association, and also as a member of the Water Environment Federation and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Wesley Ropp, CMA, CFO

Wesley-RoppMr. Ropp is responsible for the daily financial operations of Charleston Water System, including the accounting, budgeting, finance, records management, and information technology functions.

Prior to becoming the CFO, Mr. Ropp served as senior director of financial services, overseeing the Accounting and Finance departments, which include accounts payable, payroll, cost accounting, financial statements, and the billing areas.

Mr. Ropp joined CWS in 1982 as an accountant. In 1986, he was promoted to the administrator of accounting and then to the administrator of finance in 1989.

Under Mr. Ropp's supervision, CWS achieved eight bond-rating upgrades, including an upgrade to the top-tier AAA by Standard & Poor's in 2010 and by Moody’s to Aaa in 2015. In addition, CWS has received consecutive Certificates of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) since his arrival. The Popular Annual Financial Report was added in 2009, and CWS has received consecutive Awards for Outstanding Reporting Achievement from the GFOA since then.

Mr. Ropp is a certified management accountant and is certified as a public private partnership professional – foundation. He earned his master's of business administration from the Citadel, and his bachelor’s degree in business administration with emphasis in accounting from College of Charleston.

Russell Huggins, Jr., P.E., Capital Projects Officer


Russell Huggins, Jr., P.E., was named Capital Projects Officer in 2018 by the Charleston Water System’s Board of Commissioners. He's responsible for managing capital needs to ensure the utility has the infrastructure in place to accommodate growth and meet current and future regulatory requirements. He has departmental operational responsibility for Engineering & Construction, Asset Management & Geographical Information Systems, and Safety and Support Services.

Mr. Huggins joined CWS in January of 1999 as an engineer in the Design & Construction department. He became engineering manager in 2004, director of engineering in 2006, and director of engineering & construction in 2015.

Mr. Huggins earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and masters of business administration from The Citadel. He is licensed as a professional engineer (P.E.) and as a wastewater treatment plant operator. Mr. Huggins is a member of the American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Mr. Huggins is a retired Air Force civil engineer officer having served 28 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve. He completed two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr. Huggins is a Charleston native and has long been active in the community as a baseball umpire and football referee for youth and high school sports. He has umpired in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series, Dixie Majors Baseball World Series, and the South Carolina High School League Baseball State Championship. He was the referee for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas all-star football game and the North-South All Star Football Game, and has officiated three South Carolina Independent School Athletic Association high school state championship games and two South Carolina High School League state championship games.

Paul Hanson, Chief Information Officer

MrPaul-Hanson. Hanson joined Charleston Water System in 1991. He is responsible for leading the Information Technology team and the strategy for supporting and enhancing CWS technology platforms including data networks, cybersecurity, communications, computing infrastructure, business systems and applications.

Prior to assuming CIO duties, Mr. Hanson held the position of director of information technology and has served many other roles in CWS IT.

He has worked in the information technology industry since 1989.

Baker Mordecai, P.E., Chief Operating Officer

Baker-MordecaiMr. Mordecai’s primary responsibilities include overseeing water treatment and the Hanahan Water Treatment Plant, water distribution, wastewater collection, wastewater treatment and the Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, and laboratory services. Mr. Mordecai has been with CWS since 2006, serving as director of the Wastewater Collection department and team leader for the Operations Focus strategic area.  

Prior to CWS, Mr. Mordecai worked for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, graduating from the Leadership Development Program, and serving as the Head of the Water/Wastewater Branch. His responsibilities included providing program management, technical engineering, and utility contract support to naval water and wastewater facilities within a 26-state area. During his tenure, he was recognized with the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award and the Army Achievement Medal.   

Mr. Mordecai is a registered professional engineer (P.E.) in South Carolina. He earned his master of engineering degree in environmental and water resources engineering from the University of South Carolina and his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Virginia Tech.   

Mr. Mordecai has served as an examiner for the South Carolina Quality Forum and Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Board of Examiners and is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. Mr. Mordecai is active in water and wastewater industry organizations, and is an A level registered water treatment, water distribution, wastewater treatment, and wastewater collection system operator.

Evelyn Ferguson, Chief Administrative Officer

Evelyn FergusonEvelyn Ferguson is responsible for the oversight of Human Resources, Customer Service, the Office of Compliance and Auditing Services, and Communications.

She joined Charleston Water System in our Customer Service department in 1986, transitioned to Human Resources in 1996 as a trainer and eventually became assistant director, returned to Customer Service as the department director in 2004, and ascended to chief administrative officer in 2023.

Mrs. Ferguson is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and earned a degree in business administration.

She is very active as a trustee at her church where she volunteers to support Sunday school and summer camp programs and serves on leadership committees.